Being vulnerable means you take risks, expose your authentic self, and open yourself up to the possibility of attack, rejection, and failure. While it might sound scary, the great thing about vulnerability is that it is also the place where innovation, creativity, connectivity and change can happen. (Take a look at Brene Brown’s TED talks to learn more).
Your Achilles Heel
When you are brave enough to expose your true colors, it becomes possible to make meaningful connections with other people. In marketing, this is sometimes called revealing your Achilles heel. The term “Achilles heel” comes from Greek mythology and refers to an especially vulnerable part, subject, story, event, etc. that can lead to your potential downfall.
One of the more famous examples of revealing an Achilles heel came from Hair Club for Men president Sy Sperling when he said, “I’m not only the Hair Club president, but I’m also a client.” To a person experiencing hair loss, what Sperling actually said might have sounded like this: “I’ve been there. I’ve experienced the frustration and embarrassment that comes with losing your hair. I know where you’re coming from and what you’re going through, and I can help you.”
Vulnerability is Not Weakness
Contrary to popular belief, vulnerability is not a weakness.
Revealing an Achilles heel is tremendously courageous. It says “Here I am. I’m imperfect, but I am human.” And it turns out that revealing your authentic self, warts and all, allows other humans to connect with you on a meaningful level. According to Brown, the words “me too” are some of the most powerful words we can say to another human.
Uncertainty and vulnerability make us uncomfortable. After all, we’ve got seats to fill and ROIs to achieve. But if we never take a risk by exposing our authentic self—our voice, our mission, our vision, our passion, the WHY behind what we do—we’ll miss out on so many connections with people who share our values (and eventually fill our seats). The old cliché holds: If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.
Find Your Tribe
Good marketing is about finding the right audience.
Sure, exposing your authentic self might turn some people off. And that’s okay. Sooner or later they would have discovered that there was no real connection with you. Your purpose is to build a tribe of members with whom you resonate and connect and with whom you can collaborate to make a difference and, ultimately, change lives.
What’s your organization’s Achilles heel? How might your vulnerabilities help you connect with others?
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