#VulneRevolution Interview Series – ep. 10 – Anton Chumak Andryakov, Identity coach


Understanding Vulnerability

A man with true grit takes a stop for today’s interview on the vulnerability topic. His answers are not quite easy to get digested, but I hope you will – objectively – enjoy his perspectives on the topic, as much as I did.

***

Thank you very much for being part of our #VulneRevolution series!

We want to explore the topic of vulnerability openly and honestly. No judgement or innuendo should follow your feedback, therefore please do your best to answer the questions below honestly, as your help may mean the world to someone else.

If, at any given time, you may consider that you would like to withdraw yourself from this activity, please send us an email (anitei.andrada@gmail.com orlmccauley254@aol.com) within 2 days from the moment you provided the initial information.

As we would like to make sure the information reaches its purpose, you may consider the option of having images added to our story, as “a picture is worth a 1000 words”. However, if you would like to preserve your privacy and, upon your consent to do so, we can always make use of royalty free images on the internet.

Short Bio: Before answering the questions below, please take a moment to reflect upon the visibility you will have on the platform and if you would like us to use your true identity (preferably) or replace your name with initials or even a name at your convenience.

***

1. What is your interpretation of vulnerability?

I think one of the greatest gifts you can bestow on a person is self-sustainment. As the saying goes “it is better to teach a man how to fish, than to give him a fish”. So, I believe it is better to help a person unlock their inner identity than to help them achieve a goal. Once a person can truly understand – and most importantly – accept who they are, any goal can be achieved. This is done from learning how to pull the answers from within.

Many people say that they know themselves, but I see very differently, with hundreds of clients that I have worked with. It is a situation of “you don’t know until you know”. It is hard to know where you are, without having any contrast. Therefore, the subject of vulnerability is so dear to me! Vulnerability is a common concept when it is spoken about from external perspective. People do not talk about vulnerability from internal perspective enough. So many people have been told how great they are from a young age, now they have a hard time facing that they may not be as great as mom and dad told them they were. This causes them to not be vulnerable with themselves and admit their shortcomings. Due to never admitting that, they struggle to move on and even reach the end of their life hiding behind the same false perception. To me, that is one of the biggest mistakes a person can make. By being vulnerable with ourselves first, we accept ourselves for who we are; and, from there, we can grow into what we want to be.

Vulnerability to me is both internal and external, as I mentioned earlier.

It must start inside by an understanding that our current shortcomings are not permanent and by admitting them to ourselves. By being vulnerable, we will be able to grow.

“One cannot change until he/ she admits there is a need for change”

External vulnerability is best received when it is done sparingly. Kind of like the story of a boy that cried “wolf”… If a person is always being vulnerable by disclosing every little thing they have done wrong or what is going on currently in their life, the impact of their words will start to lose its weight. On the opposite hand this is the reason why leaders do so well when they are vulnerable. They generally carry themselves with a lot of pride and are very self-dependent in their team’s eyes. When they get on stage and become vulnerable, it really resonates with the people around them.

When a person is vulnerable on the outside, yet they are not actually vulnerable on the inside, it is quickly seen as fake by people close to them and empaths. In my tough love perspective, vulnerability must come from the right intention or otherwise you are just whining. It must come from the intention of self-development, by being vulnerable with those around us or within ourselves to get help and grow. One can also have an intention to be vulnerable to share something to help others grow. If we look at the Results Pyramid, we understand that, in order to change a result in a person, we often must go all the way down to the experience that led to a certain belief… that led to a certain action… that led to the undesired result. However, it is hard to recreate the right experience sometimes, to change the chain. To do that, vulnerable stories as lessons do a great job to help people with recreating the experience.

2. Can you tell us about a time when you were vulnerable in the workplace?

I conduct team meetings a few times a week. Whether it is just with my managers or with the entire staff, I draw on my mistakes in life to help them understand why certain actions may not be to their advantage . The story that I come back to, most often, speaks about me losing employees. I was vulnerable to talk about the poor choices I made, back in March 2015, in regards to one of my teams. This caused 5 employees to quit, as they were not making enough money.

3. What happened?

I was working with a team that was in a recovery situation. What that means is they were losing every month and not even coming close to meeting their KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). It was not a bad team! It had gone through some tough times, that had created a lot of tension amongst them.

