I believe that as you grow and learn as an entrepreneur, you start to realize that not everything can be controlled and sometimes the best things present themselves when you try and step back and let yourself be vulnerable. I will be the first to admit that I am a control freak. And when owning a business through a pandemic, you sure can’t control everything.
Being an entrepreneur comes with a lot of stakeholders, including my family, my employees, everyone who wants me to provide them with answers. “When are we going back to the office?” “When are we going to go back to school?” “What’s happening with the world?” And a recent tough one that stands out: my son, “when can I go to the corner store and spend my $20 birthday present?” because his birthday party was canceled. I’d love to provide people with some peace of mind, but I don’t have those answers.
With so much out of our control the uncertainty made me anxious and emotional like I’ve never experienced. Unknown to me, the newfound vulnerability came with many positives and leveled the field. One takeaway being that vulnerability made me lean into patience and empathy, which are not usually my natural reactions, and I made extra efforts to demonstrate love and build trust within my team. I did some research* into some of the main benefits that can come out of showing vulnerability and they are right in line with FAULHABER’s core values.
1. It helps build intimacy in relationships
Relationships is one of our four core values and are so important for anyone that works in the Public Relations space. Being vulnerable requires you to open up and touch on deeper emotions. In an unprecedented situation like this, when all parties are going through the same experience, opening about your feelings creates a safe space for others to reciprocate and you really learn how many others are feeling the same. Not only will this benefit your relationships, but it will ease your own heaviness of feeling vulnerable by normalizing your experience.
2. It increases self-worth
There is something truly liberating about admitting that you are feeling vulnerable and by accepting the lack of control over a situation. It’s a reminder to yourself that you are human, and everybody goes through it.
3. It aids innovation and motivation
As a Public Relations and Digital Marketing agency, we had to shift a lot of what we do (events, in-person meetings, productions shoots) to digital platforms. This has taken a lot of adaption and innovation from everyone. Everyone time you have the courage to speak out and share new ideas, you are performing an act of vulnerability. And this situation required all of us to do that more often. This forced me, as someone In a leadership role, to share my vulnerability with the team to create a safer space for everyone to feel comfortable and motivated to share their innovative ideas.
4. It provokes compassion
Sometimes you aren’t the one demonstrating the vulnerability, but instead, you’re the one witnessing someone else’s. I recently connected with all of my employees individually to hear how everyone is doing and their thoughts about the current situation as we start to discuss a safe return-to-the-office plan. The main takeaway was that everyone has different viewpoints, concerns, and vulnerabilities. Witnessing this made me dive into compassion and understanding and really be there to listen. All practices that make you a better leader.
5. It is a call for accountability
Accountability was one of our 2020 pillars, and that was decided on way before we knew we were about to enter a pandemic. Admitting vulnerability shows you are ready to take accountability for your emotions, actions, and thoughts. According to intentioninspired.com, “once you stop being afraid to express yourself, you will take over the control of your life, instead of going where the flow of current events takes you.” Something we agree is so important in the face of everything happening right now.
* Information from IntentionInspired.com