Most people talk about keys like steps. Use this tactic and unlock that reward. Well in this case, we’re talking about a pretty literal key here.
As in you’re going to have to penetrate your own psyche with it, twist the knife *I mean key!* and then (and only then) unlock your greatest reservoir of writing awesomeness. Luckily it comes with other rewards too…
In a writer’s life, what I’m about to share with you will:
In fact, just to give you an idea of the possibilities here, consider this:
Today’s revelation made a waitress cry and feel hope for the first time in a life riddled with violence and poverty. In a group of single mothers whose boyfriends are in and out of prison – even for one who’d been to prison herself – while struggling against a life without education or support from anyone who understands… these women are finding hope and joy in the place they least expected it.
So too, writers, thought leaders, big brands and even some government officials are finding that the answer to a life of success, joy and legacy requires a character trait most people spend their whole life running away from…
The answer many are finding for success, joy and connection is in vulnerability.
Because it sets us free. It breaks us down and carves us wide open. And while initial vulnerability can hurt, it also simultaneously heals. If you let it.
But that’s a hard pill to swallow isn’t it? Is a potent key to great writing worth personal suffering? Well I say no it isn’t. But it IS worth personal healing.
And hey, I get it. At first, vulnerability felt like a nasty word to me. It was something to avoid because it triggered feelings of shame, fear, and disconnection. Not to mention all the emotions I was unconsciously stacking on top of vulnerability… so it also felt like anger, betrayal, anxiety and judgment.
It meant being weak, being taken advantage of, and not being strong enough.
Yet researcher Brené Brown, PhD. has made studying courage and vulnerability her life’s work – first to disprove the value of vulnerability… and then to embrace and encourage it.
Why? Because she found that vulnerability was the singular thing that differentiated happy people from unhappy people, and that embracing it can lead to authentic happiness – because embracing it allows us to feel truly worthy.
In one of her TEDTalks, she says:
The only difference between people who felt worthy, and those who didn’t, was that those who felt worthy were able to be vulnerable. They believed that what made them vulnerable also made them beautiful. They knew it was necessary and were willing to risk loving, being authentic, and giving of themselves… when there were no guarantees.
In theory it all sounds nice, but if vulnerability is so great, why is it so hard? Why should we bother?
Most of us involuntarily experience vulnerability when life breaks us open, or when another attacks or harms us. So feeling vulnerable doesn’t always feel good. We might then begin to associate it with feeling ashamed, weak and not good enough, and eventually we begin to fear and avoid it as a way to stay safe and in control.
The problem isn’t with vulnerability though. It’s with being forced into a state we haven’t chosen. Some of us have never experienced this state by choice, and so we’ve never known vulnerability without all the nasty stuff thrown in on top of it.
This wouldn’t be so bad except that when we avoid vulnerability, we cut ourselves off from life and all basic emotion – the good stuff and the bad. This is because the only way to stop feeling vulnerable is to numb it. Unfortunately, we can’t selectively numb emotion. When you do away with any of the nasties like shame or anger, you have to chuck out the whole bunch.
So when we numb vulnerability, we also numb joy. We numb gratitude. We numb happiness and love.
This is why stepping into vulnerability is the great leap toward a writer’s success. We’re flipping our switch back on!
Yes it’s true, opening up to vulnerability can at first open us back up to the tough stuff, the reasons we shut down in the first place. But to let happiness and joy back into life, we have to allow the rest of it too.
To master the ability to evoke emotion in others, we must know and traverse the emotions within ourselves.
So here’s an exercise designed for writers that will help you not only step into vulnerability, but also connect more deeply with that vulnerability inherent in your audience.
This will help you develop more compassion in your writing as well as help you nail that emotional experience for your reader so that she becomes magnetized toward your writing. So that she feels the very emotion you’re cultivating in your copy, and so that even as you educate her to wonderful buying opportunities – you’re also transforming and healing her in that wonderful communion between writer and reader…
You can do this exercise as…
I find that when writing full-time 8+ hours a day, sometimes I don’t want to do any introspective self-awareness processes like this in writing. Other times, writing will be the best way I can process! So just go with your gut and do whatever feels right for you in this moment.
Our 60-day challenge is now over, so I have removed the explanation and details from this post. Thank you to the thousands of you who participated and I hope to do another one again! (just keeping this note here for context in case anyone new reads all these comments below saying “I’m in” for the challenge!)
Yes, yes, yes. To this wonderfully clear article I can add vulnerability is big, but not quite archetypal. The archetypal expression is receptivity. Vulnerability is a kind of a subset of receptivity. I learned this from Bertrand Babinet.