I knew that, for that team to win again, I had to help them come together as a unit first. I did not worry about driving top line revenue as much as I should have and spent most of my time on relationship development and morale boosting. When team members would miss goals, instead of coming down on them a bit and pushing them to work harder, I babied them and told them “It’s OK, you will make it next month”. I was afraid to lose them and make my turnover number look bad.

That is the truth. I was chasing a metric as a leader and I wanted to be liked. So, even though we started to hit our team goals, eventually, there were many team members that were missing the accountability needed to make it in a commissioned environment. By trying to be their best friend and not being a good mentor and leader to them, I did not give the proper support for them to make the money that would have kept them going. 4 out of the 5 people that quit that month broke down crying in my office when they announced me of their resignation.

“If it is done correctly, vulnerability is a true sign of strength and confidence”

What was the lesson here? In my opinion, keeping people accountable and not being afraid of being disliked (if the intentions are pure) is the right thing to.

4. Do you regret it?

If you are asking whether I regret being vulnerable with my team, I absolutely do not!

Once I became more vulnerable with my teams, I became more human to them. This humility allowed me to have stronger relationships, that led to much deeper levels of trust. Those levels of trust led to better operating speeds. Those better operating speeds led to double digit growth and that led to many promotions. If you want to make an impact, allow yourself to be vulnerable! In right dosages and at right times.

If you are asking me if I regret babying my team members – which caused me to lose 5 of them in a month – I do not. Simply because I live life with no regrets. I am very happy with where I am now and I do not regret anything from the past. Those mistakes may have not led me here, had they not happened. However, if I were to be faced with same situation (which I have), most probably I would do things slightly different.

5. Nowadays, do you consider that being true to yourself and others is a sign of weakness/ vulnerability or strength? And why?

As I mentioned before, it depends on what amount of it and for what intention. If it is done correctly, vulnerability is a true sign of strength and confidence. A person being able to openly admit faults and mistakes (facing the possibility of being ridiculed) is a strong person, in my mind. It also shows that they do not have a fixed mindset, that requires them to hide behind a fake persona. They know that, by admitting their mistakes and faults, they can grow.

6. How did your experience with vulnerability influence your current state of mind? Would you recommend others to talk about it?

I recommend that everyone thinks about timing when they are being vulnerable. Timing is everything in so many aspects of life! And vulnerability is no different. This is where emotional intelligence must be applied. How you go about being vulnerable matters as much as the act of being vulnerable itself. If a person has a high level of emotional intelligence, I recommend using vulnerability as a tool to lead and help others, including themselves.

“I believe it is better to help a person unlock their inner identity than to help them achieve a goal.”

If a person has a lower degree of emotional intelligence and self-awareness, I suggest they work on improving that, before becoming very vulnerable, on a regular basis.

7. If you can sum up in 1 word how you feel about your experience with vulnerability what would it be?

Liberating !

***

Anton Chumak Andryakov can be reached via his LinkedIn profile and website.

You can contact/ follow Louise Mccauley and Andrada Anitei at any given moment, by following the links below:

Louise:      https://www.linkedin.com/in/louisecc/

Andradahttps://www.linkedin.com/in/andrada-anitei/


*The photos used in this article were provided by the rightful owner, with clear consent. Using them without prior agreement may be object of the copyright law. All rights reserved to Anton Chumak Andryakov*

 

Follow #VulneRevolution hashtag for weekly #PowerUp.

#VulneRevolution Interview Series – ep. 09 – Christine Robinson, Project Management Team Leader


Understanding Vulnerability

Another powerful woman has joined the “tribe” to speak about vulnerability. Enjoy!

***

Thank you very much for being part of our #VulneRevolution series!

We want to explore the topic of vulnerability openly and honestly. No judgement or innuendo should follow your feedback, therefore please do your best to answer the questions below honestly, as your help may mean the world to someone else.

If, at any given time, you may consider that you would like to withdraw yourself from this activity, please send us an email (anitei.andrada@gmail.com orlmccauley254@aol.com) within 2 days from the moment you provided the initial information.

As we would like to make sure the information reaches its purpose, you may consider the option of having images added to our story, as “a picture is worth a 1000 words”. However, if you would like to preserve your privacy and, upon your consent to do so, we can always make use of royalty free images on the internet.

