The Rewards of Vulnerability

Every time you take a chance, face a fear, question an old belief, and put yourself in a position of vulnerability you reap the greatest reward ever – the feeling of freedom and authentically living who you are. And if that isn’t enough, there is always a tangible reward that you hoped for but were afraid to expect.

Last week I wrote about the undercurrents of vulnerability when one goes back and reconnects to past ideas, dreams, patterns, and people. Last week I reconnected with my dream of being a presenter and motivational speaker. But to make all dreams a reality, it starts with the “first time.” For the first time in my life, I delivered a presentation and motivational talk on Compassion Fatigue to 50-60 people. One would think that as a teacher, presenting in front of a crowd of people is no big deal, but one would be wrong. As I told my students before I embarked on my journey, I would feel more comfortable presenting to them than a room full of adults because adults are more judgmental and much less forgiving than a room full of teenagers.

For the first time in my life I used technology in a presentation, a new program at that – power point. One would think that as a teacher I would be accustomed to using technology in my classes and that I would be well versed in the fine art of power point, but one would be wrong. I am a “motivational speaker” kind of teacher and every time I have tried to “jazz up” my classes with technology, something inevitably goes wrong. As for power point??? Because of its over use in the classroom, I have sat through more boring power point presentations than I care to acknowledge, so I never bothered to acquaint myself with the “finer” aspects of the program.

So picture this. It is 45 minutes before the presentation. I’ve basically been awake all night going through the presentation in my head. I’ve been up since the crack of dawn tweaking the power point presentation and praying it’ll work. I’m packed and I’ve got my suitcase in the car. All that’s left in the hotel room is what I need for the presentation. My nerves are well on edge. I am working through the checklist of things to have ready, what I am going to say, if I have everything. I’m shoring up my confidence as my inner cheerleader tells me that I will be fine, people will love the presentation, I am meant to be here, I can do this. I take one last look in the mirror, readjust my clothing a little, and split…there goes the seam of my pants!!! “Noooooo,” screams my head as I check to see if I heard correctly.

Yep. 45 minutes before I am to deliver the first presentation of my dreams; I split my pants.

What was interesting for me in that moment, was that my brain went immediately into problem solving mode and my inner cheerleader went to work on how to use this story in the presentation. My inner cheerleader also silenced my inner critic explaining that this is a sign from the Universe that the presentation is going to be a pant splitting one and people are going to love it!! And they did. So much so, that by Monday I received an email asking me to do another presentation to a group in Ottawa.

In Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly she says: “Daring greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage. In a world where scarcity and shame dominate and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. And, without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of feeling hurt. But as I look back on my own life and what Daring Greatly has meant to me, I can honestly say that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as believing that I’m standing on the outside of my life looking in and wondering what it would be like if I had the courage to show up and let myself be seen.”

Facing my fear and living my dream reinforced that every time I dare to be vulnerable, I leave the situation feeling free and proud to be me. And shortly thereafter there is always a reward leading to the next step in the dream to be me.

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