Vulnerability is the birthplace of growth.
Have you set a big and exciting goal for yourself?
This goal you are so passionate about achieving, are you willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, right?
I'm right there with you, dreaming away. Word by word, I'm plugging away at my dream of publishing a book.
But have you ever hit a roadblock because there is something you really DON'T want to do? This thing, whatever it is, stops you dead in your tracks because it makes you uncomfortable, right?
Me too. See, landing a book deal requires me to do a lot of things I don’t want to do and the resistance I meet has a voice:
This is all really scary and hard.
I don’t know what I am doing.
I am not good enough.
Why? Why am I even bothering to attempt this?
What was I thinking, setting this goal of mine.
I might fail.
I should just quit while I am ahead.
My rumination is powerful enough to stifle my dream, but I write on trusting the process always silences these voices of negativity in my mind.
I share because the message in my heart aches to be heard. Yes, it’s just an irrational urge that forces me to put my intimate thoughts on paper and push them out into the world; I consider it a calling. My calling doesn’t make sense, (I have no formal training as a writer) but I’m following it because writing brings me joy…
Sharing is an extremely vulnerable part of the writing process, and it once terrified me. In fact, I might have never started publishing my work if my words didn’t organically emerge in the world during a difficult experience.
I posted earlier this week about how adversity led to my positive transformation: failure motivated me to write, trauma gave me the courage I need to share, and loss inspired me to choose a positive narrative. Yet when I really think about these moments from postpartum anxiety to my son’s burn injury or pregnancy loss, they carry a common theme I notice is deeper than adversity: they shook me to the core and made me really vulnerable.
Enter my “aha” moment: That unease I have felt since the moment I first saw two blue lines on a stick; it’s vulnerability. Standing here as the more resilient woman I have become, I acknowledge this vulnerability motherhood forced upon me was my birthplace of growth.
Still, I avoid vulnerability like the plague. Taking risks leaves me susceptible to getting hurt, so it feels more natural to avoid things like failure, loss, and heartache all together.
Yet this dream of mine – it outshines my fear and nudges me to do forge ahead despite my discomfort. I liken this to how the joy of motherhood outweighed its struggle: I ended up with FOUR kids…..
Like motherhood, landing a book deal requires me to do things that either make me squirm (self-promotion), or I know nothing about (marketing and branding). I’ve been putting this off for months now but recently, I crossed paths with a marketing expert who is teaching me what I need to know. The irony in all of this is that I found her through something I did NOT want to do.
This thing I did not want to do is a writing workshop. A fledgling writer, the thought of submitting a piece of work to be critiqued by four other people was terrifying. I forced myself to commit to this writing workshop because just about every published author says this is a “must do” for success; I leaned into discomfort, and took a risk.
The reward has been infinite. I could go on and on here just about the benefit of these workshops to my growth as a writer but the point I am making here is about vulnerability.
Writing workshops are an act of vulnerability. Again, I am reminded, that vulnerability is a good thing and I tell myself,
Alicia, stop avoiding vulnerability.
Back to this marketing guru I connected with. The workshop process created a bond for us writers in a sacred space where we share the gift of writing and feedback. When she noticed I lacked wisdom in her area of expertise, she generously donated her time to help my hone in on my message.
Then she told me I needed to do a "sanity check" on the ideas we came up with before committing to one. This meant I needed to ask a group of people for their opinion on what I have no perfected yet. No, I did NOT want to do this sanity check of hers.
Enter resistance: My friends are busy and don’t have time to help me with my frivolous branding thing. Who really wants to read my work anyway? Why bother? These ideas are stupid. What am I spending my time on? I should just throw in the towel and go binge watch Netflix.
Vulnerability in this case is two fold, for I am needy ("I can't do this alone") and imperfect ("these are just rough ideas"). Still, I told those voices to take a hike and I sent out a sanity check email on Monday to a group of mom friends. The responses, feedback, support, and wisdom were so inspiring, I spent the rest of the week thinking:
Why? Why am I always so afraid to be vulnerable?
Granted, I tested my idea with a very safe group of women I know and trust, but I might fail to realize this dream shared with them. Now that they know about this goal, if I fail, I'll fall flat on my face in front of an audience...
I've actually done this before. Yes, when I was a dancer, I literally fell flat on my face.
This was my most embarrassing moment ever, and a bunch of my friends were in the audience watching this stumble of mine. They saw me fall, but you know what they also saw: I picked myself up and kept right on dancing.
I also lived not only to tell this tale, but to say it helped me grow.
This right here: my ability to pick myself up and keep going is what I'm good at, what I've studied and what I want to tell you about. My purpose is to remind you that we all fall sometimes, and when we do we need to just get up and keep on going....
Once you make that choice to move on, you'll grow. This, I promise you.
Now that I've told YOU about this book dream of mine too, I've forced myself deeper into vulnerability. I don't know where this writing of mine is headed, but I am certain that my fear of failure and perfectionism only holds me back.
I told my friends my tagline was:
“Adversity allows us an opportunity for growth.” A few said, make it stronger. One suggested,
“Adversity is the birthplace of growth.”
My branding process became a collaboration that has had me sifting through ideas all week. When I sat down to working through this Friday reflection I wanted to tell you about the gratitude I have for my friends and how asking for help inspired me to forge ahead with this dream of mine.
I might not have properly relayed my gratitude here because the theme of vulnerability emerged. For us moms, I think it's important to hash this one out because motherhood is a state of forced vulnerability. Vulnerability can be rewarding, but it's still hard and scary. How then do can we better manage vulnerability and become more resilient moms?
It appears vulnerability is what I have been writing about for years now, but it took me a sanity check and my girlfriends to figure out my point:
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of growth.”
These six words remind me of what I gained in everything I tried to avoid but also that I cannot do this on my own. This tagline I'll claim as mine, came to fruition because of the wisdom I received from my friends. I asked for help clarifying my message, and now I have a beautiful reminder that I must always remain humble and authentic to reach you with the stuff that matters.
I'm pretty sure this is this authentic voice is what you want to hear, right?
Now I'll ask you, what are your voices of resistance? What if the things you DO NOT want to do hold the keys to your success? I know...it's daunting.
I'm overwhelmed by it all too, but we're in this together: we've got this. One day, one word at a time...
Speaking of words, if you have followed mine all the way to the end of this long post, thanks for reading. This, the connection we've made right here is the greatest blessing I have found in vulnerability, and the reason I'll continue sharing stories on resilience and motherhood.