Wingmen, Welcome to the program. I admire that you are willing and able to put yourself out there to support another man in his work and get support too. I encourage you to stoke the fire and keep checking in with your wingman. It can be about the weekend, anything that's up for you, or just a five minute check in. This month we’re going to jump right in and talk about Vulnerability. Yikes. Who actually, truly wants to get vulnerable? It’s uncomfortable, exposing and can bring up a lot of fear. You not only put yourself out there but you share something that truly affects you on a deeper level. You might think It could come back and bite you or now someone knows a hidden secret about you. And oh, how intimidating it can be to speak your truth when it’s not the most flattering thing in the world. But therein lies courage and freedom. You may have heard of Brene Brown a research professor at the University of Houston who does research on emotional topics. She has a well known Ted Talk on vulnerability and I encourage you to watch it. In it she talks about her own experience with vulnerability and what she found most compelling in her research. https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability/up-next?language=en In an interview with forbes Brown was asked about her thoughts on how society views vulnerability and how people typically respond to it: “The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I’m willing to show you. In you, it’s courage and daring. In me, it’s weakness.” Showing vulnerability ironically produces the opposite perception of what we fear (e.g. weak, insecure, or awkward). For example, sharing something from your childhood about how you were picked on might be very embarrassing but the person hearing it might have had a similar experience or have witnessed something similar and wish they had stepped up and stood up. It takes an immense amount of courage to speak to your vulnerability but people often end up feeling more connected and trusting toward you when you do. Shame is often a deterrent and can produce an immense amount of fear, as Brown has noted: “This is where shame comes into play. Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It’s tough to do that when we’re terrified about what people might see or think. When we’re fueled by the fear of what other people think or that gremlin that’s constantly whispering “You’re not good enough” in our ear, it’s tough to show up. We end up hustling for our worthiness rather than standing in it.” Taking on other people's judgment as well as your own will always stand in the way. The practice is owning what is there, feeling the fear and doing it anyway. On the other side is freedom, greater authenticity and deep self love. In my experience I have found vulnerability to be a source of strength. It can be extremely difficult to speak something that you’ve never said out loud to anyone. Sometimes I’m not ready quite yet even when I say I am. Sometimes it takes me several minutes. Sometimes I say it with a quivering voice. Sometimes it’s followed by tears. In the end, it’s extremely freeing and it doesn’t run interference in my life as much as it once did. I have found that I walk around a little lighter Doing it in a supportive environment makes it a little more bearable for example with my wingman, circle of eight or my men’s circle. When you have men who are willing to listen, not judge, and be with you after is incredibly bonding. As a result now you have brothers to help you carry that load, the burden is no longer just yours. And that’s powerful. Here are a few questions to help you explore vulnerability with your wingman. Please take ownership in this and do what feels right in the moment. Some of you may feel like you can broach it. For others of you the foundation isn’t quite there yet and that’s ok. This is a great place to start growing your foundation so you can have it when you’re ready. Questions:
What’s going really well in your life?
What’s not going well in your life?
What things in your life that are serving you?
What things in your life do you need to change?
What’s on your edge? What are you not willing to talk about right now?
I would encourage each of you ask these questions to your wingman in person or over the phone. It may be helpful to carve out some time to help create a small container or you can just fire them off without a lot of depth. Do what’s fitting for you. Wingman asking the question - it’s your time to listen without interruption and with caring, aware attention. And as always, if you need any support around this or the wingman program please reach out to me or Louie and we’d be more than willing to add some backup to the duo.