Vulnerability in a Heart-Centered Business
So I teased this blog post the other day. This post is about vulnerability, and specifically vulnerability as a core part of my new heart-centered business.
I was trying to find a picture that represented vulnerability. The one I chose is one of me and my big man, G, and it was the first picture we have together where I was holding him following the birth of my daughter E. It was an incredibly emotional moment for me, because of the physical limitations I had after she was born. The physical distance that had begun to develop was excruciating for me. I was so anxious to be able to hold him again. But I was afraid as well.
Would it hurt, physically? Would we still have our special mother-son bond? Would he look at me differently now that I was spending so much time with baby sister instead of being hands-on with him? Would he know how much of my heart he still held in his perfect little hands?
As he snuggled in and laughed at whatever we were watching, the tears of joy ran down my face. And although I look ridiculous, the picture and the memory of that moment gives me chills still today.
I’ve been thinking about it for a while. Candidly, this has proven to be the most difficult post to write so far. After I published my first post my husband, M, commented that the content was very open and vulnerable of me. The fact that he used the word vulnerable stuck with me, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
Did I make myself vulnerable? More important, was that bad?
I hadn’t thought I was coming across as vulnerable. I was just being honest about where I was at with launching my business and this blog. I own what I’m doing and where I’m at right now, though I was perhaps a little overzealous coming out of the gate. I didn’t feel like I had anything to be ashamed of though.
But still, it kept nagging at me. So I decided to dig deeper into this idea that I was somehow making myself vulnerable.
If you look it up on dictionary.com, the word vulnerable is defined as: “open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc. “
Looking back at the launch post, and reflecting on this definition, I now understand precisely why M said it was vulnerable of me. I was exposing myself to potential critique, a risky proposition so early in business.
So for two weeks, I’ve been thinking about vulnerability as it relates to my new business and adventure into blogging.
And then, as only the universe could, several seemingly unrelated concepts have collided to rock my worldview.
A few days ago, I stumbled across a great TED Talk (I LOVE TED TALKS!) by Dr. Brené Brown where she talks about the power of vulnerability. If you listen to it, which you should because she’s quite funny, she talks about how vulnerability is at the basis of our most powerful human emotions and experiences.
Vulnerability as a source of power… hmm interesting…
I then decided to pull out a book I read last year, called “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni. His book is based on the premise that dysfunctional teams, at their core, suffer from a lack of trust, which is caused by invulnerability. He’s speaking specifically about work teams, but honestly, if you read the book, you could easily apply the concepts to most relationships.
There it is again. This time Vulnerability as a way to build and maintain trust…. Ok…
And then the next thing you know, in comes my favorite TED Talker Simon Sinek with another gem, “first why, then trust.” In this talk, Simon talks about what happens when businesses grow and lose sight of their “why.” They go into a “distrust crisis” as he calls it. This can break businesses, and it can certainly prevent you from growing the way you want to.
Ok so putting them all together, knowing your why leads to trust, and to keep trust we have to be willing to be vulnerable.
So I sat down last night, and I started to write this post, and for the first time, I struggled to find words. I was trying to make the connection between these concepts that the universe has thrown in my face; why, trust, vulnerability.
I was trying to make the point that all are critical components to building a successful business. I would argue even more so in an online business, where you don’t have the benefit of building relationships face to face.
I decided that I don’t care if I come across as vulnerable. This is my voice, and this is my way of trying to form meaningful relationships in this new #entrepreneurlife where I’m building a business over the Internet, and if it’s vulnerable, then I suppose so be it. I know there are plenty out there who won’t agree with this approach, but that’s okay with me.
As I tried to get the words out in a way that made sense, I developed a severe case of writer’s block, which NEVER happens to me. Rather than get frustrated, I decided to call it quits and get some sleep.
Sure enough, this morning the universe delivered again. I happened to chance upon another blog post, by the fabulous Catherine Watkin that brought it all together. It is called “Can I Be Heart-Centered and Still Be Successful,” and it is all about an approach to business that in essence, puts the heart front and center.
I literally could not believe what I was reading.
Dr. Brown was talking about the vulnerable people she researched as being wholehearted. Simon Sinek talks about why, purpose and heart in almost everything he does. And now this! This was it, the hammer to smash my writer’s block.
I am a heart-centered business owner!
Yes, I want to make money, but it is so much bigger than that. My purpose, my why, my heart, is the real reason I am doing this.
That’s why I haven’t been able to get myself away from all those #startingwithwhy posts. That’s why I’m not bothered if I come across as vulnerable.
My purpose is higher than just adding extra income to the family. And I wholeheartedly believe, to use Dr. Brown’s words, that I will achieve both goals by being exactly who I am, a rockstar woman entrepreneur who takes a heart-centered approach to her business.
I’m not looking to conduct a transaction. I’m looking to build partnerships. I’m looking to empower rockstar women entrepreneurs so that they can empower their people. I’m looking to impact lives.
And how can we do that being connected to our why? How can we do that without trust? How can we do that without vulnerability?
I have worked with business of many different shapes and sizes, and the ones that stand out always make sure that their why and their purpose was like their heartbeat; ever present, consistent, comforting, and strong.
I want to build a business like this. I want to build a business that shines and help others to do the same. I believe I will attract other heart-centered business owners, who like me, want to grow a thriving business but not at the expense of their mission and value system.