Being Authentically Vulnerable in Business and Life!

by Nicola Sapsford

Have you ever felt like you were in a holding pattern?

Have you ever felt that you might class yourself as ungrateful? You are happy and healthy and you seem to have it all together, but there is something you feel needs to change, however you can’t quite identify it?

Over the last several years I have listened to podcasts, audio books, read many interesting articles and inspiring books but felt I hadn’t implemented what I had been learning – I felt stuck. Frustratingly, I couldn’t even identify what I wanted to change and yet I persisted in continuing to learn and to find inspiration.

Going out on your own in business is extremely scary and most of us find ourselves feeling vulnerable. Perhaps we lose a bit of our authentic selves when we are trying to grow our profile and be the ‘sales person’. I know in my case I tried just a bit too hard to win the business, which at times cost me the job! These experiences in hindsight can be cringe-worthy but they are also some of the greatest lessons I have learned.

When we are in a holding pattern, also known as complacency, it can be difficult to break out of it or to even identify what needs to be changed. The magic does not happen in our comfort zone, so why is it that we so often hang out there for extended periods of time?

A lot of this comes from steering away from our true potential – fear of failure, and sometimes, fear of success.

I have recently been presented with an opportunity to take back ownership of a business initiative that I began a number of years ago. In my heart of hearts I knew it was a viable business. I had ‘run the numbers’ way back then, so I knew what the potential was. However, being in my comfort zone of my consultancy work and harbouring a fear of not being able to juggle the two, should my business take off, I kept my foot on the brake …until recently.

Brené Brown has in recent times raised the awareness of the power of vulnerability. She highlights how we think we need to hold it all together all the time and how we view failure so negatively. She has brought to the forefront the idea that vulnerability and failure are powerful tools that can lead us to positive change and to success. So much of what she says resonates with my story of my own business venture, the Pink Book Club. I believe listening to Brené provided me with the courage to ‘have another go’ at what I thought was a failed business initiative. It was not…… it was a HUGE learning!

Going back out to the world to say I was going for round two with this business made me feel fearful about what people would think and how the original members would feel. Making contact with our database, who had not heard from us in over 6 years, was excruciating. Cold calling/emailing is really not my thing!  And I dealt with many, many rejections and negative comments including, “Why are you contacting me?”, “Take me off your list”, “No, I do not want to be a part of your club again!”, which left me wondering, had I done the right thing? Then a few comments of “Oh wow, you are back!”, “I’ve missed PBC”, and “Great, I can’t wait to attend another event”, gave me hope. Through being myself and allowing the vulnerability to inspire me, we held a successful pilot event and we are now back in business.

Becoming ‘unstuck’… What? Why? How?

What? I realised was that I couldn’t become “unstuck” without asking for help. I engaged a transformational coach to work with me and on my feelings of being stuck. They helped me really focus on what needed to happen to launch the business and move my foot off the brake and on to the accelerator. Our website is almost complete, the business support crew has been agreed and events are scheduled for over the next 12 months. All with no impact to my consultancy work!

It was tough asking for that help and even tougher finding someone to work with who actually ‘got me’. I realise now that this transformative coach was a crucial component to allowing me to remove some of the ‘block’ that had been hindering my progress in my business.

Why? I needed to find ways to behave differently in order to tap into my potential. Together we worked on unblocking my fear of monetising my business. I had been devaluing our worth, based on my need and sincere desire to give as much to our members as possible, and to give it for free. The fear my coach helped me overcome was that for my business to survive, I needed to add a value and a price to what I was doing!

How? My coach and I found tools that were useful to me. This included a money mind-map for scheduling my week for maximum productivity, and using an emotional freedom technique, also known as tapping. This is where we would identify a block and work through to see where it came from. It could be childhood, relationships or career. I found it a bit strange tapping on my nervous system at first and then the results that followed had me convinced that it worked. Importantly we worked on both my personal and business lives to bring about key changes for me as a person, which then naturally flowed through to my business.

Celebrating the wins along the way is a must. As cheesy as it sometimes sounds a simple fist pump in the air for the small things is really powerful. Sticking to my yoga classes for a week – fist pump the air! Meditating for 10 minutes a day – fist pump the air! Accountability is key. Reporting in each week and tracking my progress not only delivered better results for our website and the Pink Book Club subscriptions (it’s launching soon) but gave me a business plan that is totally workable, without me having to sacrifice a healthy active lifestyle in order to get there.

Coaching and connecting with someone who complimented what I was trying to achieve has been an absolute game changer! Both the Pink Book Club and Twalk are built on the belief (and proof) that we gain so much from connecting with others on a personal level to enhance our selves, and our work practices. After all, we are feeling beings and need to feel and believe in our own success.

We often get stuck in life and what is crucial is to engage the support of others. Don’t be afraid of asking for help! There are many forms of coaching and although I thought I needed business coaching, the transformational coaching was a much better fit for me at that point in time.

And working with Twalk is a perfect fit. By blending indoor business minds with outside activity to create a positive space to think, to get creative and get inspired outside what can often be a sterile board room. Fresh air, vitamin D, blue skies, exercise, endorphins and company all help in opening the mind and unleashing our full potential. Try it. Walk the Talk to Thrive!