The Gift of Vulnerability
Solutions – Krishna C. Kalva
Whatever we experience has the power to teach us.
What comes to your mind when you think of vulnerability? We all have different thoughts and feelings associated with vulnerability when we experience it. Some may feel weak and insecure, and others liberated, i.e., the sense of all possible opportunity that happens when you allow yourself to lose control.
Whatever feeling we experience, it is unique and has the power to teach us something.
What Is Vulnerability?
Before we go any further let us first understand what vulnerability is. Some of the definitions we read are not so positive, and we tend to avoid experiencing it. Vulnerability in simple words is the quality of being easily hurt or attacked. It is a state of being open to injury or appearing as if you are.
Is being vulnerable a sign of weakness, or can we embrace it to become more skillful?
As we experience life, both positive and challenging events influence our minds and shape our thought processes. The way we associate with our thoughts offers a choice to be vulnerable or not.
One profound author said, “It takes courage to be vulnerable.”
The idea is to listen to the inner voice and remain present in the moment. By remaining present, we enter the space of awareness and can observe the thoughts as separate from us. In the space of awareness, we create a path to let the thoughts and energy pass through us instead of blocking or avoiding them.
We all do this many times without realizing it. For instance, when we are in a heated discussion. Suddenly you hear yourself thinking. “What is really happening here, why are we even having this discussion, is it really about something completely different than the topic we are talking about?”
This can be applied to both personal and professional lives. In the business world, as one indulges in various projects and interacts with stakeholders, the experiences are shaped through one’s thoughts and behaviors. What we experience on the outside may not always register as we intend to on the inside.
For example, a working professional who is perceived as extremely efficient in managing projects and very skilled at socially engaging with stakeholders may be an introvert or withdrawn on the inside. And the professional might have made a conscious choice to remain like that, which is fine.
However, in some cases where the chosen behavior is very far from the core behavior, the professional might be dealing with some unresolved emotions that could impact the quality of their lives. It is important to recognize these emotions and self-introspect why one feels and experiences the way they do.
As organizations are becoming global with diverse work-forces, it is important for leadership to consider the mental well-being of the workers. The idea is to create a forum based on trust and encourage professionals to openly share their thoughts, strong emotions and experiences that are inspiring or sometimes troubling.
The outcome of this exchange is to build compassion toward each one another, by entering the space of vulnerability and remaining present without being judgmental. By showing compassion toward the individual and situation, over time we become more skillful in feeling what we feel and transform to better handle our emotions.
I want to take your attention back to the original idea, vulnerability. Being vulnerable might be perceived as a sign of weakness, however it takes courage to admit being in that state and skillfully prepare to embrace the emotion underneath.
As professionals spend a major part of their working lives with colleagues and stakeholders, it is important for individuals and organizations to take care of the well-being of their workforce.
I must emphasize how important leadership is in this transformation phase. Leaders not only create a trusted environment, but they also role-model creating a culture that is compassionate and thrives on human values.
Let us join hands in creating a community that transforms us as individuals and organizations.
Krishna C. Kalva is learning solution manager at Siemens Healthineers. Email him