The Price, Prize, and Power of Vulnerability



What does it take to go after your true desires in life? What if you took a chance on going after what you believe in? What kind of person would you be or what would you do with your life if fear or judgment were non-existent?

Fear can freeze you and restrict you from moving in the direction you want. What is it that we fear? Maybe we fear the unknown.... shame...or the possibility of exposing ourself to harm and criticism.

Some of us hear the word vulnerability and immediately associate it to weakness. Why? I think it could be a cultural or societal thing. 

She can whisper in your ear and tell you to be a certain way and to refrain from acting out or in other words being yourself.

People who are brave enough to go off the beaten path and follow their heart attain the strength to enter a world of unknown, possible criticism and surrendering to vulnerability. Every great leader or successful individual, entrepreneur or talent had to embrace vulnerability throughout their lives.

It simply means that you’re confident in pursuing your goals, desires, intentions, and that you’re okay with all the consequences that follow. It’s a vicious world but in order to make it out on top you have to be willing to take risks and possible blows.

Russell Wilson of Seattle Superhawks once asked “Do you think I would have a Super Bowl Ring if I listened to everyone who said I was too short to play in the NFL?”.

Imagine that guy's story. People probably laughed at him during his young football career. 

You pay a price for going after what you want, showing your true identity to the world, and expressing who you are as a person.

What price is that?

It’s the risk of possibly failing at your dreams or a business idea. Perhaps it's the fear of getting your "feelings hurt" for displaying an expression of yourself or coming to terms with the reality that people will not find your art appealing. The price of being seen as a fool or sharing your blog to the world only for some people to take you as a bored “rich” kid who thinks he’s deep. 


The Price

I recently saw a Ted Talk on YouTube by Brene Browns called The Power Of Vulnerability and Listening to Shame.

She talks about having the worst “Vulnerability Hangover” the day after her Ted Talk and waking up the next day terrified of 500 people viewing her video on YouTube and that her life will be over if it reaches 2000 views. She actually ended up reaching 4 million views.

I couldn’t help but to think back to the first time I ever performed live with my band. I woke up the next morning with a vulnerability hangover. I was terrified. It was a feeling very unusual to me. I was scared of opening my eyes and starting my day.

I was 21, loved playing guitar and singing but rarely shared my musical side to close friends, let alone a packed bar. I exposed a vulnerable side of myself to the world. My biggest fear was facing criticism and being judged. 

Well, as time passed and shows went on I faced the whiplash of that fear in a crushing fashion. We usually left a video camera rolling to record our shows.

During one show, the camera happened to be located very close to a group of outspoken attendees that probably didn't realize the camera was recording or failed to see it at all.

They went on to annihilate us with their opinions saying how shitty our music is and specifically tearing me apart as the frontman.

I wish I can remember the specific words but watching that video and listening to their insults as my 21 year old self was a feeling I held onto for a long time. It ruined my day, I couldn’t even look at my guitar for a few days.

I remember watching it over and over again and just being destroyed.

However, listening to that as my 26 year old self is just something I expect. I actually love hearing people's perspectives on things - as long as it's not malicious. I appreciate honesty and constructive criticism. For example, sharing my thoughts to the world can be unsettling if I spend my energy thinking about it.

There may be people who read this and dislike what I have to say, ask “who does this guy think he is?”, or just find what I blog about irrelevant and unrelated to their views.

That’s fine though - not everyone can relate nor should I expect them too. As frightening as putting yourself out there can be, it’s just as necessary. 

You’ve got the good, the bad, and the ugly - it just depends which one of those you spend most of your time looking at.

Shit, have you guys seen the comment sections of published articles or YouTube videos? It’s not pretty. 

If you’re goal is to please every single person - you’re going to get discouraged very quickly.

Not only that, but I could imagine it being a hinderance to the process of your personal development.

Sadly, the more you portray who you really are as a person the more exposure you have of being attacked. But for every price paid, a prize is gained.


The Prize

Being vulnerable is highly courageous and inspirational.

Brene Browns states how vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity, innovation, and change. You’ve now entered a world of authenticity.

You give yourself the opportunity to move people who are spectating near and far.

