I’m about to board a flight from Sydney to the Gold Coast when I get an email. “I’ve heard a bit about your story” and “I thought it would be awesome if I could get you on our pod to tell the world.”
I say yes. I say yes to things that come my way. I figure I haven’t sought this out, something has sent this in my direction. If it’s being sent my way I figure that’s the world’s way of saying: one, that I’m ready for it and; two, that I have something of meaning to contribute.
We can do this in Sydney I’m told. They know I’m based down south. These guys are based in Brisbane and I happen to find myself on the North Coast. It all seems serendipitous. We lock in a date. We’ll record in their Brisbane offices. I proceed to lose my voice. We plan to reschedule.
I decide I quite like being able to hit the beach in June, so flash forward to September and I find myself permanently up North. We lock in another date. In the lead up I’m dreading it! The discomfort grows and grows and grows. Why did I ever agree to do this?!?!?!?
The invitation had came from Michael Bromley a former lawyer, turned “very stressed recruiter” who along with Maciek Motylinski, another former lawyer and recruiter, are the founders of Beyond Billables (for those of you non-lawyers out there, billables is a reference to billable hours, a system by which lawyers in corporate firms are required to bill per every 6 minute interval of their day and each 6 minute block of the day is required to be accounted for through daily data entry – yeah did I mention I don’t miss law?!?!). So these guys aim to help lawyers have better careers, better health and therefore better lives. A life beyond billables. Catchy title. Once you get the reference. Don’t you think?
Ah yes, so that’s why I said yes to this. Right…
I’d rather just teach people to meditate than go into my back story. And yet I know that the life experiences I’ve had have made me a stronger person and pushed me towards having a better experience of life. I know Michael wants to chat about my car accident. And I’m thankful that happened to me. It completely shifted my perspective on life. But it doesn’t mean it’s the easiest time of my life to talk about. But with everything I do I always think to myself, “if one person gets something out of this, then that’s worth doing.”
So I dive in. Deep.
At the end I think to myself, “I did not nail that.”
Ramble. Ramble. Ramble.
“Edit that!” are my parting words to Michael.
I like the written format I decide. Where I can painstakingly deliberate over each carefully constructed sentence, should the need arise. I like that kind of control. Public speaking events where I’ve prepared my speech in advanced or articles I’ve written for publication, let’s stick to those mediums in future.
I feel shocking afterwards. How large can their audience be?! Maybe no one will listen. I can only hope.
An article pops up on my Facebook feed. Oprah’s just been out and about telling the world that there’s one thing absolutely everybody that she’s ever interviewed, whether that be President Barrack Obama or Beyoncé, ask afterwards, and that is: “How was that? Was that ok? How did I do?”
So I’m in good company in my insecurity around my vulnerability.
According to Oprah “everybody just wants to know that you heard me, you saw me and that what I said mattered.”
An email comes through from Michael. There’s not many things that keep him up till 1am on a Friday night when he’s knackered, he tells me, but he’s been up listening to the interview we recorded that afternoon and he loves it.
That’s great. But I’m still feeling totally vulnerable about what I’ve shared.
That afternoon I chat to a friend. She reminds me of a pep talk I’d given her about a year ago. It’s stuck with her she tells me. Ah yep, I do recall that one.
And I’m brought back to why I do any of this.
Being hit by that car taught me how to live. I was forced to work out how to have a better life. How to thrive. How to choose to thrive. I learnt thriving requires living authentically. Living vulnerably. Allowing myself to be seen. And my story heard. That’s scary. But it’s also the only way to truly connect. And connection is why we are here. It gives our lives purpose and therefore meaning.
Accordingly to shame and vulnerability researcher Brene Brown:
“vulnerability is at the core of shame, fear and our struggle for worthiness but it’s also the birthplace of joy, creativity, of belonging and love.”
Good to be reminded.
So here’s the podcast. Have a listen. I’d love to hear what you think. Maybe you’re that one person that feels inspired and connected – the reason I put myself out there at all.
I think I’m out the other end of what Brene would term my “vulnerability hangover” now.
And I’ve just had a listen to the podcast. It hasn’t been edited. And I’m surprised. I feel quite ok about it. Proud of myself even.
And here’s what I’ve learnt: have the courage to be vulnerable and imperfect. Even if the process might feel uncomfortable, I think it’s worth it.