*I actually started writing most of this post back in July and delayed publishing it due to my own lack of public vulnerability. I hadn’t realized until now how much it was holding me back.*
Vulnerability is something I’ve struggled with since day one.
Brené Brown told me to be more vulnerable. In ‘Daring Greatly’ she insisted I just go for it. To take the plunge and dive right into emotions I may not have explored. In ‘Rising Strong’ she taught me to dust myself off after diving in led to epic failure.
Then I learned that there is no failure in trying. The only failure is no longer doing.
Even after reading about vulnerability, I realized I still wasn’t exploring it myself. I wasn’t letting my guard down. I didn’t want to be judged for what my heart looked like. I didn’t want to let anyone see me past the depth of my skin.
Until recently, I was okay with only my spouse, best friend, and a few family members seeing my vulnerable, messy self. “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.” Right? I was only allowing the ones I trusted wholeheartedly to see what my soul looked like.
A few weeks ago, my company started a book club. First on the reading docket was “The ONE Thing”, which essentially identifies that behind every successful person is their ONE thing. It continuously begs the question “What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
We broke the book club up into 4 separate meetings. Every Thursday we’d meet for 1 hour to discuss the chapters we’d just finished reading that week. On meeting #3, we discussed ‘purpose’.
Shit. I couldn’t avoid talking about it anymore. I’d gone 29 years without having to talk about ‘my purpose’, and now I was cornered.
I was sweating bullets. I was looking down while picking at my fingernails. My boss called on me. “Laura, you’ve been quiet this entire meeting. Let’s hear what you have to say. What is your purpose?”
I took a deep breath and looked at the other 6 faces that were staring at me on the Google Hangouts video call. I finished my long inhale, and with my exhale came a stream of tears.
“I don’t know.”
Side note: Answering a question (especially coming from your boss) with “I don’t know” feels pretty freaking detrimental to your confidence level, especially when it comes to something as seemingly simple as ‘what’s your purpose?’
There. I said it.
I had just then realized that I had spent so many years living out what I assumed people thought my purpose was instead of determining for myself what my purpose was. Sharing that information with my team made me feel naked from the inside-out.
I knew from then on that I wanted to stop coasting through life doing what others expected me to do and make something happen.
Which leads me to my main point. I’m currently writing my very first book. For those of you who don’t already know me, I work for an incredible company called Self-Publishing School. We are a virtual, educational online business that teaches aspiring authors how to write, publish, and market their first books. It’s really quite something to be a part of, and I can’t explain how good it feels to have a job that has purpose behind it.
Back in July, I had made the commitment to myself that I would write my first book. It will be about starting a lifestyle blog and the struggles and failures that come along with it.
There were a few reasons that pushed me to make that decision. One, my boss really wanted me to have my own book under my belt in order to create the most valuable, helpful, and productive content for our own students. If I had been through the process myself, I’d have more first-hand experience and could personally help the students we work with. Two, I needed to work on my personal accountability. So often I’ve started new projects that are so fresh and exciting to me, gotten more than halfway done, been able to see the future positive outcome of finishing, and then I set it aside and walk away. I had to make a change and be accountable for my commitments. Three, I have some deep-rooted personal struggles I’m working through when it comes to seeking the approval of others, and more importantly, myself. It’s been 7 months of me dragging my feet to the finish line of my book because I’ve been so afraid of what people will think.
“Who is she to write a book about something she’s not even that great at?” “Does she think she’s better than everyone else?” “She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.” “She’s a failure.”
See, the thing is… the more I think about it, the more I’m afraid of asking myself these things.
WHY am I letting these limiting beliefs define who I am during such a crucial time? It’s time to move on and do what I’ve set out to do. I’m going to write a book.
So this is me, after waiting far too long, admitting my fears of comparison and failure because it’s time I let myself be vulnerable. This is a huge first step in helping me discover my purpose, follow my passion, and stop letting the opinions of myself and others hold me back.
P.S. I want to know if anyone else out there has struggled with vulnerability. Is there anything that’s holding you back? What are we so afraid of?