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Why Being Vulnerable is Good For Business

September 7, 2010

Last week I stood up in front of 50 business leaders and spoke, in excruciating detail, about one of my biggest failures of the last few months. Then we broke for an excellent dinner.

The crowd I addressed that evening was a group of leaders gathered for a dinner-discussion event sponsored by my friends at A New Equilibrium, exploring the subject of “How the Best Leaders Respond to Negative Events.

And what better way to kick it off, than to tell everyone about my epic fail?

Everyone loves a good failure – especially when it belongs to someone else. Probably because it reminds us we are not alone in our terror, and our situation is really not so bad after all. It diminishes the power the threat of failure can hold over us.

After dinner, I finished the story with a happy ending and a lesson on the paradoxical benefits of surrendering our business challenges to God. By consciously letting go of our fear, anxieties and anger, I told them, we usually get a better outcome.

Then we asked everyone to break up into smaller groups of three’s and four’s to talk about their own negative experiences at work, and how they could better manage these challenges by applying the same spiritual discipline.

I was astounded by the immediacy and depth of personal transparency people were sharing with their new friends. The failures were flying all around the room, like the air had just been let out of fifty fat balloons, in a buzz of heartfelt conversation. We could hardly pull them back together in time to close out the restaurant.

To continue reading, click here to head over to my post over at The High Calling Blogs.

Photo by Quinn Dombrowski.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2010 12:55 pm

    heading over to hcb…

  2. September 7, 2010 5:05 pm

    Great post Bradley. I left a comment over at HCB too, but just wanted to give you some love on your own site. 🙂

    I was converting a bunch of old CDs to mp3s last night, and one of them was Amy Grant’s collection CD. There’s a song called All I Ever Have to Be on it, and part of the lyrics says:

    Then you gently re-remind me
    That you’ve made me from the first,
    And the more I try to be the best
    The more I get the worst.

    And I realize the good in me,
    Is only there because of who you are.

    We need to learn to just be who we are – failures, scars, and all. It’s when we try to hide them and be more than we are that we run into trouble.

    • September 9, 2010 5:02 am

      Oh no! Another middle-aged man listening to Amy Grant tunes from the 80’s? Me too! Seriously, I still listen to that “classic” Christian music from those days, with no shame. How’s that for being vulnerable?

      And yes, it’s a good song.

  3. September 8, 2010 2:23 pm

    “Everyone loves a good failure – especially when it belongs to someone else. Probably because it reminds us we are not alone in our terror, and our situation is really not so bad after all. It diminishes the power the threat of failure can hold over us.”

    This is so true.

  4. Paul Hoyt permalink
    September 8, 2010 7:38 pm

    Brad, loved the post. Thanks for the challenge!

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