Over the last year I have noticed women who are seasoned in their career—successful in their competencies—are saying “something is missing for them.” They can’t articulate directly the present source of their anxiety or depression. They do say things like “I don’t know how to say 'no' to my colleagues or spouse." Or, they are puzzled about how to free up their time to just ponder aspirations for their future.
They aren’t sure what it would be like to own their vulnerability with the important people in their life. They worry that this vulnerability will create distance in their relationships or make them appear “weak.” Our cultural norm has spoken to the importance of “showing up as a strong woman not recognizing that what makes a strong woman is her ability to acknowledge her vulnerabilities.”
Often times it can be a first for women to talk about the fears that arise in their internal dialogue—the stories in their head. There is a “relief” that comes for women when they can “freely” address in the safety of my office the “negative internal statements” that continually recycle in their mind. This coming to terms with the internal dialogue opens the way for the real discussions about “the power of vulnerability” as emphasized by Brene Brown. She addresses this idea quite poignantly in her reference to Theodore Roosevelt’s speech delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, on April 23, 1910.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who err, who comes short again and again., because there is no effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deeds;; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. . . .
As women see how they can step into their vulnerability they begin to get clarity about the blocks that have prevented them from stepping into their current challenges. It’s as if a door has been opened for them to begin to know the internal “hints” or “nudges” that are leading them into new opportunities in their life.
I find great satisfaction in guiding women toward this new found path for themselves. It’s part of what I call “the work of Spirit.” And, as always I personally get enlightened by their journey.