In addition, by making yourself vulnerable you’ve given people the courage to do the same. 

If you can connect with one person then you’re a success in my book. If one person reaches out to you praising your work, stating that you’ve moved them or inspired them, that they love what you’re doing or whatever it is then you’re onto something.

Go with it.

You’re doing what you love anyhow and you’re positively impacting and helping people in the process. Every time you send out what you’ve created to the universe just keep in mind why you do it and those people who you do it for.

It’s been proven that you’re doing something right.

Don’t stop!

Don’t get discouraged by the naysayers and hate club. Instead use them as a tool for improving your skills, fuel for your motivation, and a measuring stick for progress.

There’s a quote that says the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are often the ones who do.

Surround yourself around those people. Their mere presence and encouragement will push you far. These dreamers and doers are contagious.

We all have people in our lives who see greatness within us especially when we can't see it in ourself - hold onto those gems.  

If you spend more time at a craft and can withstand making more mistakes in the process than anyone else, you will become a master of your craft.

That alone, gives you the power to make an impact.

It’s a matter of what you do with it, how crazy you believe in yourself and how far you go with it. 


The Power

Becoming comfortable with vulnerability is a challenging task. At least for me. I have a friend who didn't speak to one of her best friends for months because of a nasty disagreement they got into.

They said some terrible things to each other which destroyed their relationship. Both were too stubborn. They were holding onto the resentment.

I could tell my friend was affected by this situation even months after the occurrence. You could tell she still had a lot of love for her friend.

Perhaps, the only thing in the way was fear of how her friend would respond or maybe one of them thought the other person to be someone who they're not. It could've been an ego thing.

As you could see so many confusing scenarios, what ifs, and absolutely no definitive answers. 

After much thought she developed the courage to reach out to her friend. She simply apologized and told her how much she still cares about their friendship regardless of everything that happened. And now they’re friends again. It may not be the same as it was but it's a new start. Perhaps a new start to something better.

She took a leap of faith into the land of vulnerability and came out on top. We think about shit way too much and forget how short life is.

At the end of the day if you want something, someone, or you’re looking for the change you desire start becoming comfortable with making yourself uncomfortable.

You know that shaky feeling you get when you're about to do something daring but you get stuck in your head and worry about the judgement of others. And then the fear starts piling up and you give yourself 76 excuses why you shouldn’t.

So what do you do? You turn around and go home.

Well I’m telling you not to go home! Kick that door down and slay that dragon. Forget about the idea of emotional exposure.

Come to peace with whatever you find on the other side of that door. In the end it will only bring more clarity to your life.

By taking a step back and accepting things at face value you allow yourself to refocus your energy, if need be, towards things that promote positive growth instead of things that drain you.  

It’s actually a very cathartic feeling. As Brown states “by pushing through those doors you are doing something far more healthy and transformative”.

Holding grudges is unhealthy.

If you care about someone just realize how short life is. Make the change you want to see. We complicate things as humans.

Some of you may or may not agree with these types of thought patterns but I feel like sometimes some of us may miss someone but we feel obligated to tell ourselves we don’t.

So we pretend. 

Or if we want to meet up with someone we aren't sure if they want the same so we convince ourself that a text will make it easy for them to reject and if we call them it might come off as too aggressive or forward.

So we just wait. 

If we don’t like something we keep our opinion to ourselves because we’re too afraid of hurting someone.

So we hide. 

Or if we love someone and tell them - we feel like we’ll scare them away.

An average person lives about 27,500 days and if you're anywhere near my age you have about 18000 days left. Let that sink in. 

Be brave and become comfortable with vulnerability. 

I leave you with this quote. Hopefully it simplifies matters and brings peace of mind whenever you struggle with a decision. 


Why Complicate Life?

Missing Somebody?….Call.
Want to meet up?….Invite.
Have a question?….Ask.
Don’t like something?….Say.
Like something?…..State it.
Want something?….Ask for it.
Love someone?….Tell them.

Nobody will know what’s going on in your mind. It’s better to express rather than to expect. You already have the No, take the risk of getting the Yes. Life is short so keep it simple.


- Anthony Awadalla