The vulnerability of the business owner

Vulnerability is basically uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. ~Brene Brown
Business owners are often indistinguishable from their businesses. Our self-worth and our identity are all tied up in our business performance. When the business performs well, we’re champions; when it doesn’t, we can feel worthless. Each of our decisions, good, or bad, nudge our business one way or another. Luck, fortune, and the global economy also get their licks in — shaping our success, or failure, in ways we don’t want to admit. And all of that, or a good amount at least, is out there for our employees, our clients, even our family and friends, to see. So ✅ uncertainty, ✅ risk, and ✅ emotional exposure; all there, all the time.

What happens when we live in this degree of vulnerability all the time?

I see a lot of newer business owners try to hide from the vulnerability. I know I tried to  “fake it ‘till I made it” and posed as having a bigger, more successful business than I had, to protect my ego and hide my vulnerability. After a while, hiding doesn’t work so well, because when we hide we feel like we can’t get help to our questions and problems — and we need help! So we get over it (a little). We learn to ask for help, and we have some success, which makes the vulnerability more tolerable. Until something terrible happens; a presentation goes poorly, a client fires us, a key employee quits. In those situations all eyes turn to you — how’s “the boss” going to respond? Now we’re right back to feeling very vulnerable… uncertain, risk averse, and exposed. Do I blow up and take the emotion of the whole office with me? Do I hold it together and then yell at my kids when I get home? How do I deal with this kind of “defeat”? This vulnerability demands that business owners grow their emotional capacity to clean out the closets in their souls and develop their emotional intelligence “muscles” to be able to lead their teams positively and maturely. If you aren’t doing that, you are holding back your business growth and your growth as a person. When do you feel really vulnerable at work? Are you OK with that, or does it make you want to run and hide?

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