Growing up as the youngest of three often felt as if I had to catch up with my siblings. There is a rather large age gap between us and being one of three boys made it fairly competitive between us. Don’t get me wrong I love my brothers, and today the age gap is irrelevant but at the time I felt like I had to get it together fast in order to keep up.
That’s a lot of self-imposed pressure for a kid which continued well into how I’ve led my adult life. As I’ve become more self-aware over the years, I‘ve learned to let go of the need to look good, or know it all, or be the smartest person in the room, and have embraced the power of vulnerability.
I didn’t get here on my own. I had access to tools, mentors, and people who didn’t sell me out along my journey of self-growth. One of the ways I got in touch with my deeper emotions was through a push.
A push is a methodology I was introduced to about 11 years ago. It’s a way to physically move against a barrier, while being prompted about circumstances that are causing distress. Women tend to be more evolved than men when it comes to being in touch with their emotions and being willing to be vulnerable.
Change is definitely in the air for men learning to be more open, but it does not come easy to all men, and in some cases women too. I was very angry one time with a situation that had happened with a business partner. I felt taken advantage of and was a mix of depressed and pissed off.
I had so many emotions tied up in a ball, I didn’t even know where to start to unravel all of them. I knew I was angry at the individual, and at the outcomes. A group of 10 men stood in front of me, held me and challenged me to push my way through them.
The need to push and to break through was a physical initiative tied to a conscious action. They were pushing me to also say what I really felt, without filters, without fears, with no risk of retribution. I was free to scream, be angry, curse, and do say whatever I needed to say to off-load all the pent-up anger, pressure, and shame.
The combination of physically having to push and being pushed emotionally cracked me wide open. I could finally unload the burden and be free of it.
After I was done doing all that, I was interviewed about my feelings, and since I was raw and open, I was vulnerable and through some good coaching I connected to the real source of my pain.
I felt not good enough, not worthy enough, I felt shame, and I was really angry at myself for not having enough self-worth to have handled things differently to begin with. In the final analysis I had created the outcomes and my feelings.
That was a hard pill to swallow, after having pointed the finger at someone else for the “cause” of “my feelings” for so long. As I say that today it sounds funny to me. It sounds absurd. How could anyone be the cause of my feelings? They are my feelings; I am in charge of them.
I was also lucky that those men did not sell me out. Sadly, we sell people out all the time. We don’t reflect the truth to them out of fear of conflict, or loss, and when we do it’s not always from a place of love, but rather anger.
Those men loved me deeply, because they knew one simple truth. I was a mirror for their own growth opportunity. My vulnerability gave way for them to be vulnerable too. While some would see the scene as me being the student in need of help, the truth is I was being the teacher, and the student at the same time.
“The secret behind being vulnerable is that the one most vulnerable becomes the teacher, and the student. That’s when real growth happens and that’s living a fully self-aware life.”
The push gave way to being open to seeing the truth. The truth had nothing to do with the other person at all. That’s the beginning of healing. Healing starts in becoming fully self-accountable.
I was so moved by that experience, and many more since then in the past 11 years coaching people on a volunteer capacity, that I decided to create a podcast show and make the same tools and methodologies available to anyone willing to be courageous.
I created Rant (the push) & Grow (the self-reflection and awareness) to make these tools available to the masses. It is my desire that people listening will not feel so alone in their situations, and more importantly not feel shame from being in difficult situations.
When I was younger, my ego wanted me to look good all the time, as a result I was not authentic, I carried lots of shame around being willing to ask for help. I was disconnected from my inner-self and could not be vulnerable. Being vulnerable was scary.
Today when I coach people in groups, I always lead by saying that the most powerful is the one willing to be the most vulnerable.
When you are vulnerable you give permission to other to do the same, and this enables more authentic relationships based on trust and mutual respect. That’s when life really flourishes, and we begin to experience bliss on a regular basis. That’s when we break free of self-imposed ideas about ourselves that are not rooted in self-love.
“Vulnerability is the beginning of the most rewarding love affair of your life. A love affair with the real you. The authentic, beautifully imperfect you.”
Please check out the latest episode of Rant & Grow right here. In this episode I describe the show with my friend Eric. Just hit the play button and enjoy it.