In Vulnerability

In my work, I get a version of this question very frequently:

“How do I ask for the thing I want without it seeming like that’s what I’m doing?”

In other words, people often want to be very cagey. They want to hide their motivations and shield their true intentions. And I must emphasize that they want to do this with intentions that are actually very pure and even noble. I don’t coach like, drug dealers or whatever.

I understand, of course. People don’t want to be vulnerable, and they equate “vulnerability” with other people knowing too much about them. But in that particular kind of “vulnerability,” there’s a ton of strength, value, and success.

There’s also toughness. You’re not really vulnerable at all just because you’re honest with someone about the fact that (for example) you want to start a non-profit to help teens find writing mentors or whatever and you don’t have any idea how to begin. It feels vulnerable to say that because in our modern lives, we’ve come to equate “awkward” with “vulnerable” and equate “unfamiliar” with “awkward.”

It’s only unfamiliar. And that’s most of life. All the things you want are unfamiliar. Of course they are; you don’t have them yet.

You aren’t vulnerable in the unfamiliar. You’re unassailable in your purpose. Honesty is your armor, ambition is your shield. Nothing can harm you for wearing more of it.

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