You Are Unique. The World Needs More of YOU.

How will it change your life when you turn your greatest weaknesses into your greatest opportunities to make an enduring contribution to the world? You’ll stop walking around feeling shame and regret over the mistakes you’ve made. You’ll willingly share your real stories. You’ll help others find the courage to share theirs. You’ll accept and embrace that you are a unique human being and you’ll feel empowered to chart your own course in life. You will become a person of action.

Vulnerability is the magic formula that makes this all possible. That might sounds counter intuitive because of what others have taught you. The formal definition of vulnerability is , ”the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.” That sounds awful doesn’t it? Not many people would want to put themselves in that position. So, we don’t. We protect ourselves by hiding. We don’t share what scares us. We don’t share our struggles. We don’t share our failures. We pretend we have it together so people will think we are worthy of their respect.

I define vulnerability as:

Having the courage to look yourself in the mirror, and to be honest, and without judgment about who you see staring back at you

Vulnerability changes the narrative in your head from “My life is screwed up, therefore I am a screw up” to “Where I am right now is a necessary step on the journey into the future I will create with my choices.” Self- love and acceptance is the best defense against people who would do you emotional harm. People can only hurt you when they are confirming what you already believe about yourself.

Start by taking a fearless, judgment-free inventory of yourself. It’s time to break through the lies and rationalizations you’ve been telling yourself for so long. They are only holding you back. They are preventing you from connecting deeply with yourself and others. It’s not easy, but it is critical to developing self-awareness. Self-awareness is the conscious knowledge of your own character, feelings, motives, and desires. To put it simply, if you are lying to yourself then you are automatically lying to everyone else. For this one moment, lose the judgment — it has no place here. You can find a powerful exercise to guide you here.

You’re going to have to write down some things that make you uncomfortable or are hard to read. There’s something about seeing the truth in black and white. Things are harder to run from when they are staring you in the face. That’s OK because it’s time to stop running. Admitting the truth means taking ownership over your life. That ownership is the first step in creating something different. Not better. Not worse. Those are judgments. You will create something different.

From self-awareness flows self-mastery. Self-mastery is “the power to control & direct one’s actions, impulses, or emotions.” It means honestly assessing what you need to do and doing your best to get it done. Things won’t always work out. If they don’t then regroup and try again. When you love and accept yourself, you know that failure is a part of the human story. It’s not a damning indictment of you. It’s an opportunity to grow and to serve others by sharing the lessons you’ve learned.

You develop self-mastery by taking conscious and determined action. Review your self-inventory and look for the stories within. When you look at your life from different perspectives, and without judgment, you’ll find almost unlimited stories that have created the person you are today. In those stories are insights, wisdom, struggles, fear& victories. In those stories are the threads that bind you to others. Share them. Help someone else know he or she is not alone. The greatest gift you have to give to another human being is the gift of the real you. Isn’t that amazing to think about? You already possess everything you need to be of great service to the word. All you need is the courage to share it.

Embrace your uniqueness. There is no one else in the world like you and that’s something to celebrate. Reject stereotypes because they are nothing more than someone else’s opinion of the person you should be. Create the life your best life by pursuing your passions even if they seem unconventional. Be an example of a vulnerable, authentic and kind human being. The world needs more of you.

When you lay down your shield, you will become invincible.