What can we do to increase receptivity-vulnerability? The Law of Rumi says: address your blocks and obstacles to what you wish more of.
Receptivity-vulnerability is 100% invisible. For individuals, self-muscle-testing is the easiest, cheapest, best way to measure invisibles.
Start down this road and you quickly realize the RIGHT side of the body, from the neck down is YANG, the left side of the body from the neck down is yin.
Start testing a few people and you quickly observe virtually everyone is WAY out of balance towards YANG and away from yin.
Our yin-left side is where we understand we are worthy of asking for, speaking up for, our own needs to be met FIRST.
This is not “me-first-ism.” This is “If you never ask, we guarantee you won’t get your needs met.”
Vulnerability then finds its place in this scheme as emotional receptivity.
We know more. The first two stages of receptivity-vulnerability seem to be:
- Feeling safe in our child within,
- Trusting the process; including, trusting the parent-teacher-coach-authority.
LACK of feeling safe and LACK of self-trust and others-trust is where most people derail off a growth track.
The key to this common situation; I find, is to check early and often for WILLINGNESS TO HEAL and willingness to receive.
Like the one gram of cells that make up our Islands of Langerhans in our pancreas, who respond to the sweetness of our life, this very sensitive mechanism is easily discouraged, disappointed, disrupted, interrupted and ignored.
Receptivity-vulnerability is 100% invisible. You cannot carry it in a wheelbarrow.
Therefore without some way to measure it and measure increases and decreases this topic remains very abstract. Guessing is better than nothing. Putting numbers of your guesses reduces the fuzziness. Still, self-muscle-testing is the cheapest, easy, fast way to track changes in this most valuable of qualities.
I would love to explore this with you. Please let me know more! I am ready to probe and renew. xoxo <3
Thank you Jaime!
Hey! Great idea I’m in. “to be vulnerable is not weakness” a car crash survivor celeb oncce said and it stuck with me and this post brings it back to memory.. Thanks.. that’s awesome.
To risk the negative and the positive in love, projects, carreer partly vulnerability description.
I feel vulnerable posting this because of “What if” in my mind: What if someone points my litter box? I can answer with: “what if” I allow them to point it out in acceptance they do and not in reaction to….
I gave my powers away in vulnerability, then clammed with shame and anger because I realize I trusted people who couldn’t care less. There are levels of protection.. What is openness, naive: This gets me going … hmm..
It is time. Count me in.
YES!!! Many thanks Jaime…..and Thank You ALL for helping to create this new matrix for our collective unfolding…
Currently nursing a “break-up,” or separation is more apt, and am feeling so completely vulnerable and foolish….ah, but I realize the foolishness is an emotion I’m attaching to the intense vulnerability I’m experiencing. Anyhoooo, I’m so in, so ready.
Let’s do it.
Jaime – For years I couldn’t be vulnerable because if I was, the pain was excruciating. I became an expert at building walls that kept everyone and everything out – made for a terrible life. After leaving the person/source of my pain I have found that I can cry again and I am alive again. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable only increases the joy and happiness in your life. I found out the hard way.
I guess this Vulnerability concept is basically what others call getting out of your Comfort Zone…anyway Im interested hehe. How much is this gonna be?
Hey the challenge is gonna be free! We’ve had a lot of people want to participate in more interactive ways, with training, coaching, etc. so we’ll also look at providing additional paid options for participation.
However it’s important for me and Angela to provide the main challenge as a free way for all of us to join together and make a difference: for ourselves, for each other, for a world that could use a little more love, a little more kindness and a little more fun.
Feels like opening the heart… very scary doing this with a group I don’t know but I’l do it. Feels challenging and a great way to learn more about yourself.
lets see how we change
I’m in – I’ve been feeling stuck for a long time now – especially since my son’s murder – and I can relate about loving people – but it feels intellectual and not a deep inner knowing – I would even go so far as to say I miss the feeling I had about the Lord before all this happened – I’m tired of feeling empty – and yet when I cry I feel so open where everyone can see – I’m in and thanks for the chance to heal
Cherlyn, thank you for sharing. I can’t imagine what the journey has been like for you so far and I’m glad that you’re here with us.
Sounds really exciting, and worthwhile
Wooohooo! AMAZING. I’m so excited!
I’m in, too!!
