Recently, we discussed leaders and DISC profiles. This week I’m going to share something that hit me pretty hard about a decade ago. Unfortunately, 11 years ago, about seven months into building my business, I lost a brother to suicide, which really took a toll on me. I was suppressing a lot of negative emotions and pain. There was this one particular Monday afternoon where we had a coaching call with dozens of coaches where they always begin the call with, what we call a WIFLE ‘What I feel like expressing’. When they came to me, unfortunately, everything that I was suppressing came to the surface, I don’t exactly know what I said, but I’m sure it wasn’t too inspiring.
One of the coaches had asked to take me off and have a separate call. On this call, she asked me, “Michael, do you feel you have to be strong, powerful, and in control for your family?” And the answer, of course, was yes. She then asked me, “Can you be vulnerable and strong and powerful at the same time?” “No, it’s impossible” was my reply as that was my mindset at the time. She then asks, “Well, if you’re always strong and powerful, in control, and have your act together, how can others that might be going through similar circumstances actually relate to you if you’re always on your A game?” I found that quite an interesting question.
Essentially, what I realized in this conversation was when she asked me, “Is it possible to be strong, in control, powerful and vulnerable, and authentic at the same time?” I finally got that instead of or, I was now understanding that ‘and’ brings on a lot more power and authenticity. Strong, powerful, in control, and authentic and vulnerable as opposed to strong, powerful, and in control or authentic and vulnerable. Wow, a whole new realization.
I share this because it came full circle when I was sitting with these two professional young ladies who were taking the company over from their mom. During the conversation, I felt that I just wasn’t connecting with them. I was very well dressed and looked like a million bucks as they say. I stopped and asked, “Could I address the elephant in the room?” With a puzzled look, they replied, “Sure.” I said, “I’m sure you’re looking at me like I totally have my act together and there’s no way I can possibly relate to what you’re going through with the challenges in your business.” They concurred on that’s exactly what they were thinking. I then asked, “Is it all right if I share how I got here?” I then proceeded and share my story of all the adversity that I had to go through losing my brother and crawling and scratching back to get to where I was. And I simply said, “Whatever you’ve been through, whatever you’re going through, or whatever you’re about to go through, I’ve been there, and I am the right person to be your coach, to coach you through whatever you’re going through.”
They looked at each other, and nodded their head with a, “We’re good to go.” They became a client. Why? Because I was able to take my guard down, open up, show my vulnerability and authenticity as well as my strength and power, and they were now able to relate.
I share this for all you high-A personality type leaders who feel you need to be on your A game and need to be strong, powerful, and in control all the time. Consider being vulnerable and authentic at certain times so your team and people can more relate to you. Because if we’re always walking around like we have our act together, people who may be going through similar circumstances or where they may be struggling, they may feel that we cannot relate to them. When you take your strong and powerful and combine it with the authenticity and vulnerability that you’ve been there, that you’ve struggled, that you fought through the fires to get to where you are, and you can be there for them as they’re going through the same, that’s how you make connections and become a much better leader. Try it. It’s worked for me.
Remember, vulnerability is not a weakness. Vulnerability is power.
COACH MICHAEL DILL is an Award-Winning Certified Business Coach, global speaker, and published author. He is a proud Action Coach Franchise partner as well as the President of Power & Ice Wealth Creation a strategic leadership company that works with business owners, leaders, teams, and entrepreneurs to both develop a systematized and structured organization while accelerating their mindset, efficiencies, and effectiveness to grow both personally and professionally to achieve extraordinary results. He brings more than 40 years of business and entrepreneurial experience in his leadership, team training, and mentoring practice. Businesscoachmichaeldill.com