Let’s Do Vulnerability
Many women leaders want to protect their ego and take great steps to hide any hint of vulnerability.
No matter what happens, you want to have all the answers, ensure it is all figured out, avoid any criticism, and hide from naysayers. You believe the very slightest hint of vulnerability would cause others to see you as weak, so you avoid it at all cost.
Women- this is BS!
You should welcome vulnerability.
Before we discuss why you should invite vulnerability in your life. I want to evaluate the definition.
Vulnerability means you are capable of being physically or emotionally wounded: you are open to attack, damage or criticism.
I can hear you now. “Really? You want me to be vulnerable? This sounds painful! You want me to open myself up to emotional and physical attacks and criticisms?”
Why yes. I do.
The reality is, when women show vulnerability they:
- Show strength.
- Overcome barriers.
- Can achieve more than ever imagined.
Vulnerability correlates with strength, the ability to overcome obstacles, and high achievement.
Hear me out.
Every great leader relishes in vulnerability. The greatest leaders, experiencing high achievement, have the self-awareness that if they want to create change, start a movement, build an empire, establish a new service, or develop a new product they must be vulnerable.
Those women who have made a difference in our world and who have blazed new trails, have exposed themselves to vulnerability.
Let me share a story about Marie Curie.
Marie Curie became a world-renowned physicist during a time when women were not respected and weren’t regarded for these types of roles. She had to overcome adversity and be vulnerable to make a difference in the world of science.
Born in Poland, both of Curie’s parents were teachers and encouraged her to explore. When she was only 10, she already faced adversity with the loss of her mother, Bronislawa, to tuberculosis.
Her father was a math and physics instructor. Curie took after her father and his interests in physics. She had a bright and curious mind and excelled at school. But despite being a top student, Curie could not attend the male-only University of Warsaw.
She instead had to seek another route. She sought education in Warsaw’s “floating university,” a set of underground, informal classes held in secret.
Both Curie and her sister Bronya dreamed of going abroad to earn an official degree, but they lacked the financial resources to pay for more schooling. They did not allow this to hold them back.
Curie and Bronya worked out a deal to support one another to get their education. She would work to support Bronya while she was in school, and Bronya would return the favor after she completed her studies.
Curie finally made her way to Paris, enrolled at the Sorbonne, and threw herself into her studies. Yet again, she faced obstacles with little money to buy food or take care of her health.
Though it was not easy, in 1893, she completed her master’s degree in physics and earned another degree in mathematics the following year.
She met her husband Pierre Curie at Sorbonne. Together they began researching the separation of radium from radioactive residues. Their work and research with radioactivity earned them the Nobel Prize for Physics.
After her husband died in a sudden accident in 1906, grief stricken, Curie continued her career. She became a Professor of General Physics in the Faculty of Sciences, the first time a woman had held this position. She was also appointed Director of the Curie Laboratory in the Radium Institute of the University of Paris, founded in 1914.
She later earned a second Nobel Prize, this time in Chemistry for her work in isolating pure radium.
Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, in Physics, and later in Chemistry. She became the first person to claim Nobel honors twice. Her efforts with her husband Pierre led to the discovery of polonium and radium, and she championed the development of X-rays.
Marie Curie experienced obstacles, loss, criticism and adversity as a woman Scientist, but despite the naysayers, she was courageous and made a difference in the world of science. Curie, quiet, dignified and unassuming, was finally held in high esteem and admired for her work by scientists throughout the world and played with vulnerability all the way.
It is time to recognize that you must experience vulnerability to overcome adversity and create greatness.
I am not saying it is easy to be vulnerable. One of the most difficult things for women is to create, build and grow despite vulnerability. However, creating, building and growing with vulnerability is necessary for women to experience high achievement.
You will show strength, overcome barriers, and achieve more than you ever dreamed.
What area of your life do you need to be more vulnerable?
Read more in the Inspiring Women Magazine November Edition.