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Being vulnerable is fucking hard.   I love Brene Brown as much as the next gal, but when it comes to the part about sharing our shame stories, getting them out of the dark closets so we can be released from the grip they have on us -- most of the time -- I’d rather just slam the doors and run the other away.

If you’re not familiar with Brene Brown, her work is focused on the relationship between worthiness, shame, vulnerability and courage. (Her 2010,  The Power of Vulnerability TED talk remains one of the top 10 most watched TED talks of all time.)

She speaks about vulnerability being the key to connection and as creative entrepreneurs this is something we cannot overlook.  In order to establish a real connection, in order to build a truly engaged tribe -- so we can share our work and make an impact in the world -- we need to be willing to get vulnerable.  

Vulnerability is the key to connection.  {click to tweet}


I am forever encouraging my clients to dig deep and be vulnerable, to share their stories of triumph and struggle, because it’s the only way their tribes are going to find them.  In a sea of sameness, it’s our personal stories that differentiate us, that allow us to stand out and be remembered in a cluttered online world.

And I’ve noticed an interesting trend when it comes to these big-hearted, mission driven women -- the stories they are most resistant to share are their shame stories -- the ones that had them down on their knees; the ones when they felt worthless; the ones where they felt like they just didn't measure up, like there was something “wrong” with them, like they just weren’t enough.

Shocker right -- that people wouldn't want to share these stories!?

Obviously that part is no surprise, but what I find incredibly fascinating is how often I’ve seen the connection between these stories and the Authentic Brilliance of my clients -- between their shame stories and the impact they are trying to make with their work.  And when they start to tell these stories, especially the ones that scare the shit of them, something magical happens -- a fog lifts -- dots get connected, themes become illuminated, clarity descends.

All of a sudden answers to questions like -- What’s my message? Where is my tribe? Who is my ideal client?  What is my why? -- start to reveal themselves.

Our deepest stories, the ones we keep tucked away -- hold a key to our Authentic Brilliance.  {click to tweet}


But did I mention it can be fucking hard, at least for me -- cause even though I am acutely aware of how powerful and transformative it can be to bring these deeper stories forward -- I can still be a massive chicken shit about doing it myself.

Case in point -- earlier this year I was featured on the Born Through Fire podcast.  As you may have guessed from the title, the host Kaly McKenna asks guests to share the story of their “deepest, darkest pain and torment” in order to “celebrate the triumph of the human spirit”.  Beautiful, amazing, inspiring stuff right-- but also -- kinda terrifying!

Sharing my deepest, darkest pain-- ummm, okay, but… how about next week, or maybe the week after --let’s just say I may have “rescheduled” the interview a few times.  

I was still totally terrified that people would see me as damaged, that I was somehow inherently broken or worst of all weak -- even though I never feel this way when other people get vulnerable, in fact it’s just the opposite -- I see them as incredibly strong.

The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I’m willing to show you. In you, it’s courage and daring. In me, it’s weakness.
— Brene Brown

So I dug deep, invoked my inner mantra -- Trust. Surrender. Leap. -- and shared my story, right from the center of my terrified, tender heart.

And guess what -- another veil lifted -- not only did I get even more clarity on my work and why I do it,  but it drew in even more of my tribe.  People heard it and found themselves reflected in my story.

Shine a light on the parts you think are broken - your tribe will see themselves reflected there.  {click to tweet}


Now I’m not saying go out and hang all your shame stories on the clothesline for the world to see (absolutely not!), but I do invite you look into the ones you are resisting sharing -- the ones that still have a hold on you, the ones that keep coming up -- is there some power and illumination waiting for you there?

Oh, and in case you wanted to hear more about my deeper story, here is the link to the Born Through Fire Podcast, you’ll find me excavating my heart in episode #35.