I’ve never connected vulnerability to happiness so surely. Prove it to me, Giddyup Girls! I’m in. (Although, I did write a letter to my sister on her 60th birthday celebrating all her qualities that inspire the heck out of me. The main one was her willingness to be open physically and emotionally to life despite tremendous setbacks. Just another way to say she’s in touch with her vulnerability….)
What a great revelation. And we can’t wait to demonstrate the power of vulnerability!
Jaime, I am in. The idea of giving and receiving support so that we can all give and receive more love and joy leaves me with tears flowing down my face. There is a possibility that I just permanently pushed away the man I love. Why? Because I was so afraid of staying open and vulnerable and heart-centered that instead, I contracted and then lashed out. My heart is hurting today and the timing of your blog was perfect. Thank you. Love and blessings to you. X
Ashley, I’m glad you found this post at such a vital time for you. There are so many ways we all get depleted, overwhelmed and broken down by life… and most of us don’t know how to fill back up – really fill up with what nourishes us.
A primary purpose of the 60-day challenge is to inspire the actions today that produce the tomorrow we desire… however I’ve learned in doing this so many times that those who can’t take daily focused action are the ones who have no fuel for the journey, no emotional nourishment.
That’s why this time I’m making daily acts and notes of love, gratitude and appreciation a key part of this challenge.
My goal is to keep each of us filled up on a daily basis. With fuel like that, we can repair and revitalize anything.
My hope is you can come back to this relationship and open up in honesty and vulnerability and things will work out. At the same time, even if the time has passed for that, I also know that moving forward with openness and vulnerability will bring an even more stunning relationship to you.
I am so up for this 60 day challenge. I am at a crossroads and I don’t want to be paralyzed with fear and not move.
I recently lost someone very close to me, it all happened very quickly and I was there when she passed. Its given me a new found respect for this one life we have
well Jaime you were an inspiration to become authentically me and to become more transparent and I’ve hit a block so maybe this is the way forward.
I agree with so much of what has been said here.
Janey, one of the great magical things about the 60-day challenge we’ll be doing is how it helps us blast through blocks we can’t usually see our way around.
It’s about building momentum and support. I’m so glad you resonate with what’s been said here and look forward to helping you break through your blocks.
I have worked so hard to never be vulnerable again. What the heck…I’m in.
So glad to hear it Linda! I know how it is to shut down and the resistance we can feel at the idea of opening up again. I’m so inspired by you and everyone here who are all so ready to break open and break through.
Wow this is amazing. I am so dazzled by this outpouring of love, willingness and openness. To have all of you with me in this means more than I can say.
I’m glad this is meeting you all at the right time, in the right way.
Love to each of you,
Your program comes at an interesting time for me. I have spent the last several months immersed in multiple success programs while going through a divorce. My Outlook has been good but something seemed to be missing! I’m in!
I am willing to go to another level of awareness. Thank you so much for this opprotunity.
I,m in. Am just starting a journey of completing unfulfilled dreams. Hidden resistances and negative feelings are surfacing. I look forward to being part of your 60 days of vulnerability. I believe this opening of my heart will help reach the source of strength, solutions and creativity. Thank you for offering this to us.
Awesome article Jaime, I totally agree. I am in!
Lately I’ve noticed that while I know that I love my husband, family, friends and pets it’s an intellectual knowing not an emotional one. I really do feel numb. I’m not sure just when it started (probably it grew gradually). Looking back I can see many things that contributed to this but I feel stuck. “When the student is ready the theacher will come.” Thanks. I’m in.
OK you have hit the right buttons tell me more
I am really looking forward to this journey to see where it is going to take us. Your a great leader and communicator, an amazing writer, interesting and you have shown us so much of yourself it is going to be terrific to see more!
OK Jamie lets Rock this.
The last 2 weeks have been wicked with my version of betrayal.. I’ve been searching where I caused it. Just now I was wishing I was numb..and here is your story.
I don’t know now to be vulnerable and feel protected at the same time. Thank you for your bravery!
Hi Maria, thank you for sharing. Remember that when we take responsibility for what shows up in our lives, it doesn’t always mean we solely caused something… perhaps only that we subconsciously invited it into our life to help us face something, learn something, or to break us open for growth.
I know when I’ve dealt with betrayal it was an easy mistake to think that taking responsibility meant that I was to blame. So I share this in hopes that you do not blame yourself.
As for vulnerability and safety – that’s a question I hope to give a lot of attention to in the future.
I’m in. I love what you do, Jaime.
Thanks Jason, so glad to have you along! Would love an update on how your coaching stuff is going.
Most of what I’m doing has to do with learning how to be vulnerable coincidentally.
