Episode 112: ​​How to Get Vulnerable in Your Business (and why you need to!)

August 1, 2022

TODAY’S TOPIC MIGHT MAKE SOME OF YOU SQUIRM; not because it’s something that makes you uncomfortable, but because it might not sit well with everybody when we dig into it. 

For many of us, letting our guard down as leaders and showing our cards can feel really raw. But one of the most powerful skills you can develop as a leader (yes, it is a skill!) is vulnerability. And I don’t mean just any kind of vulnerability. Today we’re going to talk about what it looks like to have the right kind of vulnerability in leadership, what mistakes might be hurting your growth that you think are actually things that are serving you and your team and your business, and why it is such a tremendous struggle for so many of us. 


[2:33] Being Accessible Through Vulnerability

While I was preparing for this episode, I had to go searching for another word for vulnerability because I feel like it’s a bit overused and overplayed. 

When I looked at the synonyms for vulnerability, my mind went to “exposed” and “susceptible”, but what we’re going to talk about today is the idea of being accessible through vulnerability. Being vulnerable means being willing to share the process and the journey, willing to share the wisdom when you come out the other side of things, willing to bring the people in who deserve to be brought in, and understanding how that will serve your personal and business growth. 

So, I’m going to share a few things that I think will serve you in your leadership and in your business immensely and will help you to grow through the pain of being accessible and being vulnerable.

[4:48] Are You Coachable?

Are you coachable or is it too painful to let someone see the gaps in you? 

When we get to certain levels in business it’s easy to start to think that we are the ones that have to be the coach and can’t be coached, because to be coached would be to admit our faults and flaws. I struggled with this back in 2015, after hitting my biggest business milestone at the time- the million dollar mark in a year’s time. Straight after, I felt this pressure to be the million dollar earner, to be the one who told other people how to do it, and to not allow anyone in who could show me the way and how to improve and how to be better. 

Hitting a certain benchmark in your business does not make you a leader and it doesn’t mean that there’s not infinite miles of growth opportunity for you. You hit a business metric, get over it because there’s work to do. Realizing this changed everything for me. My walls didn’t come down immediately, I still struggled with that and I struggled with ego, but it was the beginning of those walls starting to crumble and me realizing that I was on a journey and that I had to stay open. 

So, you have to first ask yourself: “Am I truly being coachable? Or am I trying to put up some kind of front to keep me safe, to protect my ego, to protect me from pain?”

[12:16]  You Don’t Need to Share the Open Sore, But Share the Scab

The other thing is the idea that right now that’s being pushed in the world that being vulnerable just means airing your dirty laundry and oversharing.

But the truth is you don’t need to share the open sore, but share the scab. When you’re in the thick of the battle and you’re navigating it, it can get really ugly and you’re not obligated to share that with the world. But the wisdom comes from the scab, and you can share those lessons.

Now it’s different when you are leading a team and that open wound affects them or affects the business. There are ways that you can be vulnerable with your team to build that trust, to build more connections and to work together towards a brighter vision. You actually bring them into the fray to help solve the problem and work towards something better while still maintaining your poise and composure. You still cast that vision of how it will be better and capture those lessons and share them. As a leader you can share what is true while keeping that leadership posture and without that posture being some kind of facade. It’s sharing the truth, but it’s being steady and being willing to show up for those challenges.

[14:40]  Being Resilient 

Finally, the idea of always having to act like you’re perfect as a leader – that is a myth. Even the people you admire the most absolutely have weaknesses. They struggle, they face challenges, they’re navigating something hard. 

It’s all about resilience and how quickly you get back up and if you get back up. That transparency, that willingness to be honest with yourself and the people that matter in the equation is key if you are looking for growth. If you are seeking growth, but you’re unwilling to receive, you become inaccessible. And when you are not accessible, you’re not relatable anymore, you’re not touchable anymore and you’re not convincing anybody. 

[18:29]  Being a Leader in Your Home

And this applies in your home too. If you always put up a front that everything is always perfect, you kids might get the idea that the only way to lead is to perpetually have it all together. Now, as a parent, you don’t get the luxury of totally falling apart and just neglecting everything, but it’s okay to have your moments and to be able to communicate that with that same steadiness and composure.

Okay, I hope today’s episode helps you see that your growth and your next level is going to come through this channel of accessibility through vulnerability and that being a leader doesn’t mean being perfect.

And if this episode spoke to you, make sure to subscribe and leave us a review! Come connect with me on Instagram at @elizhartke! If there’s a topic, a question or a guest you want to hear on the show, just reach out and share that. We do this for you so the more you tell us, the more we can serve.


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