Vulnerability – Your Key to Success
Updated: Mar 5
“Fake it until you make it” is a common saying as you try to earn your stripes in the business world in general, but it is more a philosophy of life that has been pounded into us at a very early age. Growing up, parents, coaches and pretty much all of society has taught us to be strong and not show vulnerability. In sports, showing your weaknesses to your opponents gives them the competitive advantage and often results in a loss for you. For myself, I hate losing and my competitive nature doesn’t just take over when I am standing in the batter’s box against a pitcher, but it consumes my everyday life at home and at work. However, being true to yourself, facing your weaknesses, failing, getting back up, practicing, failing again, and repeating this process is a necessity to success in all aspects of life.
Personally, this area continues to be a work in process, but the truth is when I am not true to myself and others, everyone associated loses. I am not working in the best interests for myself personally or professionally, and I am not producing the best results for my family, friends, teammates, co-workers, or clients.
Individually when I am not being vulnerable and owning up to areas that I need to work on, I am missing out on where personal or professional development are needed. Once we admit the fact that an area is a weakness, practice – practice – practice – practice. It has always humored me that in sports, we try to refine our strengths and improve on our weaknesses during countless hours of practice that heavily outweigh the hours performing in games. But when it comes to business, many of us spend so much time in the everyday hustle and bustle of the “game” stage that professional development or “practice” only consumes a small piece, if any, of our time. Even more crucial is that the same can be said in our personal lives. We need to take more time to practice and develop.
It is obvious how avoiding these truths regarding growth areas can be a detriment to our families, friends, teammates, co-workers, or clients. I can appear to have answers or solutions to their problems and guide them down the wrong path. Getting over the fact that the majority of people don’t expect perfection or the answers to everything, and that often times, being real and showing your human side, including making mistakes and not having all the solutions, is the secret to long-term relationships and success.
Vulnerability isn’t all about knowing and confronting when you don’t have all the answers or admitting when you are wrong. It is also about knowing when to say ‘No’. We live in a society that thinks busyness is good business. Putting in countless hours “faking it” at work often gets rewarded through promotions and raises. Previously, I worked in public accounting where busyness in terms of number of hours was rewarded and personal growth and happiness were not valued at the forefront. A common question each week was, “How many hours did you work this week?” instead of “What did you accomplish this week, personally and professionally, tangible and intangible?” This is all too common in the business world today but is a hindrance to your personal and professional growth.
To be at our best, we all need adequate development time, but most importantly we all need adequate personal time. This can include time with family, personal development/reading time, rest, exercise or the like. In order to do this, we can’t be “faking it” at work or saying “Yes” to everything. Take the time and energy to be real and true to yourself both in the face of others and during your personal time. Develop the areas of weakness and refine the areas of strength. Prioritize the opportunities and realize that you can’t be all things to all people at all times.
Brad Archambeau, CPA is a consultant at Journey Consulting, LLC, in Green Bay