“In war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.” – Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese military strategist and author of “The Art of War,” highlights the quickest way to victory or to be defeated is through a weakness.
Having a vulnerability is an exposed weakness. No one has ever stated, “This nation is so great because it’s vulnerable.” But a common buzz phrase these days is to say we need to be more “vulnerable.” But what does it mean to be vulnerable?
Being vulnerable can mean:
- Sharing your mistakes and flaws
- Recounting embarrassing moments from your past.
- Bravely voicing an opinion that might not be popular.
- Being overly emotional around others
It can be any time we decide to put our ego on the line to become more personal with others. It’s about letting down your guard and connecting with others on a deeper level. But, like everything in life, there’s a time and place for vulnerability. Being “vulnerable” should not be a blanket approach towards all your relationships, especially professional relationships.
When Vulnerability Doesn’t Work:
- Leadership Roles: Sharing too many personal mishaps can erode the respect your team has for you.
- Competitive Workplaces: Overexposure can make you a target for those looking to climb the corporate ladder.
- First Impressions: Over-sharing can lead to snap judgments.
- High Authority Roles: In professions where authority is paramount, showing too many chinks in your armor can be detrimental.
There’s a time and place for everything to be considered appropriate or inappropriate. Just as it may be fine to share a personal family matter with a close friend but you shouldn’t share that same issue with the internet.
But, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are moments when opening up can be incredibly powerful.
The Power of Humility:
- Personal Growth: Recognizing and working on our flaws can lead to immense personal growth.
- Mentoring: Sharing mistakes with those you’re mentoring can be incredibly reassuring.
- Building Trust: Sharing personal stories can foster deeper connections.
- Seeking Support: Sometimes, opening up can be a cry for help, and that’s okay.
Remember that video game boss who keeps revealing his weak spot? Yeah, don’t be that guy. Don’t just say “I need to be more vulnerable” without understanding what you’re asking yourself to do. It’s all about balance. Vulnerability and humility are powerful tools in the right context. While having humility and empathy can foster deeper connections, it’s essential to gauge the situation. Always be genuine, but also be wise about when and where you open up. Practice restraint and also be reserved. After all, life isn’t a video game, and we don’t get multiple lives to play with.
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