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Sunday, February 26, 2017

How to Lead With Authenticity

Once upon a time (okay, last week), I cried on a podcast.

We were talking about the big moments in our lives; and when I began to share about the moment my husband and I discovered we were pregnant, my voice cracked.

"Our world turned upside-down," I said. And I couldn't keep my emotions at bay.

Upon listening to the raw audio file, I almost asked my co-host to cut it. To strip it from the record. After all, who wants a high-pitched bird-voice chiming into their earbuds?

Not me. Cue all the eye rolls. Lock it up. Chin up. Stay strong.

And if you can't in a moment of weakness?

The solution is simple: cut the audio. Erase it. Pretend it never happened.

After all, you can't hold yourself to something that was never spoken out loud.

But in that moment, those emotions were real. I couldn't keep them together; I didn't even have the energy to try.

As I listened in later, I fell into panic mode. I forgot to clean up my act. I forgot to cover my tracks and breeze over a real-life moment.

Even it was the most truthful thing I had confessed that day – or in a long time.

There's a lot of buzz about vulnerability these days.

There are extremely smart women who give great Ted Talks about it. And who write magnificent books, and manifest great podcasts about the matter.

They encourage us to live with arms and thoughts open. To make ourselves available to empathy and to relinquish control for how others perceive us.

For many of us, yours truly included, this can be a difficult mountain to climb. Especially when your own standard of vulnerability isn't matched heart-for-heart.

Further, how vulnerable is too vulnerable? Do you open your heart up to a man you just started dating? Do you share with a friend you've only just met the month before about the demons of your past? Before trust is truly established?

Can you guard your heart while being truthful with your words, actions and your thoughts behind them?

This is a pretty gruesome and exhaustive place to start. 

Like anything, we can't reach expert-level without some practice. Without some hours clocked-in. Without stepping into the shallow end of vulnerability – authenticity – with the people around you.

Like most everything, someone has to start. Someone has to make the first move. Someone has to be the one in relationships (or podcast episodes) to start.

And it might as well be you. It might as well be me.

I don't anticipate crying in every podcast episode. Or laying out my deepest, darkest secrets in the form of blogs or other blips-by-night on the internet.

But I think, for now, I'm going to start practicing being content with leaving in the bits of my life and story that aren't curated in hopes to lead, in all things, with authenticity.

Perhaps, then a community of vulnerability will follow.


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