Vulnerable And Successful - really?
It takes courage to invite your family and friends to your premiere, you know the one where you have a sex scene and will be stark naked for all to see - yep, that's vulnerability.
It takes courage to return to a favourite dance class after coping with the death of a loved one, And, even though you're not quite sure how you're going to ‘spring back’ into action, you're heading there right now - that’s vulnerability.
It takes courage to write a play, get it funded, watch it being performed for the very first time, and have to wait with baited breath for the critics' reviews - that’s vulnerability.
How do you deal with vulnerability?
As the great, vulnerability and shame expert, Brene Brown says (and I’m going to reiterate and abbreviate *cough*) - you cannot talk about courage, daring greatly and confidence without talking about vulnerability. There I said it - but probably not the way Brene says it.
Vulnerability knocks on the door when you're about to show the world who you're meant to be. It wears many guises and can show up in all different kinds of ways. From that shallow feeling in your stomach that makes you want to hibernate, to that little niggle that you can easily dismiss and compartmentalise as fear.
However, vulnerability needs to be nurtured, brought into the light, examined and understood. Sometimes, you need to cradle it, make it a cup of tea even and dig deeper into the very reason for its arrival. When vulnerability has had a chance to unpack its suitcase and feel comfortable you can get to work cajoling with courage, bravery. fear and vulnerability to make your dream happen.
What to do when vulnerability shows up?
Vulnerability will show up in many ways for performers. From the genesis of a new idea, to the creation stage of a new piece of art and not forgetting the subtle feelings of 'not good enough' nerves on opening night. It’s like a puddle spoiling the pathway of who you are now, and, who you are likely to become when you find the courage to take action. When you’re creating and performing a new project, course, campaign or challenge, vulnerability will act like an unwelcome old friend that you just can’t quit. It’s the feeling one gets before explaining to loved ones about a passion project/brand new business for the first time. Or speaking to your partner about your finances as you may initially be bringing in less money to start off with. Asking for help can be an act of vulnerability- especially when asking people for help who never supported you and your performing career.
Vulnerability a way of relinquishing control and surrendering to the present moment
Your friend, courage will protect you. Becoming the perfect antidote to vulnerability just like a woollen sweater on a dark, winters morning. Without the empathy of courage, vulnerability would be stuck beneath the bedsheets shivering and daring to replay episodes of Jeremy Kyle over and over.
So, Here are three ways to cope with vulnerability and sTILL be successful….
1) Awareness - Keeping an emotion journal
Ask yourself the following questions...
Why am I feeling vulnerable right now?
Is this feeling connected to a past experience/emotion that is being triggered by this present event?
Am I feeling overwhelmed by a situation/person/experience?
Is there a pattern emerging?
2) Peoples' opinions don't mean shit
Other peoples' opinions are a projection of their own reality. Therefore, they are only seeing what they look for (or possess) within themselves. In 'Daring Greatly' written by my girl, Brene Brown, she talks about the 'arena' and the only other people who can have an opinion on the experience you are facing is the other gladiators in the arena with you getting marred by dirt, soaked in blood, sweat and tears.
The crowd, the watchers from the sidelines can have an opinion however, it shouldn't be held in high esteem. After all, what do they know about 'daring greatly'? Therefore, if they aren’t living your life and understanding the brevity of courage that is needed to fulfil the role that you have been given in this world, then they have no right to your response.
More importantly, it's vital that you take a deep breathe and step forward with courage. Your work is important and much needed. It's important that you show up, be seen, do the work and take action towards your dream. Gladiators take action with courage. The crowd sit and spectate - boring!
3) Authenticity - Be yourself, live your life with your head held high.
Most of the time, vulnerability shows up when we're called to step out of the comfort of our lives and step into another way of being. Resisting this change is like trying to get a river to flow in the opposite direction. Being someone who you weren't supposed to be is exhausting and catastrophic, not only to your future happiness, but to your personality and who you are becoming.
Be brave and take every step with conviction. You won't know all the answers all of the time. You may even have to make blind decisions as you go, however, it's vital that you make those decisions. It's important to make decisions that are right for you in that moment. 100% authentically yours. This career path you have chosen is absolutely magical and should be celebrated as well as pondered over.
Keep your head high, your dreams strong and your believe bulletproof.
It's your time to take action
It can be hard to put your head above the parapet and be the first. However, If not you, then who? If not now, then when? Only you have the unique perspective of the world to bring a character to life, write a song that touches millions, choreograph a spectacular piece of dance that heals and transforms the watcher. This is your calling, not your parents, not your old ballet teachers. Not even your partners - yours!
Stand up be counted and take the step forward with the courage and vulnerability to succeed. After all, if we aren't able to open up to our vulnerability, create courage and take the action step forward then success can never be the reward.
The question is...
Are you ready?
You're always stronger than fear.
Break a leg,