Something really surprising happened to me this past week. It wasn't surprising because it was the first time, it was surprising because I'd never focused on it through this lens. All of a sudden, I became very aware that I had received no feedback on last week's post. As I sat in my living room working on this week's post, all I could think was, "Should I abandon this series of posts? Is this not relevant? Is this not interesting (or worse, not helpful) to those I serve?" Without too much effort, I became filled with self-doubt. All those feelings of, "Who I am to be writing about anything?" That moment when you question your knowledge, expertise, worth.
Dang it, I am 39 years old. I know a lot and have experienced a lot. Where was all of this coming from? I took a deep breath, summoned all of my courage and realized it was shame. Like the video that I posted last week - that overwhelming feeling of, "I'm not X enough." You know what I mean, right?
- "I could never be an Exec Board member, I'm not organized enough"
- "They wouldn't want me to invite them to have lunch, I'm not fun enough"
- "I shouldn't be a 'Big', I'm not good enough"
These are powerful messages that many live with every day. In watching the TED Talk, the primary research point that hit me was, People who know and feel they are worthy of love and belonging believe they are worthy of that love and belonging. Stay with me here for a moment. This means that you don't have to have all of your 'ish' together before you take on a project, help another, show up to a chapter meeting. Fraternity and sorority life are designed to be a 'Come As You Are' experience. We are all imperfect - and that's what makes us wonderful.
If we can create that kind of chapter - one that truly sets the stage that being real and being vulnerable is important, then change begins. Or, as my friend said it, "People feel they are enough and begin making better, more constructive decisions."
Last week, one of my favorite alums sent me a new TED Talk by Brené Brown... In it she stated,
"Vulnerability is not weakness.... Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage."