The Blog + Video Series #15 – The 4 C’s of Vulnerability: Why Vulnerability is Transformational

The Transformation Video Series

I’ve written a lot about vulnerability lately. Why? Well, for many years, I avoided vulnerability at all costs. Really, I did. I was not interested. Actually, I was disinterested to the point of high levels of anxiety. Today? Not the case.

Today I believe that, although being vulnerable is hard work, it is where all the wonders of being a human being live.

Wonders like innovation, resilience, love, compassion, and much more.

In fact, writing an article like this just a short two years ago would have been impossible. Too vulnerable, too much unknown, too much anxiety. We can pretend, or feel as if, anxiety is only our issue. Let me tell you unequivocally, it is not.

Many, many people all across the world suffer from anxiety. An aside, real quick, promise.

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Photo by Fernando @cferdo on Unsplash

I was once in a therapist’s office, and they were talking to me about anxiety levels, and I said something like, I believe the entire population of the United States suffers from low-grade anxiety. What did they say? Yep, that’s true.

Now, I could write more about that, however, I’d like to get back to the current topic. Vulnerability.

I believe that vulnerability is important to our individual development. Showing us where we have growth opportunities if we choose, to be vulnerable, and grow into and eventually out of these opportunities. That’s development.

I also believe that vulnerability is a transformational space, which anyone can enter. Of course, of their choosing, when they are ready. What happens, you ask, when you are vulnerable on a regular basis?

Well, many things. However, I think there are 4 things that are distinct to being vulnerable where we get back much more by being vulnerable than we do by making the choice to not be vulnerable.

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Photo by Sammie Vasquez on Unsplash

Alright, here, then is

The 4 C’s of Vulnerability: Why Vulnerability is Transformational

1. Connection

There is something about being vulnerable that exposes us to more of our own humanity. And, when we are exposed to more of our humanity, we get to know more about everyone else’s humanity. It works that way.

And knowing both about our own humanity, while also knowing about everyone else’s, gives us more sight about our shared humanity.

Connecting more deeply to the similarity of those around us. When we can connect with others in that way, we get more out of our relationships. Really.

Think about the relationships you have. Are you able to be vulnerable? Hm. If not, well, you may want to rethink those relationships. Why?

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Photo by Callum Shaw on Unsplash

Because to be vulnerable you must be in a context that is safe, and with people that you trust. If you are not, vulnerability is way too scary, and rightfully so.

When we are vulnerable, we are exposing parts of ourselves that we don’t normally expose. And, it takes safety and trust to get there. It does.

Therefore if you are in relationships with people where vulnerability is out of the question, I would question the need for those relationships. Hard. Yet, might be needed.

When we are in a safe space, with people we trust, we can be more open, and inside of that openness, being vulnerable becomes more available.

And, as was aforementioned, when we get to share that vulnerable space with someone else, we transform that relationship into something quite different. Beautiful.

2. Compassion

Another quite lovely byproduct of being vulnerable is the opportunity to develop more compassion.

See, when we are vulnerable, we have the opportunity to experience grace for ourselves in doing something that makes us either nervous, fearful, or anxious.

We may not always extend ourselves that grace and the accompanying compassion, yet it is there. As was aforementioned, I was actively disinterested in vulnerability for many years. Over 20 in fact.

However, that does not mean I was never vulnerable. I was. And, inside of those vulnerable moments, some of which were long moments, I did not extend myself grace, nor the accompanying compassion. Nope.

Yet, know that developing more compassion for yourself inside of being more actively vulnerable, is possible. How do I know? Because I am actively vulnerable on a regular basis today. Every day in fact.

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Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

Anyone that participates in contexts and experiences that stretch them, that make them feel vulnerable, deserves grace and compassion; and, I can provide both to myself today. Growth.

Another opportunity inside of being vulnerable more often, and developing more compassion for yourself, is that you will also develop more compassion for others. It works that way.

Anytime we can extend ourselves more of something, we can now also extend it to others. And, believe me, everyone can use more grace and compassion today. Seriously.

