The Power of Vulnerability
Vulnerability. This is an essential element on the adventure of entrepreneurship, but so difficult to accept in a world that demands stoicism and strength. Especially as women, we're supposed to act as if we have it all together. And yet I'm sure I'm not alone when I admit that I experience many moments of doubt, of fear, and of wondering if I am making the right decisions.
Sitting with the raw nakedness of these emotions is scary, yet it is the very essence of what it means to be vulnerable.
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen. Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” - Brené Brown
Thanks to incredible work of Brené Brown, vulnerability is not a bad word anymore. Brené has paved a way where it is a bit easier to be vulnerable. And so in this post, I am going to allow myself to be seen. To "expose" myself, and revel my deepest, darkest truths as a business owner.
Last summer I seriously considered closing my business, Baylor Consulting. I had really good reasons for this:
- My company wasn't earning enough revenue to sustain me, and I had to take on a second job.
- I was a "one woman show" and unable to manage everything on my own (marketing, operations, admin, finance, etc.)
- was lonely. Sole entrepreneurship is such a solitary road, and I wanted a team to support me.
That is where I was last summer. In a dark hole with my business, with no obvious way out.
In those moments, it can be so easy to close off against the world and to see everything as a threat. There was a strong desire in me to "self protect" because I'd tried to partner with other women in the past and it hadn't worked out before. I did not desire to create that reality again.
And yet, I took a chance and got vulnerable.
How did I do this?
Well first, I got my own healing. I attended a personal development bootcamp in Houston that opened up so manynew possibilities and allowed me to start creating opportunities for myself and Baylor Consulting.
I also decided to trust someone with my truth.
Thanks to the power of online networking, I met a woman, Erica, who is also a business consultant. After looking at her LinkedIn profile and checking her credentials, I explained my business to her and decided to bring her onto a few of my projects. I'll admit, I was cautious and unsure of how things would go (hey, I have to be honest and vulnerable here). But I knew I needed to do things differently to create a different result.
The positive effects I experienced were immediate. I immediately had more bandwidth, handing certain client files to Erica while I focused on other aspects of the business. I saw an uptick in revenue. And my confidence in my business grew.
Now, here's the kicker.
Erica lives in Barcelona, Spain. (She's an American-born attorney married to a Spaniard).
I live in Austin, Texas.
We have never met face-to-face.
20 years ago, that might have sounded really strange. Today however, this phenomenon is more common than one would think.
I had so many doubts about working with Erica. I had a lot of questions. Could I really trust my goals and desires with someone who lives an ocean away? I felt so vulnerable, but instead of pushing the vulnerability away, I embraced it and kept walking forward.
In January, I invited Erica to join my firm as a partner and she accepted. I've created a dynamic duo and this summer is so much different than last summer:
- revenues are up for the year
- we have greatly expanded our service offering to better serve our clients
- we have been contacted by several large companies that are interested in developing strategic partnerships with Baylor Consulting
- we have scheduled a partner's retreat in the Canary Islands for later this year (hey, I might as well take advantage of the fact that my partner lives in Spain!)
I share this story because I know what it means to feel vulnerable as a business owner. I also know, that by riding the wave of vulnerability instead of closing off to it, amazing things can happen.
Believing in your success,