Now that is a word that I would often use about myself and how I interact with people. I’ve been told that because I’m not afraid to show my emotion and vulnerability that I inspire others and this is part of my strength in creating many wonderful meaningful relationships, not just with friends, but with colleagues and clients.
In my role as a coach this is so important and I am really comfortable with other people’s vulnerability and how to support them in this space. I pride myself on working with teams to help to create a safe space for people to open up to each other, create empathy and bring their best selves to what they do. I help everyone I coach to see their self-imposed barriers and to understand how to remove them.
So, the reason for this article.
Since I started my own coaching practice I knew that it would be really important to share my thoughts and perspective with the world, outside of the people I directly interact with. People want to know something more than a bio on a website about who they are choosing to work with. I know that writing is a powerful way to do this and to connect with people. In fact, I wouldn’t have found my own brilliant coach (Robbie Swale) if it hadn’t been for an article he published that resonated with me.
So, I need to start writing about my thoughts, emotions, dreams, the work I do, the work I want to do.
Yes, of course.
*Wipes sweat off brow
*Finds many other more important things to do other than write this, like logging expenses
What do I say?
Will people have any interest in anything I have to say?
What if it sounds overly sentimental/stupid/obvious/un-relatable?
What if I lose respect from people rather than gain it when they read my ramblings?
What if someone else has already written the same thing and I just haven’t seen it?
This has been my general state over the last few months every time I’ve even considered writing anything. I have lots of thoughts about what I would like to share and when I stare at a blank sheet I freeze and panic.
I can’t write about myself, it will be too raw. It will make me vulnerable.
Hah! There it is. Vulnerable.
To compound these feelings further around any thoughts of putting myself out there, a friend and colleague (Gillian Davis) asked me to guest on her podcast. I don’t think I even answered her. I probably mumbled something about, well what would I say? I would feel very vulnerable being put on the spot and expected to come up with something interesting to say.
There it is again.
Also, I decided to update my photographs on my website as I haven’t had a professional photo done for years. I found a wonderful photographer (Claudia Rocha) and arranged to have my photos taken.
I hardly slept the night before.
How ridiculous, I’m sure you are thinking.
I realised that my barrier when people take my photos taken is to pull a silly face. So you can’t see the real me. So that I’m not vulnerable to someone judging how I look because I’ve made sure that I don’t look good.
“Well how about that Kate?” (now you are just being sarcastic)
Vulnerable. Again and again.
Now, I want to be clear about something here. I can confidently create a workshop and stand in front of 30+ people to share information and help them gain insight into team behaviours and performance. I can go into a meeting with senior clients and create important, focussed and useful discussion and outcomes. I can challenge people I work with and for. I am a really good coach and the proudest advocate, supporter and empowerer of other people breaking through their self created barriers. My clients tell me how working with me has improved their confidence, removed anxiety and helped them move forward personally and in their work in ways they never expected. I will fight for people to be heard and have a voice.
So how can I do that and not just write an article?
In all of those situations I am presenting other people’s research, I am representing my teams or other people, I am not fighting for myself.
So although I am great at helping other people be vulnerable I’m not as good as I thought in doing it myself.
So my question to myself was, how on earth can I expect to empower other people to be vulnerable when I seem to be incapable of stepping fully into that myself?
My biggest barrier is me.
So I am publishing this article, I’ve agreed that I’m going to guest on the podcast and I’ve put my new pictures on my website. And I don’t look silly.
So as I hit the publish button I feel nauseous, but I know that this is a first step to breaking through my own barriers.