Short Bio: Before answering the questions below, please take a moment to reflect upon the visibility you will have on the platform and if you would like us to use your true identity (preferably) or replace your name with initials or even a name at your convenience.

***

1. What is your interpretation of vulnerability?

The willingness to put yourself in a position to be misunderstood, rejected or persecuted by those you are seeking to connect with relationally, whether on a personal or professional level. To be vulnerable is to peel back whatever protective measures you’ve applied to yourself and your life and be intimate in that exposure with someone who can make that sensitive moment unbearable or sublime. You place trust in their response, their own free will to choose you or not. In the revelation, you also choose to respect their reaction as their own and not demand the response you desire.

2. Can you tell us about a time when you were vulnerable in the workplace?

I enjoyed a great culture in my last position, that allowed me to be who I was in every sense. Also, it nurtured a safe environment where I could reveal my insecurities about project challenges, public speaking and conflict resolution, during some real tough times in my career with my manager.

3. What happened?

I was always heard and encouraged, provided sound advice whenever possible, and given a shoulder to lean on when I needed it, while given the respect of confidentiality in sharing sensitive subjects. I have been in very different cultures – through the years – that did not provide the same level of trust or follow through, so it was great.

” [Vulnerability] was a great catalyst for change in me “

4. Do you regret it?

Not at all! It was a great catalyst for change in me. as a professional who grew in confidence, was willing to take risks and make mistakes, knowing I had a team who had my back. You can’t put a price on that and how it affects your growth and your freedom to not just do your job but excel as a leader, as a person.

5. Nowadays, do you consider that being true to yourself and others is a sign of weakness/ vulnerability or strength? And why?

Definitely a sign of strength! Almost like a violent humility. In that, we are willing to open ourselves up to the potential negativity of others and have chosen not to judge them for their response, but to accept the choice of their free will, even as we seek to connect and reach understanding. It is one of the greatest expressions of intimacy, which is an odd thing to say we seek in the marketplace, but – nevertheless – an essential aspect of a connected culture.

6. How did your experience with vulnerability influence your current state of mind? Would you recommend others to talk about it?

It helped me understand just how important these cultural values are to me; to anyone who desires to not just initiate but also receive quality connectedness in all their relationships, while also determining which relationships are real enough to keep. I would highly recommend that people start opening up! If it’s a really hard thing, start with those closest to you, with whom you have created trust and safety. It becomes easier as you practice it.

7. If you can sum up in 1 word how you feel about your experience with vulnerability what would it be?

Liberating!

***

Christine Robinson can be reached via her LinkedIn profile.

You can contact/ follow Louise Mccauley and Andrada Anitei at any given moment, by following the links below:

Louise:      https://www.linkedin.com/in/louisecc/

Andradahttps://www.linkedin.com/in/andrada-anitei/

*The photos used in this article were provided by the rightful owner, with clear consent. Using them without prior agreement may be object of the copyright law. All rights reserved to Christine Robinson*

 

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#VulneRevolution Interview Series – ep. 08 – Prachi Mohan Srivastava, Storyteller


Understanding Vulnerability

Storytelling is a wonderful gift. However, when it’s combined with honesty, the owner can’t go wrong! Meet today’s beautiful woman.

***

Thank you very much for being part of our #VulneRevolution series!

We want to explore the topic of vulnerability openly and honestly. No judgement or innuendo should follow your feedback, therefore please do your best to answer the questions below honestly, as your help may mean the world to someone else.

If, at any given time, you may consider that you would like to withdraw yourself from this activity, please send us an email (anitei.andrada@gmail.com orlmccauley254@aol.com) within 2 days from the moment you provided the initial information.

As we would like to make sure the information reaches its purpose, you may consider the option of having images added to our story, as “a picture is worth a 1000 words”. However, if you would like to preserve your privacy and, upon your consent to do so, we can always make use of royalty free images on the internet.

Short Bio: Before answering the questions below, please take a moment to reflect upon the visibility you will have on the platform and if you would like us to use your true identity (preferably) or replace your name with initials or even a name at your convenience.

