How to Grow from Vulnerability in Business

There is a huge element of vulnerability in business, yet it feels like most of us aren’t talking about it. Business is difficult, scary, and we are never guaranteed a positive outcome. In fact, over 65% of businesses will fail within the first ten years. If we are fortunate enough to keep our doors open that doesn’t mean we aren’t regularly struggling. Even success brings with it its own set of challenges and costs.

Many of us are driven to be perfect at what we do and we are very concerned about what other people think about us – and our businesses. Wanting to have a good image is one thing, but perfectionism sets the bar so high that we will never reach it. Trying to do everything and be everything to everyone is exhausting, and really I have found it can have the opposite effect.

Times that I have tried to be perfect or do what I thought other people wanted me to do, I did so at the cost of my own boundaries or well-being. When I first started my business I would do anything I could to accommodate a customer, including having them be months late on payments, not charging for a no-show (or more often no-shows) and giving up things I wanted to do – like working out – to make a time work better for them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about treating the customer well – but I was betraying my own boundaries and getting walked all over.

So often I find people I meet act like they have it all put together, both personally and professionally. My day job as a therapist has taught me this is rarely the case. We all have our struggles we go through and may times feel like we are alone in it.

Instead, I recommend that we become more real with ourselves, our close friends, and colleagues about how things are going. When appropriate you can also let employees or customers in. Vulnerability should not be overused and I encourage you to ask yourself the following:

  1. What am I okay with sharing or not sharing?
  2. What is my intention of sharing?
  3. Is the person I’m sharing with worthy of hearing my story?

There is a lot of power in being honest, open, and vulnerable with those who have earned the right to hear it. It takes us out of our loneliness, our pain, and feeling like we are the only ones struggling.

Brené Brown said, “we are wired for struggle and worthy of love and belonging.” This opens us up for self-growth, connection, and invaluable feedback or support from others. Try it for yourself with someone you trust or come meet other Daring Women who will have your back!

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Best, Ashley