The first time I did stand-up, I was 8 months pregnant. I committed to the show in support of my improv troupe. If they were going to do open mic, I had to as well. I was nervous and completely vulnerable. My first line was “Yes, I’m purposefully knocked up! So, if you don’t laugh, I’m going to cry…. Honestly, who am I kidding I’ll probably cry anyway, for no reason!” Thank God they laughed. There’s nothing like a little masochistic humor! Was I stupid or brave? That’s a question I ask myself a lot. I asked it when I went back to school after being out for over 10 years. I continued to do stand-up. I had children. I moved to Chicago with nothing but one friend and a small savings. My first class at Second City, every new venture or conference. I would never change these vulnerable moments for the world, especially those two boys.
Research actually backs up the importance of being vulnerable. “Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.” – Brené Brown
When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we allow ourselves to grow. Protecting, isolating, and combating only stops our growth and our potential. Vulnerability is truly our biggest strength. I deal with students, businesses, and clients that are so afraid to make mistakes that they become complacent, stagnant, and miserable!
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”- Brené Brown (link to her Tedtalk below).
Vulnerability is strength. Our reactions to being vulnerable are fight, flight or opossum (where you literally play or pray you are dead, I see this in a lot of students). I use improvisational games in my conferences, workshops, and classroom. The rule of 'Yes and...' is to accept whatever is given to you and produce something. This exposes people to vulnerability so they can move toward growth, innovation, and creativity.
My friend/guru, Richard Levey, once told me “Wherever you are right now (good or bad), Brooklin, is exactly where you are supposed to be. So, find peace in knowing you don’t have control over the past or the future. The only thing you have is now.”
Thinking you can control life is a lie we tell ourselves that only stunts our growth. Our only promise is knowing change is inevitable (reminds me I really need to go to Coinstar).
-Take a class.
-Ask someone out! - (Valentine's day just passed so no gifting! -Cheapo).
-Try a new therapy for your health.
-Go somewhere new or take a new route.
-Apply for anything. - (I know Bankruptcy makes me nervous)!
-Be open. Non-verbally, go an entire day without crossing your arms or legs.
-Conquer a fear.