***

1. What is your interpretation of vulnerability?

I had a hard time understanding the term ‘Vulnerability’. But after having learnt about it, I think vulnerability is “being able to accept what we feel at certain moments“. We can’t deny what we are feeling inside and to suppress it; that is only going to make us suffer, later. I have people in my life who think that hiding – or simply skipping (not acknowledging) – the true feelings make them strong. But there is a difference between me and them: they don’t know the feeling of being true to themselves, the feeling of letting others know what’s in the heart, to be readable.

2. Can you tell us about a time when you were vulnerable in the workplace?

I don’t have experience of an actual workplace yet, but I have had incidents where I was vulnerable.

3. What happened?

I used to be very emotional and I still am. But now I have learned to understand the reason behind certain feelings. I had some “friends” who were not very mature. Since childhood, I had difficulties in finding friends, because nobody matched my emotional level.

 

“The ability to understand what we feel and why we feel it is a gift. “

I was called weak for feeling it all too much. One of my relatives told me: “If you continue like this, you’ll never survive in this world”. But I seem to be doing just fine today 🙂

Being vulnerable made my relationships better, because I acted right, at the right moment.

4. Do you regret it?

I think being vulnerable, at times, is good. It gives me strength and I don’t have to hide anymore. I never regretted it, especially when it came to important people and moments.

5. Nowadays, do you consider that being true to yourself and others is a sign of weakness/ vulnerability or strength? And why?

From what I know till now, I’ve met very nice people in life (of course exceptions are there). I’ve been natural and have tried to present myself the way I feel. But elders tell me: “The world is cruel, hide your weaknesses and show your strengths”. I don’t agree with hiding the weaknesses, because… What are weaknesses? We ourselves have labeled them as our weakness. If we say “We have no weaknesses”, then we don’t have any weaknesses!

6. How did your experience with vulnerability influence your current state of mind? Would you recommend others to talk about it?

Absolutely! See, we can’t hide our true feelings. They may be hidden at the moment, but will eventually build up and result in something intense. Everybody is vulnerable, at some point, and it really is okay to expose it. Being vulnerable made me understand many WHYs. The ability to understand what we feel and why we feel it is a gift. 

7. If you can sum up in 1 word how you feel about your experience with vulnerability what would it be?

Unapologetic!

 

“Being vulnerable made my relationships better, because I acted right, at the right moment.”

***

Prachi Mohan Srivastava can be reached via the below channels:

LinkedIn profile

Medium account

You can contact/ follow Louise Mccauley and Andrada Anitei at any given moment, by following the links below:

Louise:      https://www.linkedin.com/in/louisecc/

Andradahttps://www.linkedin.com/in/andrada-anitei/

*The photos used in this article were provided by the rightful owner, with clear consent. Using them without prior agreement may be object of the copyright law. All rights reserved to Prachi Mohan Srivastava*

 

Follow #VulneRevolution hashtag for weekly #PowerUp.

#VulneRevolution Interview Series – Ep. 07 – Eli Angote, Founder of TheBestNotary.net


Understanding Vulnerability

One of the brightest minds I have ever come across has stopped by to answer our vulnerability questions. Go through the brief answers, yet read between the lines…

***

Thank you very much for being part of our #VulneRevolution series!

We want to explore the topic of vulnerability openly and honestly. No judgement or innuendo should follow your feedback, therefore please do your best to answer the questions below honestly, as your help may mean the world to someone else.

If, at any given time, you may consider that you would like to withdraw yourself from this activity, please send us an email (anitei.andrada@gmail.com orlmccauley254@aol.com) within 2 days from the moment you provided the initial information.

As we would like to make sure the information reaches its purpose, you may consider the option of having images added to our story, as “a picture is worth a 1000 words”. However, if you would like to preserve your privacy and, upon your consent to do so, we can always make use of royalty free images on the internet.

Short Bio: Before answering the questions below, please take a moment to reflect upon the visibility you will have on the platform and if you would like us to use your true identity (preferably) or replace your name with initials or even a name at your convenience.

***

1. What is your interpretation of vulnerability?

The ability to let your heart show through your chest; to bare your truth when it comes to your weaknesses or what you truly desire.

2. Can you tell us about a time when you were vulnerable in the workplace?

When I told my team that I wasn’t always the outgoing, socially inclined person I am today.

