Leading with Vulnerability During Times of the Unknown
Anxiety is at a worldwide high right now as we face the unknown future and the effects of the Coronavirus. It has certainly been difficult for me to focus on being productive when the energy of the world is busy with fear and panic. I am pretty calm on the exterior but anxiety has a way of impacting the body and the mind sometimes without being explicit.
How are you feeling? How are you coping?
My journey with learning to love my deep obsession with vulnerability has been ongoing. I’m taking a creative writing class this semester as part of my self care practice. A few weeks ago, I presented a poem to class about the messiness of not being able to write, how I can’t seem to find the right words to express how I feel, and how much it hurts to feel honestly a bit incompetent in that regard.
What Vulnerability Teaches You
There is a strength and bravery in expressing how hard and messy it is to do things. This is vulnerability. It’s the thing we work ourselves up about to avoid looking imperfect. It’s a declaration of our humanity but also our resilience. My passion from poetry developed as a coping method for my emotions as a young kid dealing with the effects of a divorce I had no say in and no real way to make things better. I was always pretty introverted and bookish, but being able to create a new sort of language of speaking, even extending my writing practice to short stories and developing new characters who I could practice working through some of my largest life questions through continues to be an importance practice for me today.
I will say that because of this creative personal work, as I have grown older, I have struggled a bit with being fully present in the world. Simply because I’m so used to building new worlds and being able to change, erase, throw away and start all over, I get lost with trying to do this in the real world too. But there are no erasers in life really and things that have already been written tend to have a lasting impact on how the future of my story is framed.
As much as we can plan, there is still a massive amount of life that is unknown to us. We are both writers and characters in the stories of our lives walking through this real-time world and experiencing things for the first time. Some of these things, we could have never imagined on our own. Sometimes these things that seem to appear out of nowhere take a while to actually process. Sometimes it takes years. Sometimes we really don’t get the time at all but we still have to keep living. Sometimes they are amazing new discoveries and sometimes they are painful ones that change the way we view ourselves and the world.
Leading with Vulnerability
Vulnerability is something we all practice whether we recognize it or not.
I am learning not only that it’s okay to be vulnerable, but that there is immense power in leaning into it.
Leaning into vulnerability is what a lot of us are practicing right now as we do the explicit work in understanding people are hurting, those who are not operating under “typical” circumstances, and the inequities that people face that impact the way they work, learn, and live their lives. While there have always been people out in the world committed to doing this kind of community and social justice work, this is a unique time that we are doing this work together and all over the world.
Although we don’t know what is to come in the next few months and it is with great hope and faith that this virus will end soon, it is also important that we continue to lead with this vulernability as we plan for action on moving forward in the world. This pandemic may be over in some sense sometime soon, but its negative impacts won’t be. We shouldn’t let the positive impacts go either. We can build and expand what we’ve learned because we are now tooled with an even larger awareness of how important it is to care for others whose needs are both illustrated in ways we can see and in ways we cannot.
Here is to leading with vulnerability during this time of the unknown. May we be more willing to share with others, more willing to help, and softer with ourselves during this time and moving forward.