Powerful Performance and Vulnerability — linked?
It’s been an inspiring and productive few weeks having met some very ambitious people who want to make a difference with their business ideas.
Throughout all these connections, the question I keep asking myself is the same:
How do we all become brilliant performers given the endless mental diarrhoea, expectations, pressure and doubt?
In fact, how do we pitch and communicate our substance and genuine passion when there is that hammer of debilitating thought whacking our heads.. whack whack whack.. every second?
I have learned so so much from my many conversations and coaching sessions. And to try to distill what’s necessary to succeed down to it’s fundamental essence is hard.
But one resounding theme keeps coming up time and time again, and that is the necessary marriage between peak performance and the power of vulnerability.
The two are not mutually exclusive. Optimal performance is intrinsically related to our ability to be vulnerable.
Yet in this age of unrelenting perfectionism and happy-speak, we are led to believe that the two don’t sit well together.
In business, we are taught to be bullet proof, never vulnerable. There is a constant pressure to excel in all our endeavours and never show ‘weakness’. We must win the favour of our peers. We must impress. We must come across as strong. And we must rarely make a mistake for fear of what others might think. That mental hammer is hitting our heads but by god we are never going to show it.
And what happens?
We batten down the hatches and joylessly pitch and communicate from one business conversation to the next. We may hope to come across as powerful and slick, but we can actually sound flat. We find ourselves talking at people rather than to them, and we fail to inspire.
The irony is that true excellence comes from letting go of what people think of us and stepping into our own vulnerability. That’s when we can really rock it. When we are able to be authentic and real, we start to genuinely connect to others. We become more human and instantly more likeable. We inspire more people and we attract better business opportunities. It’s our humanity that people want, not our metrics and rehearsed spiel.
So next time you pitch an idea or present your business, can you dare to peel away a little of the corporate façade? Can you take a risk, drop the jargon and simply speak to your audience human-to-human? You still have to know your stuff, but can you actually relate? Can you dare to be real?
Some of the greatest orators of all time had the power to be vulnerable and relatable. They dared to share a genuine dream and a heartfelt vision for the future. Martin Luther King did this. Imagine speaking with that level of passion? You could literally move an entire nation of people.
Never underestimate the power of vulnerability. It is the birthplace of powerful progress.
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