3. What happened?

The team had been having trouble building rapport with our notaries and customers. So, I was trying to show them that relationship building is a skill which can be learned and that there is a method to the art and science.

” [I see vulnerability as] The ability to let your heart show through your chest! 

4. Do you regret it?

Not at all. It helped them realize that they too, one day, can have the same skills I have.

5. Nowadays, do you consider that being true to yourself and others is a sign of weakness/ vulnerability or strength? And why?

I think it’s a strength because it makes what I’m saying credible. If I’m only showing my abilities without the weaknesses, then whatever I’m saying doesn’t seem as genuine; because, as humans, we’re all weak and have areas we can improve upon.

6. How did your experience with vulnerability influence your current state of mind? Would you recommend others to talk about it?

It helped me understand that leadership is all about which is to show others that I’m just like them and to tell a story about how I overcame an obstacle. Vulnerability enhances credibility and deepens relationships.

7. If you can sum up in 1 word how you feel about your experience with vulnerability what would it be?

Liberating!

***

Eli Angote can be reached via the below channels:

LinkedIn profile

Website

You can contact/ follow Louise Mccauley and Andrada Anitei at any given moment, by following the links below:

Louise:      https://www.linkedin.com/in/louisecc/

Andradahttps://www.linkedin.com/in/andrada-anitei/

*The photos used in this article were provided by the rightful owner, with clear consent. Using them without prior agreement may be object of the copyright law. All rights reserved to Eli Angote*

 

Follow #VulneRevolution hashtag for weekly #PowerUp.

#VulneRevolution Interview Series – Ep. 06 – Upalparna Dey, Passionate Writer


Understanding Vulnerability

Keeping integrity, no matter what, is a great thing. Learn my guest’s opinion on vulnerability and integrity from the interview below.

***

Thank you very much for being part of our #VulneRevolution series!

We want to explore the topic of vulnerability openly and honestly. No judgement or innuendo should follow your feedback, therefore please do your best to answer the questions below honestly, as your help may mean the world to someone else.<>

If, at any given time, you may consider that you would like to withdraw yourself from this activity, please send us an email (anitei.andrada@gmail.com orlmccauley254@aol.com) within 2 days from the moment you provided the initial information.

As we would like to make sure the information reaches its purpose, you may consider the option of having images added to our story, as “a picture is worth a 1000 words”. However, if you would like to preserve your privacy and, upon your consent to do so, we can always make use of royalty free images on the internet.

Short Bio: Before answering the questions below, please take a moment to reflect upon the visibility you will have on the platform and if you would like us to use your true identity (preferably) or replace your name with initials or even a name at your convenience.

***

1. What is your interpretation of vulnerability?

I have always been told by many people that I am vulnerable. It’s not because of what people have perceived of me (I, anyways, do hardly bother to be defined by what people label me as). However, from an analysis over time, I have felt that I am vulnerable. I personally feel that I am an open book, and it is not difficult to read me. Anyone interacting with me for a while can read me well enough.

 

“Life is precious! Never, ever compromise it, by being dual faced!”

To answer that question in one straight line:

I am what I am – I am an open person – with a voice and a mind, who does not hesitate to open up with the fear of being attacked or harmed.

Having said that, being vulnerable has caused me enough danger in several stages of my life; I’ve been threatened at many points, due to various twists and turns. But that never changed my inherent trait. I never compromised being myself for the fear of being attacked.

I always trust people and situations on their face value. I never judge people at the first go. I always believe that time will speak for itself. I appear to myself and to people just the way I am. I accept myself, with my vulnerabilities. I have taken decisions which, at times, did not allow me the time to contemplate on them. Sometimes they [the decisions] worked and sometimes they didn’t – throwing me into trouble. But that is what life is all about.

We are not born astrologers. There are things that go beyond the fine lines of defined goals and we have to learn and practice to trust our inner voice.

2. Can you tell us about a time when you were vulnerable in the workplace?

Yes. Again, being who I am, is more than what some people can handle…

I had an experience at my workplace where I had opened myself up to people; and that, later on, was used as a weapon to take me down. It did affect me initially, but nothing can beat honesty! My seniors, reporting head & my boss eventually understood what had happened and stepped up to protect my integrity and valued my honesty.

