Showing Up As Vulnerable Me

 A word recently slid into my mind; vulnerability.

A big word for someone who is on holiday, but time is ticking. By August, I will be back in New Zealand. Jobless. Job-seeking. Job-creating.

And when I think of my career, I inevitably think of vulnerability. Because not having a job can be scary. So, I remind myself about the power of vulnerability and think, tick! I'm all over it.

But am I?

Yes, I have chosen to jump into new opportunities, from law to hiking to social enterprise. And yes, I have clearly put myself out there.

But every time I leap, I scramble to exude the aura of a slick career-shifter. Lately I have asked myself, why bother? Changing jobs is messy, bumpy, unique to each person.

Before I was hired as a hiking guide, I landed face-down in the dirt, covered in rejection letters from jobs I had visualised as My Next Leap. I hadn't told anyone about those other applications, or if I did, I would claim ambivalence.

I didn't want to appear vulnerable. Confiding in trusted friends on a regular basis would have hugely eased my internal stress during that time of turmoil. But instead, I wanted to appear to be merely leaping gracefully from one job to the next.

So as I face uncertainty again, I’m making a note to truly practice vulnerability.

And in doing so, another word creeps into my mind; self-love.

I see initiatives woven with self-love and think 'Wow, what awesome and important work these ladies are doing. However, I don't need what they offer. I'm already in on the secret of self-love.'

But am I?

Brene Brown talks about the "dig deep" button; the one where you push through that absolute exhaustion when there's too much to do and too little time.

I've pushed my "dig deep" button many times. One time that sticks in my mind is from my days as a corporate lawyer.

I was way out of my depth and on a looming deadline. I couldn't stand the stress, but I also couldn't stand the thought of asking for help. I pushed my "dig deep" button and worked through the night. It sucked. Like really sucked. I made a ton of mistakes and ended up exposing myself to far more misery than if I had sought help in the first place.

I learnt pushing the "dig deep" button without a solid measure of self-love is like skydiving without a parachute. It's just not going to work. I didn't take care of myself that night. I didn't listen to what my body needed (sleep), what my brain needed (external advice), or what my soul needed (self-forgiveness - for not being perfect).

I have since entered the world of social enterprise. The things I used to live by - rules, predictability and flawless execution - are regularly given the cold shoulder.

Instead, I embrace being out of control, the fun in failing, the importance of asking for help.

Perfection. Certainty. Self-sufficiency. These are ways of being that I am learning to move away from.

Vulnerability. Self-love. Intuition. These are ways of being that I am learning to move towards.

Anna Watson