In the summer of 2012 I took a leap of faith and dared greatly when I decided to begin a business partnership with Donna Hutchinson. I was excited and absolutely terrified. Although I had twenty years’ experience in the fitness industry, I felt that becoming an entrepreneur was way over my head. A big part of me was grateful for the opportunity, but an even bigger part of me wanted to run for the hills because it was a lot safer. However, safe and simple would not have given me the opportunity to challenge myself and become a stronger individual and professional. I faced my fears and decided to take on the challenge, and I have to admit that it has been anything but easy: sleepless nights, long hours, and weeks without time off just wanting to curl up in bed and stay there. However, since I became a business owner, I have blossomed as a person with lots to still learn. I have been published, invited to speak at several conferences, and I have been able to help more fitness professionals which truly drives me and gives me a reason to get up in the morning. None of this would have happened had I not taken a chance and been vulnerable.
One of the most difficult things that most of us can do is to put ourselves in vulnerable situations. For example, telling someone you love that you disagree with their ideas or opinions, because you are afraid of rejection or feeling unseen and unlovable. Trying a new activity, because you may feel inadequate or afraid that someone will make fun of you. Telling someone you love them because they might not say it back and that is painful. Admitting you’re in over your head out of fear of feeling and/or being perceived as incompetent. It appears things seem to be easier when we avoid exposing ourselves to being vulnerable. However, the pain of not being who we truly are creates more hurt and long lasting underlying issues, such as anger, resentment, anxiety and depression. All of these issues lead to disconnection and therefore the inability to live life fully.
Dr. Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly, describes vulnerability as “not just knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity for both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.” She expands on this concept by saying that “vulnerability is the core, the heart, the centre of meaningful human experiences.” Dr. Brown also suggests that vulnerability is perceived by most people as a sign on weakness, when in reality it is a sign of great courage, because we let ourselves be seen regardless of the consequences when we dare to take a chance, and experience life first hand. People who have accomplished great things in their lives have had to be vulnerable, they have had to take chances and in the process they have failed and been victorious. How do we know the difference between these two, unless we have experienced both?
There are no guarantees that the chances we take will produce the results we desire. Our vulnerable moments when we decide to take the plunge may bring joy as well as pain. However, it is part of the process of learning and growing. Being vulnerable invites you to let go of the need for certainty and to lean into discomfort. Have you ever achieved something in your life that has not required this type of courage? I encourage you to be vulnerable, connect, try something new, accept that whatever you do is good enough, get in the playground of life and have a ball! If you fall, get up and keep playing. Let us see you and love and admire who you truly are and not who you think you should be.