3. What happened?

Due to the uncertainty of the job (with the attrition policies adopted by the company), I had a couple of nervous breakdowns. This was also triggered due to a negative personal issue I experienced at the same time.

I was hospitalized and was almost dying. I recovered from there, came back from the dead, had to run my own show: from running around between job possibilities, lawyers, doctors, police stations and don’t know what else. That led to a couple of leaves from the workplace and I confided in my seniors about the situation I was in.

A smart trap was laid out by some of my senior colleagues, with personal attacks, connecting them indirectly to my professional life.

 

“I never judge people at the first go (…) and I accept myself, with my vulnerabilities”

When the CEO of the company called me, I told him that – though it goes against my professional ethics to complain against anyone – I was going to resign, but not solely for professional reasons. The CEO was man enough to stand up against the activities and ensured that I get my due respect, not accepting my resignation and assigning me a senior job position.

4. Do you regret it?

Never! I never ever regret for being honest and for maintaining clarity!

5. Nowadays, do you consider that being true to yourself and others is a sign of weakness/ vulnerability or strength? And why?

No human should ever regret being honest and true. At the end of the day, one has to look into their own eyes and, even if they manage to escape others, there’s no way to escape themselves. “Honesty comes with a price tag” – people say – but I believe we should be strong and bold enough to pay the price tag, if any.

People will (mis)interpret honesty in their own ways, but we need to remember that we live our own lives, not those of others. It is only by living our own lives with honesty that we can look beyond fears, apprehensions, uncertainties and embrace and uplift others.

6. How did your experience with vulnerability influence your current state of mind? Would you recommend others to talk about it?

I am always vulnerable. I speak my mind up and express myself, without any hesitation. Yes, there have been many moments when I was apprehensive about being vulnerable, but I finally listened to my inner voice.

My current state of mind tells me one thing, among the many other things: “Life is precious! Never, ever compromise it, by being dual faced!”

 

“At the end of the day, one has to look into their own eyes and (…) there’s no way to escape themselves”

Definitely, we should learn to speak about ourselves, #goodbadugly. Just remember ONE thing: there’s nothing that can beat honesty and being clear to ourselves and others.

Life is just this one moment we have. And this one moment… Is ours! Live it by dropping your fears, pick up your weapons and fight your demons!

7. If you can sum up in 1 word how you feel about your experience with vulnerability what would it be?

Peace!

***

Upalparna Dey can be reached via her LinkedIn profile.

You can contact/ follow Louise Mccauley and Andrada Anitei at any given moment, by following the links below:

Louise:      https://www.linkedin.com/in/louisecc/

Andradahttps://www.linkedin.com/in/andrada-anitei/

*The photos used in this article were provided by the rightful owner, with clear consent. Using them without prior agreement may be object of the copyright law. All rights reserved to Upalparna Dey*

 

Follow #VulneRevolution hashtag for weekly #PowerUp.

#VulneRevolution Interview Series – Ep. 04 – Richard C. Pryor, Mindfulness guide


Understanding Vulnerability

Mindfulness is a wonderful and beneficial practice. Today, my guest is one of the best coaches in the field. Read his words and take notes…

***

Thank you very much for being part of our #VulneRevolution series!

We want to explore the topic of vulnerability openly and honestly. No judgement or innuendo should follow your feedback, therefore please do your best to answer the questions below honestly, as your help may mean the world to someone else.

If, at any given time, you may consider that you would like to withdraw yourself from this activity, please send us an email (anitei.andrada@gmail.com orlmccauley254@aol.com) within 2 days from the moment you provided the initial information.

As we would like to make sure the information reaches its purpose, you may consider the option of having images added to our story, as “a picture is worth a 1000 words”. However, if you would like to preserve your privacy and, upon your consent to do so, we can always make use of royalty free images on the internet.

Short Bio: Before answering the questions below, please take a moment to reflect upon the visibility you will have on the platform and if you would like us to use your true identity (preferably) or replace your name with initials or even a name at your convenience.

***

1. What is your interpretation of vulnerability?

Vulnerability, by my interpretation at least, is a misnomer. It is opening ourselves up to being hurt etc. But, the way we view this now in social media terms especially, is more akin to a strength. We are not opening ourselves up to new hurts, more, we are being brave and open in sharing our past struggles. Ones we have overcome, or ones we are facing now.

