“Yes, we are totally exposed when we are vulnerable. Yes, we are in the torture chamber that we call uncertainty. And, yes, we’re taking a huge emotional risk when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. But there’s no equation where taking risks, braving uncertainty, and opening ourselves up to emotional exposure equals weakness.” -brene brown via Daring Greatly
Looking back on the times I have felt most vulnerable, in reverse order: committing to TYOMD, getting laid off and making the decision to focus 100% of my attention on my dreams, watching my bank account plummet and keeping the faith that I’m doing the right thing, publishing my book in September 2013, moving to Hong Kong to write full time, standing up to Brendan (the class bully in the 4th grade), and many-many more in between.
As Brene Brown points out, in her book Daring Greatly, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable [or popular], but they are never weakness.”
As a writer/artist, I know all too well the vulnerability dance. Two steps forward, three’r seven steps back, often trying to avoid the biggest critic; me.
For many many years, I was way too terrified to go there, to be criticized. Each time I’d muster enough courage to even entertain my passions, the fuck-it effect would take over and paralyze any forward momentum.
The fuck-it effect can be seen in dieters when they eat a piece of candy mid-day and then in the evening gorge on pizza and cheesecake. Fuck it.
The fuck-it effect can be spotted in gym goers who missed Monday and Tuesday so now the whole week is shot. Fuck it.
In smokers. In drinkers. In entrepreneurs. In dreamers. Fuck it.
It seems to be our automatic response to fear and challenge and vulnerability. In fact, it is more culturally accepted to say “Fuck it!” than it is to claim “I got this!”
… We would hate to brag.
Even when we do muster up enough strength to be bold, we minimize it. “I got this! … for a change.”
The fuck-it effect is a terrible habit that most of us have adopted. The sooner we catch ourselves saying or feeling “fuck-it”, we must power through to take on at least one more thing. As I mentioned the other day in Go Out and Get Busy, that one thing doesn’t even have to be related to your end goal. It could be one of the smallest things on your To-Do list, just something that breaks the bridge of the automatic fuck-it response.
This is a daily practice as we work to unlearn our pattern behaviors. So it might take a minute. Also, be sure to give yourself enough down time throughout the day/week so that you don’t burn out and send yourself into a week’s worth of fuck-its.
It’s a whole different ballgame to give yourself permission to relax than it is to say “fuck it” and then regret it for god knows how long. Down time, relaxation, meditation, all are important to recharge creativity and the emotional strength it takes to live outside the cultural norm where “fuck-it” is easy and vulnerability is weakness.
You will have adversaries, who encourage you to fuck-it. You’re computer will die and you will lose your whole story, which will likely prompt a heavy fuck-it meltdown, but I promise you…each time you say yes, when your toddler sized ego is screaming no, you’re moving forward in the direction of your dreams and doing the necessary tango with vulnerability which leads to confidence and courage, and confidence and courage, in itself, is success.
I leave you with this: Don’t fuck-it.