Monday, March 09, 2009

How to Turn Vulnerability into Profitability

Wearing a nametag 24-7 for the past 3,000+ days has been great practice.

Practice being vulnerable, that is.

And as I continue to reflect on the past nine years of adhesive adventures, I’m slowly starting to realize the connection between vulnerability, approachability and profitability.

HERE’S THE REALITY: Sticking yourself out there is a risk.

And vulnerability is about being open.
Revealing your personhood to the world.
Submitting your ideas, thoughts and passions for all to see.
Surrendering your Truth – weaknesses and imperfections included – to the people around you.

Shakti Gawain beautifully defines this word in her book, Creating True Prosperity:

“Vulnerability means allowing yourself to be affected by the word around you.”

This, of course, is terrifying for many people.

Because you’re risking your truth. You’re risking being rejected. And you’re risking being stared at or talked about.

Yikes.

On the other hand, vulnerability DOES lead to profitability, when practiced wisely and consistently. In fact, there’s a sequence of three things that happen...

FIRST: The more often you stick yourself out there – that is, exert your distinctiveness – the more comfortable and confident you become with who you are.

THEN: When you’re comfortable and confident with who you are, your truthful self-expression inspires and gives other people permission to do (and BE) the same.

EVENTUALLY: When you and the people in your life stop bullshitting each other – and start realizing that it’s OK to be vulnerable – the rules change.

We begin to listen to each other from a truer place. We start to share with each other from a stronger place. We now communicate with each other from a more genuine place.

As a result, employees will listen TO you, and customers will buy FROM you.

Sounds like profit to me!

What about you? Are you ready to reclaim your right to be vulnerable – and LEAD with it?

Cool. Let’s learn how.

In his classic discourse on self-disclosure, The Transparent Self, Sidney Jourard hits the topic of vulnerability pretty hard. I read this book in college, only two years into my nametagging adventures. And I’ll always remember it as one of the first books that taught me what it meant to be approachable.

First, we’ll explore a sample of his research findings. Then I’ll tell you how to translate those lessons into action items you can execute TODAY to turn vulnerability into profitability:

1. “When a man discloses his experience to another, fully, spontaneously, and honestly, the mystery that he was decreases enormously.”

LESSON: Being vulnerable educates others about who you are.

QUESTION: How well do your customers know YOU?

ACTION: Fully integrate your humanity into your profession. Five ways to do so here.

2. “I display my love by letting him know me.”

LESSON: Being vulnerable is a gift that you give to others.

QUESTION: How, specifically, are you giving the gift of YOU?

ACTION: Ask PFQ’s (Passion Finding Questions.) I posted a list of them here.

3. “Disclosure of the truth of one’s being is often penalized. When you permit yourself to be known, you expose yourself not only to a lover’s balm, but also to a hater’s bombs.”

LESSON: Being vulnerable means being open to the fact that not everyone will like you.

QUESTION: Are you willing to let go of the need to be liked by everybody?

ACTION: Learn who (not) to listen to. Consider tuning out these 100 types of people.

4. “No man can come to know himself except as a outcome of disclosing himself to another person. But, when a person has been able to disclose himself utterly, he learns how to increase his contact with his real self, and he may then be better able to direct his destiny on the basis of knowledge.”

LESSON: Being vulnerable is a great way to get to know who you really are.

QUESTION: What have you learned about yourself by virtue of sharing yourself?

ACTION: Start blogging today. Shatter your excuses for not blogging here.

- - -

REMEMBER: Sticking yourself out there – that is, being vulnerable – is a risk.

You’re risking your truth.
You’re risking standing out.
You’re risking being rejected.

What’s more, vulnerability requires confidence in yourself, implies security in yourself and suggests openness to others.

So, let us not forget the wise words of the great writer, Henry James:

“To be opened to risk is to risk being shattered. But without that shattering there is no glory.”

Damn skippy.

So, contrary to popular conditioning, vulnerability IS strength. And we live a lie when we misrepresent the reality of our experience or the truth of our being.

I challenge you to open the door to your Truth. To risk feeling what you feel. To come out of the closet.

It makes you more relatable. It makes you more approachable. And ultimately, it makes you more profitable.

And you don’t even need to wear a nametag everyday.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What are you using your vulnerability for?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "24 Daily Practices for Turning Vulnerability into Profitability," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Who's quoting YOU?

Check out Scott's Online Quotation Database for a bite-sized education on success!

www.stuffscottsaid.com.