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The Importance of Vulnerability, in Life and in Business

I think I’m known for being a pretty open book, but in the way that I’ve always picked and chosen what I’ve wanted to share. I’d divulge more in some areas than people might think appropriate because I wanted to cover other things up… like my anxiety, for example. I’ve always been amazing at making friends that I keep at a distance, but true openness has always been excruciatingly hard for me, even with people I’ve known for years. I’m in a pretty fresh great relationship where I need to learn to go number 2 at his house without shame, so I’ve been thinking a lot about vulnerability and the walls that we put up to protect ourselves, both in our personal lives and our business decisions.

It’s not hard for me to let go of perfection if I can control it… this is something I wasn’t even aware of until a couple of years ago, and I’ve been working to exorcise myself of the demon of “nothing but flawless” ever since. I think it really changed for me the night I took acid with a bunch of strangers and ended up crying in a bathtub nude for 14 hours. Say what you want about psychedelics, but they will show you how you truly are at your core. I’ve both microdosed and taken mass amounts of hallucinogenic mushrooms hundreds of times, to the point where I have an unexplainable kinship with mushrooms. I usually know how to work through them if my trip starts to go the wrong way, and they helped me open my mind to a happiness and a peace that I didn’t understand even existed until recently. Cannabis has helped with that too. But that acid trip, man… that was a completely different story. I couldn’t control it (though I attempted to). I had no choice but to be myself, whole and raw and gross and imperfect and sad, in front of a bunch of girls who ended up holding my hands and playing with my hair instead of judging me and making fun of me, like I feared.

Vulnerability isn’t usually a bad drug trip in front of strangers. It’s the weakness in your knees when you stand up in front of a group of people to give a presentation… you know you’re smart and capable, but in that moment, in front of watchful eyes, you’re suddenly a blubbering idiot, because what if they think I’m not worthy? It’s sharing something personal with a new friend or a new lover for the first time… will they think I’m a mess? Will I be too much for them? It’s showing that you are human even if you’re a business owner, you have a soul even though you’re trying to be successful, you make errors and hopefully you try to learn from them. You guys, let’s be honest… we’re all just one step away from Monica’s disaster closet on Friends: an impressive stack of junk in an otherwise pristine apartment. We’ve all got our secrets that are just waiting to expose us as flawed. When you feel alone in your imperfection, here’s the most incredible thing that I’ve realized… everybody else does, too. Every single person has a disaster closet in their soul.

Vulnerability is something that is so often looked at as a weakness, but as I get older, I realize that, both socially and professionally, I want to be surrounded by people who aren’t perfect and own up to their weaknesses. I want to be surrounded by people who have made significant mistakes and grown from them exponentially… people that have stared down failure and loss and taken a deep breath and realized that there is only pressing forward and not looking back.

I was finishing this article when I opened up my Instagram, and like a message from the universe, the first thing that popped up on my feed was a quote from J. K. Rowling: “And so, rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life”. Picture-perfect storybook lives are overrated. Give me something fun and wild and messy.


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