When it comes to business we have been led to believe we can't be vulnerable, show our weaknesses or discuss our challenges. Most of us fundamentally believe if we show this side of ourselves, our clients, employees and partners won't want to work with us and our business will be seen as a failure.
This is completely and utterly untrue.
We live in a world where bravery is often only seen as a physical thing, such as jumping out of a plane or saving an injured wild animal. We forget that being vulnerable, where you are prepared to discuss your weaknesses and failure, is intensely brave and powerful.
Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you relationships are essential to business success and the strongest relationships are made when there is an emotional connection. This emotional connection can only be built with honesty, where two people are brave enough to share their stories of failure and success.
As Dr. Brené Brown says, "Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage... When we shut ourselves off from vulnerability, we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives and our work."
Being vulnerable in business doesn't mean you need to bare your soul and your deepest, darkest secrets. But it does mean you no longer have to pretend that everything in your business is fantastic, that you can (and should) share with others your challenges, failures, struggles and on the flip side your successes, delight and excitement.
Here's how you can bring more vulnerability into your business and in turn, build more meaningful relationships.
Believe in your stories
We live in a world where we are encouraged to compare ourselves to others. As soon as we do this, we start living smaller lives. We start thinking our stories are not as important as theirs. We need to have the confidence to know our stories are valid, no matter how big or small.
It takes courage to be vulnerable, but sharing your experiences and stories with others needs to come from a place of authenticity. Otherwise, you run the risk of achieving the opposite of what you want and actually put others off.
Be of service
It doesn't make sense to be vulnerable for the sake of it. We all have experiences that others might learn from in some way. It is these experiences and your learnings you should focus on sharing. Showing your vulnerability isn't always about you, it can be about how you can help others.
Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is also about giving yourself permission to be your true self and stepping from the shadows into the spotlight. When you are your true self you create deeper connections with people because you are speaking your truth and quite often it's their truth as well.
So go ahead, be brave and be vulnerable, who knows, it might just open a few more doors for your business.
Catriona Pollard is the author of From Unknown To Expert, a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as influencers in their field. www.unknowntoexpert.com
Catriona is also the director of CP Communications, which merges traditional PR tactics with cutting-edge social media strategies that engage consumers as well as business. www.cpcommunications.com.au