Let’s talk about vulnerability

Posted on September 12, 2020
By Catherine Heilemann

Each year we acknowledge R U OK day. It helps to remind us to check in with our friends, family and colleagues. It helps us to remember to be mindful of others and ‘tells’ that may indicate things aren’t OK for them. This got me thinking about vulnerability. Is it OK to show your vulnerability and how ‘should’ we respond if someone asks R U OK? Is vulnerability a chink in your armour, a weakness or can we be vulnerable and it be a good thing? Perhaps you’ve heard the term stiff upper lip? To be resolute and unemotional. To not show vulnerability. For me, vulnerability shows courage.

Vulnerability can be shown without being or becoming a victim. Vulnerability is acknowledging that something isn’t right. To be able to show and communicate this in a way that releases tension and allows space and time for resolving. Vulnerability enables you/me to look at a situation or chain of events with greater openness. It enables you/me to then work on a way or ways forward. When you/I show vulnerability it can mean there is a level of trust, faith and hope which opens the situation up for those involved to explore the situation and work towards a resolution. When both parties open up, that’s when vulnerability shows up, and it can lead to greater understanding of one another, the situation and it can really strengthen the relationship.

However, beware of overplaying vulnerability, in my opinion there is a line, between showing and communicating vulnerability and being a victim. I was watching The Blacklist the other night and there was a scene where Reddington visits a man who in his words is the best tracker around. The man hasn’t delivered on his promise and has an excuse. Reddington says ‘there’s always something with you isn’t there: a sickness, a death, an accident, you, a relative, there is always something’. In this case vulnerability was being overplayed into victimhood and excuse making as an alibi for non-delivery.

Some common situations where vulnerability can be shared are:

  • It may be that you’re feeling or thinking that you’re out of your depth
  • That you aren’t skilled enough for a task or job
  • Being overwhelmed with too much work
  • A difficult work situation
  • Being overwhelmed with too much of everything, including what may be going on outside of work

If you notice a ‘tell’ in someone that something may not be right, rather than asking if the person is OK, perhaps try asking if they have something on their mind, or acknowledge what you’ve noticed, i.e. I noticed something flicker across your face when we were discussing x, shall we have a chat?

Being more specific as opposed to a general R U OK, may draw the person out more. You are letting the person know you’re interested, open to listen and discuss and that its OK to have a chat. If the person does want to have a chat then listen, listen and listen some more. Aim not to share a time when the same thing happened for you, unless they invite you to – aim not to offer them solutions, ask the person questions and what they want to do about it.

Yes, this will take some time from your day but it will open you both up, to be vulnerable, to share and hopefully start to find a way forward.

Let’s talk about vulnerability

Negotiating a better working life doesn’t begin and end with money

Negotiating a better working life doesn’t begin and end with money
Posted on March 29, 2019

Want a better working life but the chance of a raise or formal promotion are unlikely? Don’t despair! You can negotiate all kinds of workplace flexibility that makes for a better working environment. Curious? Check out the latest blog from the Salary Coach and see.

Read the article here
Why do Australians struggle asking for promotions and raises?

Why do Australians struggle asking for promotions and raises?
Posted on April 5, 2019

Promotions and raises seem so easy to come by when you’re watching the latest legal drama, yet so many Australians struggle with asking for a new role. The Salary Coach investigates why we cringe when it comes to asking for our work dues.

Read the article here
When good contract jobs go bad, where can you turn?

When good contract jobs go bad, where can you turn?
Posted on April 12, 2019

Leadership woes can be tough to navigate in a contract role. Let the Salary Coach take you through a scenario where is leadership is adrift and mistakes are made.

Read the article here
Are you risking your future by not speaking up?

Are you risking your future by not speaking up?
Posted on April 19, 2019

The Salary Coach makes a case for workers to learn the art of salary negotiation to move from surviving to thriving in the workplace.

Read the article here

Group Coaching.

Starting at $49

One day to get you the recognition and remuneration you deserve. Even if you don’t quite believe in yourself yet. Confidently take on every opportunity that becomes available. Make a move to the career you deserve.

Learn more about Group Coaching

Individual Coaching.

Starting at $300

Personalised 1:1 coaching completely tailored to you. So you can take complete control of your career and financial future. Learn how to step up and clearly define exactly what you have to offer with individualised attention to address your specific career goals.

Learn more about Individual Coaching

Online Coaching.

Get started for free!

Sometimes in-person coaching isn’t going to work for you. Too far away, at the wrong time of day, or just prefer to work at your own pace. Online coaching is the best of both worlds. Some individual attention. Some conferenced group work.

Learn more about Online Coaching

Our Proud

We’ve worked with people to help them discover their worth.

Read some of the stories we’re most proud of, and see how we worked together with people to help them learn to value themselves and get the reward they deserve.

Read Our Testimonials