Inside the space, you create to be more vulnerable, while extending to yourself and everyone else around you more grace and compassion, you have transformed yourself and that relationship.

In those precious moments, our shared humanity is realized, and we can recognize ourselves in each other. It is a beautiful experience. Connecting with another human being on that level is transformation.

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Photo by yulia pantiukhina on Unsplash

3. Courage

It takes courage to be vulnerable often; and, when we are more often vulnerable, we get to develop more courage and resilience. Often, I think, people believe that some people have courage and resilience and others do not. Not true.

Like any other skill set, courage and resilience can be developed.

You can grow yourself into a more courageous and resilient self by doing things that are outside of your comfort zone.

And, it just so happens that being vulnerable is outside of most people’s comfort zone. I would actually argue that it is outside of everyone’s comfort zone. That is the nature of vulnerability inside of being human.

When we create the opportunity to grow into a more courageous and resilient self, we also get to model that behavior for people around us.

Family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and, yes, even people we don’t know at all. Inspiring.

And, inside of creating more inspiration in this world by being more open and vulnerable, developing ourselves, while also showing others that developmental growth is possible for them too, you get transformation.

Transformation for yourself, yes; and, transformation for those that choose to journey with you into vulnerable situations and contexts, which are created by stepping out of your comfort zone and into spaces that are vulnerable.

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

4. Collaboration

When we have deeper connections with ourselves, and likewise, with people close to us, built upon safety and trust, there is an increased likelihood of more collaboration. Fun.

Though I think I’ve always naturally gravitated towards collaborative contexts and people that share a collaborative spirit with me, I was not always available to these types of contexts or people.

Remember, I actively avoided and resisted my own vulnerability for a long time, which also means that I, in many ways, missed out on deeper relationships with people where collaboration was more possible.

Now, I am surrounded by these types of contexts and people.

Even with people that I at one time did not share this type of connection, that connection is more apparent today. And, it can be for you too.

When we are available to a natural human inclination within us to share ourselves with others, to connect with them deeply, and to share all that we have to offer, we are or have become natural collaborators. Really. At that moment, or in those moments, it is true.

A byproduct of entering into collaborative contexts more regularly also means that there is a higher likelihood for innovation to occur. And, inside of innovative contexts transformation is regularly apparent. Why?

Because when we are vulnerably collaborating, we are out on a limb, deeply connected to others in that safe and trusting context, where courage flourishes, as does innovation. And, what often follows innovation is transformation.

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Photo by Evie S. on Unsplash


In closing, I will also offer that where there is the possibility of developing more of a vulnerable self, there is also the possibility of developing less nervousness, fear, and anxiety.

What I’ve learned in the past three years, is that avoiding and resisting things that make us uncomfortable only brings more nervousness, fear, and anxiety. An example? Sure.

When I was working in the private sector, before going back to University at 33, I worked for several large corporations; and, at one of them, I wanted desperately to be promoted into a leadership role.

Well, at that time, I had a great supervisor and mentor, and that goal became a reality.

As many of you know, when you are in leadership roles, the need to speak in front of groups, your team, business, or organization is rather mandatory. It’s part of it. How did I feel about that? Horribly anxious. Really. Sky-high anxiety.

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Photo by Product School on Unsplash

I remember the first time being in front of the group, I would eventually lead, at a district meeting. I had a 5-minute speech to give. 5-minutes, that’s all. Might as well have been an hour. Phew.

I was so anxious that the paper I was using for a guide, actually I was reading directly from it, was shaking like a leaf in my hand. Actually, my whole body was shaking like a leaf. Really.

Well, I continued to take on small parts in the meetings, 5 minutes became 10, and 10 developed, over time, into giving entire 1 to 1.5-hour district meetings to the group by myself. The point?

It took time. One step at a time. Bite-sized chunks, as they say, within a context where safety and trust were present.

And, yep, I developed more courage, resilience, much deeper connections with that team, and we did become highly collaborative. Fun.

Since that time, I’ve led several teams, including the team I am on right now and have taught at University. Transformation.

