It was the strangest feeling walking into a room full of people I hadn't seen in almost 15 years since high school. Walking in the room you could feel the atmosphere rise to fever pitch. The show was on: Everyone's in their best outfit, telling their best holiday story, how great their spouse is, how excited they are about their job and you know what else.
Now I have a lot to be excited about and I'm pretty good at networking but yet if I'm honest I'm in a growth phase with my business and its exciting but its been rough. But this wasn't the time to be honest or dare I say it vulnerable. I know how to put on a good face like everything's fine.
I end up working the room and just listening to everyones story and it fascinates me. A room full of 80 people all with the greatest success stories but underneath it there isn't something right.
It got to the middle of the night and groups started to form and I ended up speaking with people I didn't get to hangout with much in high school. We did some light small talk I could see that there were a few who weren't in the mood to tell their amazing holiday story.
Something I was always told growing up was one of the greatest gifts you can give someone is the opportunity to be heard without judgement. I could hear my grandmother in that moment and I didn't want to say a word because I knew what it would mean. I said it anyway...
"Actually things kinda suck right now, I'm excited about a lot of things to come but right now it the process to growth sucks. How about you guys?"
Silence..."well whats going on then Jermaine" one person said. I shared what was going on and then like the start of a domino effect someone else said "actually today has sucked too and I wasn't going to come... what do you think of X?" The whole group was sharing, laughing and supporting each other. It was an amazing moment that saw some tears, deeper friendships brew and lots of bro hugs and number exchanges at the end.
I admit that moment could of gone either way but what was most important to me then was exercising my psychology around vulnerability. The more conditions you put on true honest moments the harder it becomes when you have to be honest. It doesn't have to be big and dramatic just respectfully honest to yourself.
That moment made me think about the next stage in my business and stepping into leadership. I realised I needed to make a choice today on the environment I want to create for others to thrive, feel supported, encouraged and be able to be real.
The biggest failure in my business would be to have a group of people having superficial conversations and relationships while suffering underneath with work and life.
We can often put conditions on when its ok to be vulnerable and I get it. Not everyone is trustworthy and not every situation is safe. Most don't fall into that category.
The challenge for us all who lead in any capacity, as parents, owners, managers, friends is to recognise the power we have in that one action.
Vulnerability is an action that breaks down dividing walls, takes the pressure off perfection, deepens connections and accelerates trust with those around you. Wouldn't you want more of those things for yourself and others?
If you want to be someone who is truly courageous that doesn't happen in the absence of difficulty...
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” - Brene Brown
Will I show up with conditions of when honesty and vulnerability is ok or will I show up leading from the place of strength through vulnerability knowing the power it has?
That's a choice I'll have to make daily. What will you choose?
If like me you're someone who cares deeply about serving at the highest level, you're responsible for the success, growth and relationships with key customers then lets talk. I want to help you achieve those growth and relationship goals that truly produce business changing results. Get connected to my customer growth email series HERE. You can start the process of learning a new framework of thinking to growth. www.jermaineedwards.com
Founder of the Key Account Hack System - New Key Account thinking that transforms customer relationships and creates predictable sales growth.