The Necessity of Vulnerability


Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a smart way to get through tough transitions in your life.

Key Takeaways

  • Vulnerability is a strength; not a weakness.
  • Many people, especially men, are conditioned to appear strong, independent and under control. Unfortunately when you fall, you fall hard with that approach.
  • People who aren’t afraid to network and ask for help when tough times hit, can more easily navigate transitions, financially or otherwise.

Do you ever think about a fireman on duty, a serviceman in combat, or policemen on the streets who make themselves vulnerable for the safety of us all? They’re putting themselves at risk and that’s the kind of vulnerability for which we’re glad to have folks willing to perform that kind of service for us.

But, we don’t often think about making ourselves vulnerable, especially men. We’re meant to, stay in control, to be strong and independent, as though we’re an island unto ourselves. Of course, this doesn’t work in most cases and when you fail and fall, you fall real hard.

So, when you’re going through really difficult transitions in life–the death of a spouse, a disability, losing a job that defined who you were throughout your life–these can really be crashing events for many people. I’ve found that the ones who get through these tough transitions the best are the ones who make themselves very vulnerable. They go out and ask for help and that can really make a big difference in the world.

The power of being vulnerable

I just saw an interview with Malala Yousafzai. If you recall, she is the 16 year-old Pakistani girl and education activist who got shot by the Taliban last year because she was out there fighting for a woman’s right to be educated. She wanted women to be free from the tyranny of ignorance and second class citizenship in her home country. Malala has such poise and such passion. But what struck me most about her was how vulnerable she made herself and how lucky she was to have survived. Today, you’d never know that this young woman had been shot. She’s just so engaging and puts herself out there all the time.

The power of being vulnerable

Malala’s story reminded me of some of our clients who are going through very difficult times in their lives. The smart ones just say, “Hey, I need help,” and they make themselves very vulnerable. It’s funny, because Americans have this cultural DNA that makes them want to help each other. After watching Hurricane Katrina or the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it’s amazing to see how everybody comes together and coalesces around their fellow man, their neighbor, the person down the street. It’s really what makes it easier for people to get through very difficult times in their lives.

We have seen this approach work successfully for folks to go out there and make themselves vulnerable right off the bat. They know they’re going to fail at something. But, failure and vulnerability also fosters creativity and innovation. And that takes place because you’re addressing things that have to be addressed anyway. And, the same thing happens when dealing with money issues. When folks don’t address areas of weakness, real dysfunctional things occur in which money is being overspent, or not being addressed, or really being handled dysfunctionally.

This happens because a person with money issues is not letting events and vulnerability to happen so they can get through tough issues. There’s just no way to avoid some of the difficult things that happen in life. The key is how you deal with them.

I think about all the people who have lost their jobs in recent years. It’s a tough blow. But, the ones who seem to be most successful at getting a new job are the ones who aren’t afraid to go out there and ask for help. They network with a lot of people. They’re making themselves vulnerable because they asking for help, but we look at that approach as being a little different. They’re saying, “Hey, it’s humility. I just need help from other people.”

This mindset speeds up the process and I just see people who are in transition get through tough times more smoothly than people who are afraid to show their vulnerability. It’s counterintuitive for many, but it really works well. Fortunately, there are a lot of folks around who really want to support us when we go through difficult transitions in life.

Conclusion

There is just something about life and money; how these things work back and forth and just help us get through tough times. So, when you’re out there and you’re going through difficult times, think about how you can allow yourself to be more vulnerable. That way more people show up, a team gets formed around you and there’s more creativity, more innovation and you move through the transition process a lot more cleanly and smoothly. If you or someone you know is going through a difficult life transition with financial issues involved, please don’t hesitate to call for help. So, until next time, enjoy. Gary

Coyle@coylefinancial.com | 1-800-480-7913