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Being open is more powerful than acting vulnerable

As I write this, it’s almost the longest day here in the northern hemisphere. It is still a wonder to me how a slight wobble in the earth’s axis as it goes around the sun, makes day and nights longer and shorter; gives us seasons and affects all life on earth.

Since my last update, more in-company projects have kicked off and a few others have come towards their completion. The causal link of their insights from workshops they attend, and their business performance will never cease to excite me!

I started a new open program for coaches who want to expand their work and impact into the corporate world, and I can already see how well they will do. A few weeks ago, I completed the latest writing class (more on this later) and more episodes of ‘Under the Noise’ have come out (a new one every week).

Back, as promised, to the writing class. This was my sixth. During the fourth class, I noticed how ‘safe’ I was being and how little of me I was putting on the page. Well, I’ve made a leap in this regard over the past 8 weeks! I’ve written and shared about what makes me scared, my episodes of depression, losing my virginity, being worried about a former love in Ukraine, living in denial and wanting to live wilder. While my

ability to write is developing, my willingness to be more open and not hold back has made a big difference as I put pen to paper day after day. I’ve been seeing how showing up and being open is impactful for over 10 years now.

“I have a favour to ask you” said Nancy Kline, the guest teacher at this weekend’s coaching school back in March of 2012. The room was littered with 80 people from all over the world with their varied accents, assorted smiles, a mix of quiet murmuring reflective chats and louder packets of laughter.

The 3 white clothed tables propped boxes of bought-in coffee, cream porcelain mugs, bottles of water and healthy local Californian snacks. Next to the flasks of milk and cream was a paper cup of wooden stirrers and a bowl of sachets of sugar, a blob of blue-tack was stuck in front of the bowl. A few people were hovering behind the one person filling their mug with the coffee, in a sunlit part of the room from the windows in the roof. Nancy and I were on the side of the room, her short wavy auburn hair above a freckled youthful 60-something face on a slim 5 foot nothing figure, dressed in modest, informal elegance of black sweater and brown linen trousers.

“You can ask me anything, I’ll say yes” I said.

I was hoping she’d ask me to be her demo client for a coaching session in front of the class. My wish was granted: that is what her ‘favour’ was. The truth is, she was doing me the favour. We had hit it off as she walked into the room a few hours earlier before this first break. This woman had such presence about her and was so easy to talk to. My often awkwardness in meeting someone new didn’t materialise, even though I knew she was the guest teacher from the photo of her I’d looked at in the coaching school program before I left the hotel that morning.

A few minutes later, the break was over, and I was sitting at the front of the room on one of the 2 tall bar stools. I got mic’d up and a hush came over the room. For the next hour, I opened up in front of my fellow students and had life-changing insights about myself as the others watched. The biggest of these insights was how much more my classmates loved me because I’d opened up. I learnt that what I thought was keeping me safe was keeping me apart. What I was hiding from was what was keeping me disconnected. What I was hoping for was what I had been moving away from.

I was astonished.

This is not "doing vulnerability"; it is "being" open. It is not a tactic in order to be liked, it is a natural showing up. It is not adding to my list of how to behave, it’s the removal of what’s stopped me expressing with freedom.

I haven’t stopped learning about how far being open can take me in all my relationships of every form. And how much easier it is to live from there.


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