It’s taking on a new meaning in social media, and language; of course, is evolutionary in nature. So this new meaning for vulnerability is, in essence, being humble, brave, sharing our experiences, supporting each other.

2. Can you tell us about a time when you were vulnerable in the workplace?

Truthfully? No. I was not “vulnerable” when in the traditional workplace. I was a grafter, I just “got on with it”. Yeah, that old phrase – push, push, push!

Yes, a strong work ethic can be very helpful indeed! But if people crossed me, especially management… I was not big on vulnerability…(!) I was bigger on speaking my mind, usually powered by anxiety, which meant very little control over what I spoke in real terms.

That went well then…

Although on saying that, coming across as a live wire didn’t always end up badly; and I realize that sometimes you need to be resolute and stand your ground. The problem is, I tended to have little conscious control of my reactions.

3. What happened?

(See above)

4. Do you regret it?

Although it’s not about being vulnerable, yes, I do regret not having more conscious control of my reactions.

“I was vulnerable to my reactions, rather than being vulnerable from awareness. “

That’s the negative side of vulnerability, the unhealthy side.

Don’t get me wrong, I would stand by a lot of WHY I was angry, and I am not going to condone the actions of others, but neither am I going to condone my own reactions. I try, on reflection, to understand the relationship between both. And how the other person’s vulnerability to their OWN fears/patterns contributed to the situation.

That’s how you come to understand and how you can use empathy, in a more practical sense, rather than through consciousness itself and deeper awareness.

Even though it’s not the typical answer in regards to “vulnerability”, I hope the contrast here can help others to understand the nuances of how – like all things – understanding and reflection can serve you moving forward.

5. Nowadays, do you consider that being true to yourself and others is a sign of weakness/ vulnerability or strength? And why?

It’s a strength, there is no question about this; and what’s also important, is to understand what is being the true “you”, and what is simply “experience”. Are they one and the same? No. Certainly not. Especially with the question being measured by the definitions of “vulnerability”.

Sometimes, we can become identified with “being” the negative experience… “I feel xyz, this is me” – but that’s a dangerous place to be. Not one that I can encourage.

“I think it’s a good idea to ask ourselves, why are we sharing this, is this truly our true self, or just simply experience being personified?”

Are we sharing our “self” to maintain it, to seek sympathy for our being this way/that way? Or are we sharing, so that we may improve, become healthier of mind, show others it’s OK to talk and be open about it, to encourage one another, be supportive (show empathy etc.). The latter is healthy, the former simply further perpetuates the pain.

We GIVE those experiences identity and further power in over lives.

So…

  • What is our true self?
  • What is our true nature?
  • And are we sharing that aspect, or just simply a combination of experiences that have become part of our external “identity”?

They are deep questions… ones that you will not truly share your true “self” until you have addressed it; and, at that point, it’s not just a strength for you, it’s a strength for any person you come into contact with – who will FEEL and SENSE the presence that you bring. It will heighten your empathy, in a deeper feeling sense, rather than a logical sense.

CRITICAL POINT: THE MENTAL HEALTH ASPECT

Of course, I am writing this from my own perspective of now – with a greater, and deeper understanding. What is CRITICAL? If you believe you’re suffering from any kind of Mental Health issue, this isn’t the time to be “vulnerable”. As such, it is the time to seek help, because you are – quite probably – ALREADY vulnerable, but in a sense that you will not have as much control of which vulnerabilities are exposed. GET HELP! Do not allow ego, or fear, or anything to stop you getting help – either yourself, from therapists, coaches etc, (no one path is right for all).

You see, when I was in the grip of anxiety – I already WAS vulnerable!! Vulnerable to mistakes, vulnerable to my temper (as were others, but not physically I must stress!), vulnerable to stress, vulnerable to making extraordinarily poor judgments & decisions; and vulnerable to OTHERS’ actions, because I seldom had control of my own reactions.

“My vulnerability now is sharing that – but back then? I didn’t even know it!”

It’s becoming a bit trendy to be vulnerable. That, to me, is dangerous; because, for me there’s a HUGE difference between choosing to be – consciously – and using it to empower, share, empathize etc – and the vulnerability that unaided mental health issues can create. It’s not cool to have that as a badge of honor.

