Are You Vulnerable Enough to Grow?
Define success however you want, it's going to include growth. In order to grow, you have to recognize there's something about yourself or your work that could be better.
You have to tear down any walls you've built in efforts of self-preservation. You have to expose yourself to outside scrutiny. You have to be vulnerable.
I'm sure you've heard people say - you've probably said it yourself - that you have to be open to criticism if you want to grow. It's true, but I believe you have to take it a step farther than that. Here's what I mean.
I write about productivity tips, elaborate on motivational quotes, talk about being positive, etc. I put that content in front of as many people as I can, and I'm open to criticism in how to make that writing/headline/format better.
But I'm not sharing any piece of myself when I do that. I'm still a closed door. I personally am not opening myself up to others, I'm only opening my finished product.
The difficult part is sharing a personal account, what I'm actually feeling, how I've gone about things, or what my opinions are. When I present facts, there's nothing to be said in response. They're just facts. But if I give an opinion, well, everybody else has an opinion, too.
Maybe their opinion doesn't line up with mine. Maybe that says something more drastic about me. Maybe they think I'm stupid. Maybe they'll tear me down, and I'll have to spend all week getting those few choice words out of my head. Being vulnerable is frightening! But being vulnerable is necessary.
If you want to grow, you have to intentionally put yourself in front of a lot of people. It's like interviewing for jobs. If you only interview for one, maybe you'll get a job and maybe you won't. If you interview for fifteen, your chances of success skyrocket.
As a creative, I have to put my work in front of as many eyes as possible. That's the only way I can grow. But I have to first be incredibly vulnerable. I have to be open to the possibilities of criticism, rejection, and even public shaming on a personal level. It's a necessary step!
For me to grow, I have to let people see all the ins and outs of me - what they can relate to and what they might dislike. For me to grow, I have to be able to connect with others. A connection is made when two people relate to something that they would otherwise keep to themselves. To connect, I have to be exposed. I have to be vulnerable.
Really, this applies to any aspect of life. If you want to grow in a relationship, both people have to be vulnerable, open to change, and willing to share their inner workings with each other. If you want to grow in business, you have to wear a passion and exuberance for your work, which inevitably comes with being open and exposed.
The bottom line is that if you want to grow in any area, you've got to be vulnerable. It's a necessary step to get over that next hurtle of self improvement. Are you vulnerable enough to grow?