Is Vulnerability the New Confidence?

To be more authentically confident, what you really need is to be more authentically vulnerable. You might think that sounds crazy, but it really works!  Here’s how.

If you are like most people, you want to be more confident.  There are many ways to be more confident, but there’s one you’ve likely not considered: choose authentic vulnerability and multiply it with whatever confidence you have.  When you create synergy between these amazing opposing forces you find a new power source, one that awakens energy, deeper connections, and increased ability to call on your unknown potential.  In other words, Confident Vulnerability™, one of the lead indicators of Interdependent Leadership (the most effective leadership approach of our day).

Mareo McCracken, the renown revenue leader at Movemedical is an Interdependent Leader, and he describes operating with both confidence and vulnerability together like this:

“Trying to be more confident doesn’t work, especially in the moment. Confidence is not something you turn off and on. Being the most confident person in the room is not about never showing weakness. Confidence is something you feel because you are at peace with the person you have become. Confidence is knowing your actions are aligned with your beliefs and you control your reaction to every situation. True confidence is evident when your faults are open for everyone to see… yet you still take action.”   

This is not just true confidence.  It is true Confident Vulnerability.

There is a big difference between appearing confident and having authentic confidence, between feeling vulnerable and having authentic vulnerability.  The mountain-top power-poser, the one who appears to be so invulnerable, is often just a poser.  But authentic confidence paired with authentic vulnerability is courageous, risk-taking, and involves Unconditional Curiosity™ without judgment. It isn’t afraid of uncertainty and knows the probability of failure yet tries anyway.  Confident Vulnerability recognizes that you make mistakes and are flawed but also holds that you are amazing, capable, and worthy just the same.  It is anchored in knowing that your value is not tied to any external condition, scorecard, or validation.  It just is – and this knowledge is one reason you can be comfortable and confident as you also stand in authentic vulnerability.

Confident Vulnerability allows you to say to yourself: “I know what I am.  I know what I’m not.  Both are okay.”   It moors you in the quiet confidence felt through your strengths, while simultaneously holding weakness, mistakes, and failures as part of your beautiful humanness.  It reframes weakness as a different way to serve others (every bit as valuably as you can through your strengths), as long as you’re not afraid of your weakness, you open yourself, and let others inform your perspectives and support you where you are less strong.  Confident Vulnerability lifts others to feel their value as they serve you, and lets you stop judging yourself by the presence of weakness.  It also sends out a powerful sonar-like signal, one that reflects acceptance of whatever messy humanness you might encounter, one that deepens others’ trust in you and in themselves. 

It’s entirely possible that you might find a beautiful combination found in the tension of these opposites, one that leads directly to releasing the untapped potential within you and those around you.  It bypasses all negatively-conditioned neural networks because the compelling draw of this Confident Vulnerability is that it gives rise to the very best possible that is available to you.  It is a view that offers hope that the very vulnerability you are afraid of revealing also exposes your deepest capability and most brilliant untapped possibilities.  What if this were true?  What if you let yourself operate from this belief?  How would things be different?

You might find the simple miracle that Mitch Albom described in Tuesdays with Morrie:

“Have I told you about the tension of opposites? he says.

The tension of opposites?

Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else. Something hurts you, yet you know it shouldn’t. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should never take anything for granted.  A tension of opposites is like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle.

Sounds like a wrestling match, I say.

A wrestling match?  He laughs. Yes, you could describe life that way.

So which side wins, I ask?

Which side wins? He smiles at me, the crinkled eyes, the crooked teeth. Love wins. Love always wins.”

Morrie is right.  Love is the best ways to describe how Confident Vulnerability feels when you finally find it.

This article has been written by DeAnna Murphy – the founder and CEO of People Acuity and principal author of Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living and Choose to See You – in collaboration with People Acuity co-thought leaders, Lisa Gregory and Steve Jeffs. It includes excerpts from their soon-to-be released book on Interdependent Leadership.  DeAnna is a Top 100 Global Coaching Leader who has provided keynotes and leadership development experiences in 32 countries.  Learn more about Interdependent Leadership and download the new Interdependent Leadership eBook – at www.peopleacuity.com.