Confident Vulnerability

The combination of these two words might create confusion. How can you be confident and vulnerable at the same time? Perhaps the confusion comes from the way we were trained or limited to perceive confidence and vulnerability… It shapes a limiting belief, which perhaps stops us to shine as authentic leaders.

Let’s take a close look at confidence and vulnerability.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines confidence as:

  1. A feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something
  2. A feeling or belief that someone or something is good or has the ability to succeed at something
  3. A feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances

I would like to use the third one, because this “inner” perspective is where one’s own choice and power reside. What’s more important is to acknowledge and believe that confidence is something that comes from within and is, therefore, directly related to your attitude, energy, and consciousness.

Let’s take a close look at vulnerability. I came across Brene Brown’s research and extensive work on vulnerability in 2013 and was fascinated. Her findings gave me so much awareness and deeper understanding of self and brought a relief. I noticed that we in general tend to perceive vulnerability as a weakness. Have you ever asked yourself why? According to Brene Brown, seeing vulnerability as a weakness is a myth. She says “To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness…” After a decade of research she finds out that “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

 How come confidence and vulnerability go hand in hand? Partnership between “confidence” and “vulnerability” resides in interdependence. The first sentence of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey is, “Interdependence is a higher value than independence.” Is this really true? Being independent is a great quality! It means that you are self-sufficient, capable of working on your own without leaning on others. However, how can a person achieve great heights on their own? The truth is that one can only get to their top in cooperation with others. And that’s what makes us stronger.

Coming from a high level of consciousness, understanding who you are, acknowledging your strengths and embracing your weaknesses makes you confidently vulnerable. With confident vulnerability you are capable of creating thriving interdependent relationships.

As a result of her work with thousands of individuals and organizations DeAnna Murphy discovered something really interesting: The strongest leaders were not just vulnerable — they were confidently vulnerable. They understood who they were, what they could contribute, and how they could make a difference in others’ lives. They also understood what they were not, what they needed, and they strategically leveraged their own and others’ strengths to mitigate their weakness. This gave them the confidence to be vulnerable, to be open to others and allow them the chance to shine. “

 Elena Hinova, CPC, ELI-MP, CWDS

Executive Leadership Coach

+359 897 370371