Stanford: The Power of Vulnerability

I’m okay. I’ll be fine. I’m always fine. I’ve grown so used to telling myself that I’m “creating” myself, that the past has no hold on me. I’m comfortable moving across countries, industries and roles. I’ve done it before. How hard can it be this time around?

But I’m shaken. I haven’t realized how comfortable I’d grown. I was sheltered; I’d built a home and family in London. The pace of life: the constant flood of energy, information, ideas at the GSB is overwhelming. I haven’t accounted for the transition to being a student again: I’m thrown by the volume of assignments and readings, the social scene, the career opportunities.

You will make your best friends in moments of vulnerability.

I tell myself I’m tough. I’m extroverted. I thrive on change and challenge. I go out every night, I’m vocal in class, I travel every weekend: I’m visible. I try and get to know 300 people in ten weeks. But I’m spinning. I’ve lost my center. I get so swept up in the wave that is life at the GSB, that I forget who I am, what I like, how I want to spend my time. No one told me that I can be lonely while constantly surrounded by people.

The first time I ask for help is when I truly begin to rediscover my feet. I build my community by admitting my mistakes, my flaws, my worst fears. Anything goes here. There is no need to hold back. I begin to see how much everyone around is struggling: in ways I can’t begin to guess or comprehend. I begin to see that showing weakness is a sign of strength.

You will make your best friends in moments of vulnerability. The GSB is a surprising place. You’re not okay. No one is okay. You can’t control everything that happens. But you will make friends in unexpected places, in unexpected ways. The best relationships will be the ones you could never have predicted. Take your time.