“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” — Brene Brown
When we talk about being brave, according to all the most current and relevant research we have, we’re talking about being vulnerable.
I know that’s not what you want to hear.
You want to tell the safe stories and the successful stories. Those aren’t nearly as effective as the ones that lay it all on the line.
Tell the story that makes you cry.
The stories that move people to tears — that make people want to follow you, listen to you, meet you, or give you money — are the stories that have hurt you. Deeply.
Tell your people about your depression.
About your loved one’s battle with Alzheimer’s.
About the struggle, without the triumphant ending, in which you fail miserably.
Let them see you, warts and all.
If it’s scary, you’re on the right track.
Tell people how you don’t have a single photo with your father, and so you photograph families all day long.
Tell people what the barrel of a shotgun tastes like.
Stop hiding. Let them see you. All of you.
Keep it relevant, sure. Keep it short, keep it from dripping with guilt or regret or sadness if it’s recent.
But tell the story that makes you cry. For all of us.
Because we deserve to see you as you are. We deserve to know why you do what you do, how it affects your work, and why you believe your work matters. We deserve to connect with you, not just throw money at you and walk away without having been touched by another human.
P.S. Fight the tyranny of The New.