The Surprising Path to Authentic Impact

The leader you pretend to be; saps vitality, limits potential, and drains fulfillment. You won’t let yourself be seen because you fear you aren’t enough and others will reject you.

In the end, all you have is who you are.

let yourself be seen

Brene’ Brown, author of, Daring Greatly, writes, “We must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen.”

The alternative to vulnerability is mask-wearing.

Vulnerability is letting yourself be seen when responses are uncertain.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer on September 11, 2001.” (Judith Glaser, author of, Conversational Intelligence, in a recent interview.)

9/11 changed Judith. In her own words (2:53):

Vulnerability is sharing yourself when:

  1. You feel weak or inadequate.
  2. You screwed up.
  3. You could be rejected.
  4. People think you know but you know you don’t.

I asked Judith what’s different because of vulnerability (1:50):

We connect through vulnerability.


  1. Draws like a magnet.
  2. Enables growth. You grow most when you let yourself be seen.
  3. Validates the struggles of others.
  4. Gives permission to be human.
  5. Creates we.
  6. Counters arrogance. I don’t want you to know about my weaknesses because I don’t want you to compensate for me. I want to be super-human.
  7. Teaches the most powerful lessons. Life’s most powerful lessons come to us through the vulnerability of our teachers.
  8. Enhances influence and impact.
  9. Reveals confidence, strength, and wisdom.
  10. Is Dangerous. Some will abuse, reject, and manipulate what you share.


Being vulnerable isn’t exposing everything.

The guiding principle of leadership behavior is the good of the organization/team you lead – within the boundaries of ethical honesty. Everybody doesn’t need to know everything.

Tip: Don’t share things that make others look weak without their permission.


Vulnerability engages the community in forward movement.

Apart from moving forward with optimism, vulnerability is vain self-affirmation.


Judith Glaser on courage to be vulnerable (1:45):

How is vulnerability a factor in effective leadership?

How are you navigating vulnerability on your leadership journey?

Note: Thanks for the well-wishes and insights left on yesterday’s post. I’m back to feeling normal.