Glad to have all of you joining in! I’ll fill you in on exactly what our 60 day challenge will entail next week.
The good news is it’s designed to give you the freedom to focus on whatever is most important to you, and support you in taking daily actions toward those things in an environment that keeps you motivated and filled with love and gratitude.
So this will be whatever you need most in your life right now.
I believe I have been a part of your 60 day challenge without even knowing, Jaime.
July 25 I began a new journey into me (11 years in the making no less…)and feel that I have finally allowed that vulnerability to be exposed.
Everyone in my life is not sure about me now – ……the looks and offers of “good luck” are met with much “deer in the headlight” looks….
When I lost my job (amin. assistant) in 2009 – the universe created a vulnerability in me that I no longer fear – because I have faced it and won in my view and now I am living that vulnerability on my terms and seeing where it is taking me.
I was exposed and raw back then and I learned to create protection and raise above the challenge to create something better by becoming more vulnerable.
As of today – and only 1 month after quitting my job July 25, I am now thrilled to be provided an opportunity to experience 4 different countries(Bolivia, Honduras, San Salvador and Nicaragua) on a humanitarian trip this October…..and to help the children whose future so depends on vulnerability itself.
I also am going for two months in January to one of these 4 but never expected this new change of plans as it happened only yesterday. I am still trying to figure it out. But A new life begins indeed when vulnerability is opened up for all to see.
The whole world needs to experience more vulnerability now in my view.
I feel I have created a way for me to be vulnerable on my own terms while facing the challenges of my life such as retrainaing myself in holistic healing modalities, material debt, future economics, love and an aging parent and surviving financial in some very trying and uncertain times.
And while my schedule may not allow complete online participation in this inner game with all these wonderful women (whose courage I admire so much), I am definitely in for the challenge and up for the vortex of great energy exchange with all the great women (and men) in this group that this new event will create.
Thank you, Jaime,for once again Leading the way!!
I encourage you and indeed support you in this too. Because I know some of the resistance you will experience.
You Go Girl!!!!
I can’t wait to learn more from you, Jaime. Vulnerability just means revealing you are human. Most of us can relate to that. Kudos to you for your bravery!
Well, kudos for facing the dragon! I discovered due to hitting bottom after divorce, bankruptcy and getting dumped by an Ex that vulnerability was a business asset. It made me the leader I was otherwise unable to be. After 14 years I also found out that the events from 7 years with shame and fear and anger attached had to be truly addressed as did the drinking I used to mask the pain. I look forward to the challenge because I have been procrastinating your 60 Day program.
Jaime, that was an incredibly special post. I can’t imagine another internet marketer writing something like that – which is why we love you!
I consider myself a pretty ‘vulnerable person’. If I’m interested in getting to know someone on any level beyond the superficial I make it a point to try to be as emotionally open as I can be. To me, that means not making an effort to hide the things in my life that I don’t feel good about.
One thing that I’ve noticed that I have to pay careful attention to is to not try to ‘spin’ in a positive way the things that I feel vulnerable about. When you do that, you may be being open about what you feel vulnerable about but you’re also cheating at the same time because the ‘positive spin’ is your attempt to make yourself less vulnerable … while you’re buying vulnerable.
Another important aspect of ‘being vulnerable’ for me is being able to receive negative feedback graciously. From what I’ve observed, the vast majority of people get real defensive real fast when someone offers them negative feedback. They feel as if they’re being attacked and their response is to ‘call out the calvary’.
Of course, calling out the calvary means different things to different people. For some, it means verbally attacking the other person (well, if you’re going to attack me, I’m going to attack you) <impeccable logic :-), while others immediately begin to defend themselves – sometimes before the other person has even finished speaking, and still others will either run away or emotionally 'hunker down' … as well as many other strategies for 'defending themselves'.
Of course, I used to be that way too.
Do you know what?
Allowing yourself to be vulnerable in a general way … allowing yourself to not feel threatened when someone gives you negative feedback …
It makes you 'bullet proof' in a certain kind of way.
You don't like these parts of me that I've shared with you that I don't feel real good about? Well, that's ok – you're certainly entitled to your opinion. It's certainly not very realistic for me to expect everyone on this planet to like me. That might be true for Jaime but certainly not me!
One thing is for certain – I'm not offering any ala carte options! You either buy the whole package or nothing at all. If my warts etc are a deal breaker for you … so be it … I can live with that quite easily because I know that those very same 'warts' are not a big deal to other people. And the very fact that they ARE a deal breaker to you … suggests very strongly to me … that we're probably not all that compatible … in a very fundamental kind of way.
