The ‘V’ word, yes I am talking vulnerable, is uncomfortable for many. Yet when we allow ourselves to feel it, be it – it’s highly rewarding. It gives us a reset, a measure of courage and growth. Being vulnerable at any age is something we inherently fear. It’s not a natural state and something in our bodies react when the brain sends that message.
As I get older, arguably more mature and willing to accept that being vulnerable is a part of knowing myself much better, I reflect on the times I have asked for support. My own blocks coming from my cultural upbringing – a double whammy – born and raised in the West Indies and with Asian parents steeped in “don’t air dirty laundry”.
At 40 and running a successful business in SE Asia, I was surrounded by corporate solders and primarily male decision-makers who were the clients. It was rare that I could allow myself moments of vulnerability. I felt compelled to do it all without showing the human side of making mistakes or asking for help. In fact, self-care was completely foreign to me until 15 years ago. Something flipped, however, as I hit the mid 40s. The light switch went on and I scrutinized myself as well as the people in my life.
I asked myself how I had achieved and built on successes over the past four decades. Importantly, how did I recover from failures that I had made along the way?
My friends and an amazing network of people who have supported my life and my decisions in generous, selfless ways…they had provided a powerful mesh of strength and resolve for me.
As difficult as it may feel sometimes, vulnerability serves a vital role in life. It brings us closer to humility, checks our egos and taps our inner critic ever so sternly on the nose! Now in my glorious 50s, I am being vulnerable and opening my heart to someone. It’s damn scary but I am committing to be brave.
Look around you and acknowledge the wonderful people who have been on your team. Being able to share our humanness with each other is priceless – over an impromptu conversation, a warm meal, a glass of wine, a cuppa, or a scheduled mentorship session, we rely on each other to see our successes and failures in relation to the growth and learning they give us.
Karen was born in Guyana to immigrant parents. She was raised in a West Indian environment – a culture of harsh truths, no-nonsense parenting, and brutish competition at all levels from the playground to the classroom. Recognizing her strength early as a young woman to look at situations from an impartial viewpoint and her ability to be straightforward and honest, Karen worked towards a fulfilling and resonant life from marketing communication roles to becoming a successful entrepreneur and a published author.
Karen lives in Vancouver, Canada. She embodies and advocates living a larger and fulfilling life through her work impacting inclusion for the growing immigrant population. Karen provides coaching and mentorship for private clients internationally, entrepreneurs, startups & business students at the University of British Columbia (UBC), and through non-profit organizations in the Vancouver area.
Check out Karen’s book Go Beyond Resilience
Contact Karen at https://www.coachkmentorship.com