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Beat Impostor Syndrome by Finding Strength In Vulnerability

Why let weaknesses hold you back, when embracing them might be your best bet?
by Michael Benninger | May 9 2018

In today’s high-pressure world, many of us do everything possible to keep our weaknesses well hidden. But sometimes, sharing our vulnerability is the best course of action. That’s what Chad Shipley from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, learned early on in his career.

Chad is one of several Blinkist subscribers who responded to our call for videos about a personally transformative moment in their lives. His submission stood out because of the invaluable lesson he learned and the lasting impact it had on his life.

For Chad, a lack of familiarity with workplace practices led to some pretty dark days. But once he felt comfortable enough to open up about his blind spots, he was able to shed those negative feelings and fill the gaps in his knowledge. Without even knowing it, the top performers who elucidated the corporate landscape for Chad also transformed his shameful feelings into emotions he could embrace.

In Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, author Brené Brown outlines the relationship between shame and vulnerability and argues that embracing our imperfections is the only way to establish authentic social connections. She further details how shame — the fear of social disconnection — may seem like an inherent element of the human experience, but it’s actually an avoidable state of mind that promotes inadequacy and prevents us from reaching our full potential.

So what’s the secret to escaping the crushing weight of shame? It lies in first acknowledging our vulnerability. Often thought of as an undesirable quality, vulnerability isn’t something to shun — it’s simply the willingness to openly admit weaknesses and accept past failures. And unlike shame, vulnerability is an innate emotion essential for developing empathy and establishing meaningful relationships. But is owning up to our shortcomings really enough to diminish shame’s strength? Or is there more to it?

To truly live a life free of shame, we must learn to love ourselves unconditionally and make a habit of verbalizing instances when we feel inadequate. Keep in mind that failing at anything presents an opportunity to learn something new, but by ignoring a defeat, you’re only ensuring that it’s going to repeat. So speak out about your shame to develop a resistance to it and feel more satisfied with who you are and what you have. Remember that vulnerability isn’t the enemy, but the way many of us choose to cope with it — through shame — holds us back in more ways than one.

Only by taking risks and exposing ourselves to criticism can we hope to become better people. By learning to be more comfortable with your vulnerability, you can build up an immunity to shame and learn to grow both personally and professionally. Being vulnerable transformed Chad’s life by allowing him to achieve greater heights than he could have imagined. What can it do for you?

Dare to be vulnerable by learning to love your blind spots. And if you’re looking to shed light on topics you don’t know much about, there’s no better way to quickly gain an understanding of new material than with Blinkist. Our handy app gives you instant access to thousands of nonfiction titles spanning dozens of categories. So whether you want to start with the blinks to Daring Greatly or any of the other bestselling books in our ever-expanding library, launch the Blinkist app today and take the next step to unleashing your full potential.

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