Perhaps you thought that I was very insensitive towards you at that social occasion … perhaps you think I'm quite hypocritical in some way – i.e. my actions aren't in integrity with my stated values …
Gee … I dunno … maybe you're right. Tell me, why do you feel that way?
At this point, I shut up and listen. I try to listen with an open heart and mind. I try to really listen to what they're trying to communicate – as opposed to thinking about how I am going to respond.
I'll listen and when they're finished, I will attempt to summarize my understanding of what they said – and then ask them if that is correct.
Assuming that it is … I'll respond in some way based upon the 'validity' of what they had to say from my perspective.
I might say … gee, I never thought about things from that perspective, I think you're right – I am being hypocritical in that area of my life. Thank you so much for bringing that to my attention. I guess I'll have to either change my values or how I act.
Or I might say … I want to thank you for your feedback … I also want you to know that I very much value your feedback … While your perspective is ever bit as valid as my own, I disagree with you for the following reason …
If someone says that I was insensitive, hypocritical or whatever … there's no need for me to feel that I am being 'attacked'.
Do you know why?
It's because I've never known anyone in this world who wasn't insensitive at *some time* … or hypocritical about *something* … receiving feedback along these lines simply confirms that I'm …
a *human being*.
All human beings make mistakes and feel ashamed about things in their life. It’s the nature of the human condition.
However, to adopt an attitude that you couldn’t possibly be wrong about something … or that you don’t have any insecurities … is basically making the argument that you’re *not* human but some kind of robot. No one is fooled by such a charade.
However, the cost to you is exorbitant – it precludes you from connecting with other people in an authentic way – it slams the door shut at any possibility of creating deep and meaningful emotional intimacy with another human being.
Being willing to be open about the ‘bad parts’ of yourself requires emotional courage – there’s no question about that. It never becomes easy but the more you do it the *easier* it becomes. And if you do it enough – so that it becomes it becomes the default way that you behave … at that point, it becomes *liberating*.
I’ll close with my all-time favorite relationship quote. I think that there is a *tremendous* amount of wisdom in it.
Thanks for the inspiration Jaime!
“An honorable human relationship — that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word ‘love’ — is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other.”
I have no idea what this is going to entail, but I’ll jump in too.
Ok Jaime – I’m feeling a big resistance. I know that means I better say out loud, “I’m in”.
Yep, I know what you mean. Together, we’ll practice ‘doing the thing we fear we cannot do.’
I still have resistance come up with vulnerability (and intimacy) and know what an enormous step it is to still say, “I’m in.”
Glad to have you along.
Charlie, really great point! I never thought of it quite like that, but it’s so true. I love a lot of Angelina Jolie’s performances because she can be so vulnerable and completely break down and open up on screen.
A great movie also always requires the characters to face and overcome their tough stuff. Hmmm… you may be on to something here.
Makes total sense. In my experience as a movie buff, vulnerability is what separates Oscar caliber performances on screen from the mediocre ones. Great post Jaime!
well, I’m about to hit bottom and I want to be a better person for me and for my kids and for my partner and this is really, really hard for me. I was forced into vulnerability when I was only 5 and am still struggling with the fallout at 44
Brooke, I had a similar experience around the age of 4 to 6 and now volunteer to help other women through these… and yes… it is something that stays with us the rest of our lives.
I’m so proud of you for wanting to tackle the tough stuff and we will be here to help you along the way.
Awesome, Jaime, your post made me tear up! Now I know some of the things I’ve been feeling make total sense.
You know those tender moments with loved ones, when you feel like the most blessed person on earth? I have those often with my family. And then I think, “Oh my God, why have I let myself get this vulnerable?” Because if anything happened to them, I’d be lost. I’d go out of my mind.
It’s so much safer to not get attached to any one. But then to miss out on all those moments?
Now I’m beginning to understand.
What a beautiful revelation Lexi! Thank you for sharing.
I am not sure what I am expected to be doing here. I am in. I guess I do not need to know. I just have to do and believe. Fill me in on what the expectations are. thanks
I love the willingness to flow. I’ll explain everything the 60-day challenge involves in a post later next week, and we’ll have a live call or webinar to answer questions, set goals and get us prepped.
The actual challenge will begin approx. on Sept. 15th.
Ok. I’m in.
Are men allowed, or is a Vulnerable Room of One’s Own?
I’m not quite sure what is required, but I’m game for most things. Must I walk naked in Hell’s Kitchen, wearing only gold chains and a Rolex?
Men are absolutely allowed!