Why Vulnerability Is a Superpower

I have come to believe that vulnerability is a superpower. This is not what I believed when I started my career 30+ years ago. Coming out of college, I completely bought into one of the biggest career lies: That if you’re smart and hardworking you’ll be set — and not need anyone to help you.

In this week’s Big Lies Shattered podcast episode, Sam Kim, a former Wisnik intern who is now a 3L law student at Vanderbilt, sheds light on why vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness.

Most “achievers” have grown up in a culture that places a high value on independence and self-reliance. We have been taught that asking for help and feeling vulnerable are weaknesses. But the opposite is actually true! In studying the most successful professionals, I’ve learned that the ones in the safest (least vulnerable) positions are those who have strong professional relationships with people they can call on in tough times (like when the economy crashes or their employer is acquired). The truth is that to feel safe (the opposite of vulnerable), we have to acknowledge that we are interdependent. Ironically, we will actually feel more in control of our lives if we are willing to ask others for help. The “I can do it myself mentality” is best left to 2-year-olds.

Over the past 18 months, many of us have worked alone more than ever before and may have forgotten to reach out to our colleagues for help. As I teach in my Return to Office program, stopping to identify people and resources that can help us get our work done efficiently is working smart, not just hard. The truth is that we need each other, and each time we ask others for help, we are acting courageously! As out of my comfort zone as it feels, I have made it a daily habit to ask others for help. Today, I am asking you to please share this podcast with someone you know who could benefit from being more vulnerable and asking for help.

I highly recommend that we all begin to think of feeling vulnerable and asking for help as superpowers because only the bravest professionals are willing to do so!

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