And, you can also be a part of a vulnerable transformation. It’s not complicated, yet it is, as we’ve discussed. Difficult.

Yet, when you take it one step at a time, one action at a time, knowing that it is a process, not a light switch, you can rest in ease knowing that if you persist you will be doing vulnerability more often.

And, guess what? Without even knowing it you will have developed deeper connections, more compassion, and courage, and you will probably find yourself in collaborative contexts more often.

Vulnerability is transformational, and you can partake in it if you choose. Choose well.

Photo by Edurne Chopeitia on Unsplash

#emotionalintelligence, #growth, #leadershipdevelopment, #selfdevelopment, #vulnerability, #vulnerabilityandcollaboration, #vulnerabilityandcomfortzone, #vulnerabilityandcompassion, #vulnerabilityandconnection, #vulnerabilityandcourage, #vulnerabilityandleadership, #vulnerabilityandresilience, #vulnerabilityandstrength

The Transformation Video Series – The 4 C’s of Vulnerability: Why Vulnerability is Transformational

The 4 C’s of Vulnerability: Why Vulnerability is Transformational

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve created a video. Was fun to be back in front of you in this medium. The importance of reconsidering how we think about vulnerability is important. Here, then, is the 4 C’s of Vulnerability: Why Vulnerability is Transformational.

Be well. Lead well. Be vulnerable.

#developmentandgrowth, #emotionalintelligence, #selfdevelopment, #vulnerability, #vulnerabilityandcollaboration, #vulnerabilityandcomfortzone, #vulnerabilityandcompassion, #vulnerabilityandconnection, #vulnerabilityandcourage, #vulnerabilityandleadership, #vulnerabilityandresilience, #vulnerabilityandstrength

10 Reasons Why Embracing Vulnerability as a Strength is Important to Your Development

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In the 4 C’s of Vulnerability: Why Vulnerability is Transformational, I wrote about the importance of understanding that when we are vulnerable, we get back connection, compassion, courage, and collaboration.

And, that it is possible through vulnerability to transform ourselves and the contexts that we navigate on a regular basis.

Right now, I am working on another post on vulnerability, going deeper on resilience and vulnerability; and, it occured to me that there are a few more things to say about embracing vulnerability. Here we go, then.

Have you ever looked at the definition of vulnerability? Yes, no? Alright, well, either way let’s take a look, shall we. Let’s go.


noun  /ˌvʌlnərəˈbɪləti/ /ˌvʌlnərəˈbɪləti/[uncountable]

vulnerability (of somebody/something) (to something) the fact of being weak and easily hurt physically or emotionally

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

Ah, very good. Now, do you see what I see? According to this definition, vulnerability is associated with being weak and easily hurt. Hm. I’m not wild about this definition.

Here is a different way to think about vulnerability.

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” -Brené Brown

Book Riot

Love that quote.

I actually believe that vulnerability is the birthplace of all innovation, and, like Brené, is more akin to courage and strength, which is why I believe learning to be vulnerable is important to our development.

Alright, let’s take a look at 10 reasons why vulnerability is important to your development.

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10 Reasons Why Embracing Vulnerability as a Strength is Important to Your Development

All of these reasons teach us something about the human being we are now, and, the human being we want to become.

First, let’s take a look at the 4 C’s. Here they are.

  1. Connection – being vulnerable more often creates connection with other human beings. When you are vulnerable with others, you create a much deeper connection. It just happens. There’s something about exposing yourself, being outside of your comfort zone, in the land of vulnerability that creates a deep connection with others. You can see your own vulnerability in them; and, they in you. Pretty cool.
  2. Compassion – being vulnerable often also means that we are able to notice when others are vulnerable; and, when they are, we can show them love and kindness for their commitment to being alive as a human being. We are living the fullest life possible when we embrace our own vulnerability and can see that vulnerability in others, and extend them gratitude and compassion.
  3. Courage – to be vulnerable takes courage; and when you are vulnerable often you develop more courage. It works like that. The more we invest in our development by practicing vulnerability, the more we get back. And, courage is no exception to this rule. In fact, people often think that there are people that are courageous and people that are not. Not so. Courage can be developed like any other skill set. You can be more courageous through experiencing and embracing your own vulnerability.
  4. Collaboration – as we will discuss in a moment, innovation is a huge boon of being vulnerable often. And, where there is innovation, there is collaboration. Therefore, when we are more often vulnerable, we will naturally find ourselves more often in collaborative contexts. Really, it’s true. And, when we are in these collaborative contexts, we get to experience being vulnerable with other people, which we’ve discussed. A powerful experience.
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Alright. Time for six more. Here we go.

