Getting Unstuck Begins with V

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So much of what we do at Flank 5 Academy involves community – authentic career community, at that. Building spaces like The Collective to have real conversations about what our Big Hairy Audicious Goals, our BHAGs, are or envisioning what our perfect day would look like in our career, not just for fun, but so that we can actually inch closer to it. We call it “getting warmer.”

Authentic community is analogous to honest community which is analogous to a “hot topic” in the world of work and career journeying in the pats few years:

Vulnerability.

Brené Brown may have made it OK to say – and helped us understand what it means (yes, even at work) but why it’s important is a little more nebulous.

In a recent episode of the podcast series Invisibilia titled The New Norm, the hosts profile workers on an oil rig who grew up hearing “If you feel emotion, swallow it” and “If you don’t know something, figure it out. Don’t ask.”

The oil workers came to understand that feeling things and sharing those feelings actually increases productivity and decreases accidents on the job. Because people grew more willing to ask for help. This vulnerability stuff is powerful.

Sree Sreenivasan, the first-ever chief digital officer at the Met, left his high-paying post recently due to cost-cutting measures. He recounts what happened next – how to do unemployment right – by profiling how he was vulnerable immediately following a.k.a. telling the truth about thoughts and feelings. He asked others for help and invitations to walk, go to events or connect for coffee.

And when he met with people, he experienced another benefit of vulnerability: He got to control the message, and tell his story.

“Sreenivasan, in one fell swoop, had taken a stressful and potentially embarrassing experience—the public loss of a high-profile position—and spun it into an opportunity.”

And you know how big we are on telling your story. What will you say?