Vulnerable…Vulnerability

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I wrote the following post on January 13, 2015 and would like to share it with you.  It was published by LinkedIn Pulse at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/vulnerability-mainstream-jo-ann-m-radja-1.  The Title is “Is Vulnerability Mainstream?

“While vulnerability has quite a few definitions, we surely have understood different nuances to the word vulnerability because of our recent cold and freezing weather. Bursting pipes in the bowels of public streets, schools or retail stores have sent cold water into streets and buildings.

These challenges have drawn on our resolve and resilience to meet our daily tasks. We personally have no control over these occurrences and have learned quite easily how to manage ourselves when they occur. Yet, whether vulnerability is becoming mainstream for us personally, is an issue many people are now facing in their place of work.

During the 4th quarter of 2013, I had attended a Coaching Conference where an exercise was introduced. We had to pair up with a person near us – face that person – and look at their face for a few minutes, without speaking. We are not used to purposely looking at someone because starring at someone, in our culture, is impolite. What I learned later was that this exercise was an exercise in vulnerability. How comfortable are you in looking at someone’s face, close range. What happens first when the comfort level subsides, do your eyes look down, do you move your head, or your whole body? What are you protecting yourself from, yourself, their gaze upon your face or what you think they see in you?

Switching to 16 months later, while attending a networking event, I noticed that quite a few people were comfortable directly looking at a face, close range, while engaged in conversation (not side-by-side). Others kept a specific distance between faces. Someone engaged me in a conversation and felt very comfortable looking at my face for quite a few minutes. Perhaps we tap into our sense of courage before we allow vulnerability to occur. Would you agree?

Culture surely has an impact on whether vulnerability is considered mainstream. So, what’s your level of facial vulnerability as you engage someone at your workplace? As You Choose Who You Want to be Known As, consider whether your facial expressions represent the best of you. Have a great career week!

‘Jo Ann’ M. Radja, Career Management Coach

Notes: Exercises in Trust have been used in corporations and classrooms for decades. Facial Vulnerability seems to be now entering the mix. If you have examples of participating in a Facial vulnerability exercise, please share your comments with me. (Psychologists are also writing about this exercise as one example to see if you are compatible in new personal dating relationships.)”

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