The end of one year and the beginning of another often bring about significant changes. This year, my clients experienced organizational restructurings, promotions, new job opportunities, and the end of existing professional relationships. Some people discovered that their companies were being sold, concluded that their current workplace was no longer right for them, or decided it was time for a career change.
For me, the new year always starts a cycle of wonder. I find myself asking questions like, “Who will I work with this year? What will I find behind new doors when I open them? Will some relationships come to a natural – or even abrupt – end? Will I be as successful as I was last year? What surprises will emerge?
Whatever the circumstances, many of us start the new year in a place of uncertainty, and that can make us feel quite vulnerable. This is a good thing.
Vulnerability Is Power
In her book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, Dr. Brené Brown defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” YUCK! Who wants to wade into those murky waters, right?
Me. I do. And I’m taking my clients with me. Wholeheartedly. Together, we’re going to dive into a pool of risk and show our inner “stuff.” Why? Because the alternative is unsustainable.
Take some time to research antonyms for vulnerability, and you’ll get words like invincibility, immunity, safety, protection, and resistance. Of course, all humans want to feel safe, but resistance takes a lot of effort and energy. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live my life in a heavy, hot suit of armor waiting for the lousy weather to blow over.
This year, I’ve decided to step right into the uncertainty, the risk, and emotional exposure. I’m feeling it all — every day.
Your Values will Save You
The foundation of my work with clients is helping them to get clear on their most important values. Your values are like guideposts. When you come to a fork in the road, it’s your values that will point you towards deep, personal fulfillment. Ignoring your values will keep you stuck in fear, chaos, boredom or worst of all, a “meh” existence.
My values tend to show up in the following ways:
- My value of self-care nudges me towards getting extra sleep, eating healthier, moving more and sticking with my meditation practice.
- My value of personal growth keeps me motivated during dark times and focused on the light at the end of the tunnel.
- My value of fun beckons me to be playful with my shifting circumstances and open to new perspectives.
- My value of joy reminds me to be happy in the moment because the present is all that we have.
Let Go and Let Flow
I’ve spent a lot of time lately reminding my clients who are in the midst of vulnerable circumstances to step out of the armor and resist the natural pull of comfortable patterns and easy choices. Brené Brown also says that “vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity.” So what’s it going to be for you, vulnerability or armor?