This blog post serves as an invitation for readers to join me in exploring the challenges of leadership and embracing vulnerability. By sharing my own experiences and insights, I hope to create a space for meaningful dialogue and connection—a space where leaders can learn, grow, and support each other on their journeys.
A study by the Harvard Business Review revealed that humans are naturally wired to respond better to storytelling than most other forms of content sharing. It went on to say that when we engage with a story, it has an impact on our brain to promote the production of oxytocin, a hormone associated with trust. 1
As someone who is a visual processor, I used to think I was weird for interpreting information through visual analogies and metaphors. Later in life, the realization dawned on me that this is the approach Jesus uses; they just call it parables instead.
How do you process information? May I share a bit of a story about myself, coffee shop chats, and vulnerability? Keep reading. 😊
There is something interesting that happens when you wrap your hands around your favorite cup of coffee (or warm beverage of choice), settle into a comfortable chair, let out a sigh, and engage in substantive conversations with someone else.
Several years ago, Brene Brown gained distinct credibility by speaking to the importance of leaders embracing vulnerability in their relationships. What solidified this belief for so many was her years of research and validated data to support those claims.
I have also learned that informal settings, like a casual “coffee chat” possess a remarkable ability to quickly break through surface level niceties and expedite connections. Throughout the years, I’ve prioritized creating these opportunities with friends, colleagues, and even strangers. It allows us to ease into vulnerability and proves to be a powerful means of exploring life’s challenges. This created space is ripe for meaningful conversations with people who are open to exploring diverse viewpoints.
Unfortunately, we will often hide behind titles, positions, and artificial personas, driven by fear and insecurities, preventing our authentic selves to be revealed. This self-imposed camouflage traps us in the shadows of our challenges and inhibits our ability to attain our full potential as leaders.
My own journey revealed those old narratives of “fake it till you make it” and “never let them see you sweat” only served to keep me in that trap of darkness. It kept interactions on the surface, never getting to the richer understanding of one another that forms the basis of real connections and transformative experiences. It was unhealthy, unsustainable, and at times still challenges me to this day!
I am grateful for my unique journey of leadership and my own “road to Damascus” experience many years ago. This topic of vulnerability and leadership conversion has been explored during countless coffee conversations with various leaders. As we unveil more of our stories to each other, a path of learning and growth unfolds, empowering us to gather the courage to embrace the beauty and talents we have yet to share with the world.
So, I invite you to grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and tune in as we continue to delve beneath the surface to further explore the challenges leaders face when operating from the surface.