Can You Be Vulnerable?

Can You Be Vulnerable? 09 23 2013“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.
Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” Brené Brown

Ah vulnerability.

We expect it from our clients but we fear it in ourselves.

As advisors (especially if you’ve come from a big firm), we’re taught that success is about how smart we are, not how human we are.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I was treated to a humbling reminder of this last week, when I visited a client’s office for the first time.  I arrived in typical consultant fashion, agenda in hand, ready to rock ‘n roll. The client however, had decided he’d like to treat me like HIS client so he could show me how his process worked from the inside out.

After a brief explanation, he handed me two worksheets to complete. They required me to think deeply on a highly personal subject and write down my reactions (pretty much EXACTLY what I ask my own clients to do).

My snap reaction was that I didn’t want to go where the questions would take me. I wanted to focus on results! Thankfully, the irony was not lost on me and I knew I had to do this. In I dove, determined to surrender to the moment.

And he gave me the very human experience of being heard, seen and understood. We bonded.

Being vulnerable as a “client” was a visceral reminder that we routinely ask clients to share their pain points, their secrets and their dreams. We expect them to be vulnerable. We expect them to trust us.

We ask a lot. Which is why we are honor-bound to create the conditions for both client and consultant to tell the truth with courage.

The vulnerability table turned: the perfect lesson, delivered by a master.

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5 Responses to Can You Be Vulnerable?

  1. LaRae Quy says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Being vulnerable is about opening up and taking chances…and that is hard with people we don’t know and don’t trust. But what an incredible way of building a relationship.

    When we speak with our heart, our mind listens!

  2. Corey Bearak says:

    Nothing wrong with a little role playing. It offers an interesting approach to aiding clients,

  3. Ed Rosenbaum says:

    Well worth the read. This made me sit back and think about my approaches to clients and prospects. Changes could be the order.

  4. Rochelle says:

    It was truly eye-opening and I suspect it will go down on my list of all-time favorite client experiences…

  5. Ken Taub says:

    RoMo: You’re welcome for the shout out. You deserved it.

    Want to write a brief piece for Resources on vulnerability giving way to both creative action and true confidence in life as well as in business? OR, ways to stand out, with class and style, in several aspects of life — from the POV of those over 40 and 50 working & competing in a world filled with young & audacious 20 and 30-somethings? You’d be the one to do it. Take a look and see. We have a bunch of top authors & experts; you’d get a free edit, a national audience, and a link back to your site. Let us know! regards, Ken

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