It is time to understand that you belong right here. You belong at the crossroads of imperfection and exposure. When we try new things and nudge ourselves into the space of "uncomfortable" we have the option of recoiling from the situation or, we have the option to jump right in. When we jump in we are given the opportunity to embrace this beautiful mess.
WARNING: This beautiful mess is an inevitable by-product of being human. Beware as it has side effects. The side effects can lead to empowering lessons and deep human connections. When holding tight to perfectionism we miss the gift of the human experience.
It is time to get vulnerable.
For so long I tried to get it right. I tried to grapple with the imperfections of parenthood, relationships, and a career. I kept teetering on the precipice of perceived perfection and utter failure. Instinctively I tried to protect myself from pain and judgment. After all who wants to be in pain and who wants to be judged?
I pretended to have it all together. When things got tough or unfamiliar, I would recoil to a space a familiarity. Friends, (insert unsolicited advice): ⬇
Familiarity Breeds Stagnancy.
I was stuck. I languished in this confined space of trying to be someone I was not, believing that this was the way to connect with other humans.
I started studying the works of Brene Brown and the lightbulb went off. Through the brilliant teachings of Brene Brown, I began to realize the veneer of perfection hindered me from living a wholehearted life. For years I believe that I had to hold onto this projection of a picture-perfect life. I believed that people connected with perfection. I believed no one wanted to hear my battle stories. People hungered for perfection? (I was clearly mistaken).
When I embraced vulnerability and exposed my not-so-fatal flaws I dipped my toe in the lesson of being human. I became the queen of sharing. Mind you, I did not over-share or give TMI. I knew I had a story. And I understood that the art of storytelling is the most powerful connector. With courageous trepidation, I started this journey of unmasking illusion and embracing my humanity.
And then the magic happened.
This is how Brene Brown changed my life.
1. This is where I engendered trust as a leader.
2. This is where I taught my children that it is ok to make mistakes.
3. This is where I empowered myself to live the life I always knew I was meant for.
This is the Brene Brown Effect*.
In Dr. Brown's talk at the University of Minnesota, she described the ways we try to sidestep the shaky feeling of vulnerability. We emotionally "armor up" each morning when we face the day to avoid feeling shame, anxiety, uncertainty, and fear. The particular armor changes from person to person, but it usually revolves around one of three methods: striving for perfection, numbing out, or disrupting joyful moments by "dress rehearsing tragedy" and imagining all the way that things could go wrong.
With a chokehold on protecting ourselves from pain, we avoid embarrassment, shame, and guilt. By holding onto this illusion of control we limit our potential.
When we embrace vulnerability, we are given gifts that tap into the essence of belonging. This is the foundation of the human experience.
We all want to belong to something that is inclusive of our passions and beliefs.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope empathy, accountability, and authenticity.”
- Brene Brown
The Brene Brown Effect is not unlike the butterfly effect theory. The butterfly effect theory states that when a butterfly moves its wings, it can cause a cyclone in another part of the world. It has become, in modern times, a metaphor for the existence of seemingly insignificant moments that alter history and the shape of destiny.
Brene Brown's teachings suggest that when we are at one with ourselves we become open to living wholeheartedly. My experience in lifting the veil of my perceived life allows a glimpse into the challenges I face daily. These challenges create a personal algorithm of support and connection with those who travel a similar path. When I understand my worth and forge my path in my truth, I connect with the people I am supposed to commune with.
* I know this to be powerful as I connect and grow my personal and professional ecosystem.