Become healthy first; then, be vulnerable from a position of strength, or – at very least – conscious awareness. Even if it’s just the beginning of the journey to recovery.

I don’t share what I do so that people stay locked in a mental prison. I share it in hopes they will escape it! Or, at leas,t find motivation enough to try…

So I’ll say this again: if you think you are struggling with Mental Health, DO NOT get trapped in it; and think, somehow, that this vulnerable revolution makes it a cool thing to have now (rather than a stigma) or something to identify AS – that is profoundly unhealthy for your mind!

SEEK OUT HELP!

Ask those who are sharing THEIR vulnerability in respect to how they cope, strategize, & support themselves THROUGH struggles.

It is important to differentiate this, in my opinion; otherwise, besides being vulnerable, we are all simply diving into each other’s misery ponds and going for a swim in a swamp of negative emotions – sometimes even holding each other in it! It’s surprisingly easily done.

“Rather than explaining what that swamp is, better help each other navigate a way OUT of it.”

Critical distinction !!!

6. How did your experience with vulnerability influence your current state of mind? Would you recommend others to talk about it?

My vulnerability began with my understanding that the stress and reactive nature of my experience was based on anxiety – the old “fight or flight” mechanism – that I’d always worn as a “creative temperament” moniker; and also realizing that I was allowing others to define me.

Making peace with this wasn’t easy… AT ALL. I’m not entirely sure I’ve fully made peace with it, still. Wounds/guilt can run deep. But this is a part of my being more vulnerable and how it influences my behavior now; in terms of my sharing (none of us are ever perfect) acceptance of this is crucial, without making it an excuse for us to exercise poor judgment.

It is also knowing exactly what anxiety etc is, how it works, what sets it off and, generally speaking, its delusional nature. Having to climb down from my ego perch, accept (after my internal protestations) that I wasn’t, in fact, just a bit hot-tempered and my mind wasn’t behaving particularly well…

“I had to become vulnerable to allow that realization to become a new direction.”

So it has almost ENTIRELY changed how I view Mental Health & Self-Realization.

So, my vulnerability – in terms of sharing (and, often misunderstood) – is the elucidating of my own inner reflections, so others can see what can happen, how I approach it, and how I view a transition from material/thought delusion, into a more peaceful & consciousness centered space of equilibrium. I am definitely an advocate of talking about it!

Reading this from me may shock some, especially given my occasional tendency to, well… “get in the trenches”; say “well”, say “ha-ha”!!

7. If you can sum up in 1 word how you feel about your experience with vulnerability what would it be?

Evolutionary.

To finish up this interview, firstly I want to thank you Louise & Andrada for starting this series, because – as we share our views/experiences and opinions – we can help each other develop stronger mental resilience. And, from everything I have observed, those people who are vulnerable in the context of this interview, have become some of the strongest people I have ever spoken to.

Why?

It’s simple – They had to be.

They had to make the choice, just as I did, to BE stronger; not externally – to others, not a facade, but internally – with depth and structure.

They had to:

a) FIRST AND FOREMOST: Be open and vulnerable to themselves!
b) Fully (or at least, partially) understand the nature of their struggles and suffering.
c) ACCEPT IT! (A crucial stage, seldom mentioned!)
d) Begin to overcome it!
e) Realize that not everyone will comprehend it, yet share their story anyway.

They have traversed those struggles, those doubts, those fears, so that vulnerability is now being expressed with fortitude. It doesn’t mean they’ve all gone away. It doesn’t mean they won’t come back. Vulnerability, in this context, is brave and courageous.

“Remember, being brave is not the absence of fear – it’s fearing and doing it anyway!”

So I express my foremost gratitude to all those stepping up right now, and helping heal the mental health of our world!

***

Richard C. Pryor can be reached via his LinkedIn profile.

You can contact/ follow Louise Mccauley and Andrada Anitei at any given moment, by following the links below:

Louise:      https://www.linkedin.com/in/louisecc/

Andradahttps://www.linkedin.com/in/andrada-anitei/

*The photos used in this article were provided by the rightful owner, with clear consent. Using them without prior agreement may be object of the copyright law. All rights reserved to Richard C. Pryor*

 

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