Don't call it vulnerability; call it leadership

Today’s blog post was inspired by this video from Center for Joyful Business founder Laura West, in which she beautifully articulates what it means to reach out to others with LovingKindness. It is what she teaches business owners to do with their networks, and it is what I hope to inspire people to do through my own work, too.

There was one thing in her video that didn’t sit right with me, though, which is that she seemed to keep emphasizing how vulnerable LovingKindness is. To open your heart and not know what you’re going to get back. To be the first one to say that you care.

Of course, all of that can feel vulnerable. But is that really the part of kindness and generosity that I want to emphasize? Not if I want to encourage those behaviors!

According to the dictionary, to be vulnerable is to be “susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.” Can you imagine if, when we sent soldiers to war, the primary narrative we offered them was about how vulnerable they were going to be? That would be nuts!

Instead of calling it vulnerable to reach out with love and care, what if we called it leadership? To be willing to go first in standing for who and what matters to you. To put yourself out there, even when there’s no guarantee that others will follow. To risk your personal comfort in service to something bigger.

Changing the language doesn’t take the vulnerability away, but it can encourage a person to make a powerful choice in the face of it. And isn’t that the goal?