  1. Comfort – we are always developing, even when we are not intentional about it. Yep. True. And, when we set our intention to develop, of course, we are aware of that growth and can grow more. When we venture into spaces where we feel vulnerable, we learn the current limit of our comfort zone. Then? We have a choice. Proceed into the land of vulnerability, or withdraw. Either way we choose, we get to see where we are comfortable and maybe not so comfortable. Important to our development.
  2. Humility – intentionally putting ourselves in vulnerable situations teaches us more about ourselves and our shared humanity. We get to learn through, oftentimes uncomfortableness, the extent to which people throughout history have embraced their own vulnerability to create new things in this world. In those most vulnerable moments, we get a glimpse into a new world. A world where people understand and care for each other more.
  3. Strength – like courage, when we embrace and practice vulnerability, we also become stronger. Vulnerability is hard work. It is. And, everytime we are vulnerable, we grow, yep, and develop, yes, and become a stronger human being. It does not happen all at once, it is a process. Know though, as you venture into vulnerability, when you are at your most fearful or anxious, you are, in that moment, becoming a stronger iteration of you.
  4. Resilience – and, akin to strengthening ourselves, we also develop resilience by practicing vulnerability. As you practice being vulnerable more often, the fear of it goes down. It does. It is still hard, yet that hardness becomes more tolerable as your resilience goes up. Through vulnerability, we become a more resilient human being, able to do more and be more.
  5. Innovation – innovation is impossible without vulnerability. Seriously. To innovate and create, you have to be willing to be vulnerable. When you are innovating, you know you don’t know all of the answers, and that there is always more to learn. A vulnerable space. Human beings don’t like it much, yet look at quotes from the brightest minds throughout history, and you will see that they understand that vulnerability is a necessity for innovation to occur.
  6. Knowledge – whenever we do something we’ve never done before, which is a vulnerable space, we get to learn. And, when we learn, we know more. One of the coolest things about practicing vulnerability, is getting to learn more, and then to know more, both intellectually and practically. Both.
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Alright, there are 10 reasons why vulnerability is important to your development. Remember, development and growth are hard work. They are. They aren’t supposed to necessarily feel good.

The idea of developing yourself is to get outside of our comfort zone, which is uncomfortable. It is important to acknowledge this truth. Why?

Because it is inside of being uncomfortable that we become more comfortable. Yep. True. When we first venture into vulnerable situations, it will feel uncomfortable. Know, however, that over time, these situations will feel more comfortable.

And, you know what? You can do it. You can. You are stronger than you know. You are. Next time you are faced with a new growth opportunity, one where you would have normally excused yourself, or said no, give it a try.

Open yourself up to the possibility that you too can develop, grow, learn more, know more, and be more. You can. How?

One step at a time, one action at a time. Remember, development is a process, not a light switch. Give yourself grace and compassion. Start with one growth opportunity at a time. Go slow, be vulnerable, learn and know more, and be alive more.

#selfdevelopment, #vulnerability, #vulnerabilityand-collaboaration, #vulnerabilityandcomfortzone, #vulnerabilityandcompassion, #vulnerabilityandconnection, #vulnerabilityandcourage, #vulnerabilityanddevelopment, #vulnerabilityandhumility, #vulnerabilityandinnovation, #vulnerabilityandknowledge, #vulnerabilityandresilience, #vulnerabilityandstrength