The V-Factor: Connecting with Vulnerability
May 30, 2012 Leave a comment
To increase your connection with people, you might just need to up your V-factor. You might need to be a little more vulnerable.
Don’t you love being vulnerable? You’re just ready to jump out of your seat and expose the real you, right?
It’s hard being vulnerable. Kids are vulnerable. But as we get older we put on the bullet proof vest of invulnerability. We cinch it tighter for fear if we open up just a little, we might get shot down. An arrow might pierce our heart.
But it is when you can be a little vulnerable with people that you can build trust and connect. Think about it. If someone lets you see their authentic selves, you tend to trust that person more. Nobody wants to be around “plastic people.” We need to melt off that plastic and be real before we can melt the hearts and connect with others.
Shortly after Christmas last year, I had coffee with a new acquaintance, a man I had met at a Toastmaster meeting who also shared an interest in business storytelling. As we sat at across the table from each other at Caribou, we each shared a little about ourselves. He shared how he had been out of work for a while and I could see the guarded expression on his face. I knew he wondered if I would judge him . . . If I would think poorly of him for being out of work. It was as if an invisible wall were between us.
I decided to be a little vulnerable to try to knock down that wall.
I shared with him that I knew how he felt, because just 2 years earlier, My husband and I had been dealing with a failed business. Just 2 years earlier, not only had I gotten food at a food shelf, I’d gotten my kids Christmas gifts there too. But, it was temporary. Hard, but temporary—as it would be for him, too. Tough times never last. Tough people do.
The wall came down. His face relaxed. He leaned in. We connected.
Taking off the bullet proof vest of invulnerability might be hard. It might be scary. It might just change your relationships.