Vulnerability makes you beautiful. Part 1 - The Awareness
As I write this piece, I feel the presence of my vulnerability. My instinct said to use the word beautiful, that's what I connected with, yet in my head I went crazy with questions - will people read this? Is 'beautiful' a professional word? Will it grab your attention? Is it too soft a word? Will it make me look silly?
As a human development expert, I was constantly looking at tools that could help me understand myself and my clients. I tried many and then chanced upon the Enneagram done by IEQ9 (a tool I actively use in my DesignYou program); and my ennea profile brought the word "Vulnerability" to my awareness.
I realized I had spent my life running away from vulnerability. Most people do, but people like me, an 'Ennea 8', seem to be champions at it!
Thinking back, my race against vulnerability started in school. A boarding school where, as a 9 year old, I desperately wanted to fit in. Gifted with a loud voice and a brazen nature, I soon numbed my fear, got louder and started the addition of an 'I don't care' to my repertoire of strategies - strategies to beat vulnerability.
As life went on, I had many opportunities to hone and perfect these strategies. A few broken hearts with boyfriends, shaky family relationships, a rocky start to a fabulous career and a disastrous marriage to a narcissist, which, over 16 years, elevated my vulnerabilities to an insurmountable level, I used every strategy in the book and then some. I was at my inauthentic best !
Out to prove that I didn't care and that I could do it on my own, I exploited my 'beat the vulnerability' tool kit and surged ahead in life. My strategies had worked! I found myself in the boardrooms of the biggest multinationals, with heads of state, government advisory, my ex-husband was known as "Triptta's husband" and I reveled in it. I had a reputation of a woman with "balls of steel". I loved it!
It was Diwali of 2008, when the realization that I didn't have 'balls of steel', but rather had built 'walls of steel' around me, started to come to the fore. I was too prosperous for my family - I knew it all, I didn't have friends, I had admirers and clients. I had a successful career, but I wasn't a successful mother, daughter, wife, friend or even an authentic leader. I was a great strategist, and a very efficient manager.
My strategies to overcome vulnerabilities had failed. The learning that accepting vulnerability and being vulnerable was my route to connection was yet to come. 3 years ago I stumbled on an awesome talk by Dr. Brene Brown on TED talks (you can check it out here). It encapsulates my discovery, trysts, and journey with this word.
It has been 12 years since my epiphany and I feel I still grapple with it, albeit a lot less. I was strong then, but I am building on my courage now!
The real 'masala' of the 'how', my trials and errors, to come in my next blog.
With love, Triptta