This is going to polarize people. I have had this discussion with a lot of friends and there are two decidedly different camps when it comes to being vulnerable. I have friends that say keeping to yourself is safe and opening up is dangerous.
It is my belief that EVERYTHING good in my life I owe to my vulnerability. Yeah, its a pretty bold claim, but bear with me.
In all my successful relationships, I took the chance and opened up. They work because I give without a guarantee of success… because I go out on that limb, and trust in people, I am rewarded with that trust re-payed. That continues to strengthen and build those relationships.
I those relationships that didn’t work out – it normally comes down to someone being unable or unwilling to be vulnerable that leads to the breakdown.
It is no different in business. The reason I have loyal clients is that I am a loyal vendor. Actually, it is more than that – it is because I am a loyal friend first and foremost. I simply do business with friends and distance myself from business relationships that do not afford that sort of growth. I have (and will continue to) walked away from seemingly lucrative business arrangements if there was no sharing or friendship involved.
Those who have known me for years have called me “a good listener” and “someone you can tell anything to.” I didn’t sit down one day and decide to become a good listener. People open up to me and tell me things “they wouldn’t tell their closest friend” because I do the same. I am an open book.
My wife has told me in the past that I am an “over sharer” and maybe it is more than most people feel comfortable sharing, but its me. I am wired that way. (at least I am now.)
As a brash young man (who knew everything and was quick to let you know) I kept my cards close to the vest lest someone use that information to get the better of me. I matured and learned that this behavior limited my opportunities and growth.
When I stopped worrying about my “image” or what people thought of me and really settled in to loving who I am, it became easy to share. From there it was a domino effect.
When you open up and share with people, there is a rush of oxytocin (and that feels excellent) that reinforces the behavior in you as well as the other person. It then causes them to feel at ease sharing with you… it’s like some hippie drugfest of sharing, caring and getting wasted on oxy.
My signoff on my audio and video shows for more than a decade has been “until next time, I’m Chris Doelle reminding you… to keep it real!” Vulnerability is real. Sharing is real. Honesty is real.
This is probably one of the biggest reasons for my general state of happiness – my connections to people. If you are having a problem finding something to be happy about, try it. Find someone and share something about yourself that you normally would keep inside. Watch what happens. (and then tell me about it.)
by Chris Doelle
some of my other posts about happiness ( I seem to write about this subject alot)
- Happiness is – a walk in the park (Oct 2007)
- Life is good if you look for it (Jan 2015)
- It is not that which other do for us that makes up happy; it is that which we do for others (Dec 2013)
- Happiness is not a function of the things you own, but rather, the experiences you share and the people you surround yourself with! (Apr 2010)
- In defense of butterflies (May 2009)
- What is happiness? Glad you asked (Oct 2004)