I recently read a book called “Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown. It was a great book that focused on how the courage to be vulnerable can transform how we lead and live our lives. I must say that I was thoroughly engaged as I read the book as it ties into the work that I am looking to do, but also it made sense, I would highly recommend that everyone give this book a read, happy to loan my copy of the book upon request.  This particular blog post isn’t to rave about the book, although it easily could be, this post is about what the word and meaning of HELP. While reading the book on a train ride to New York, I observed a woman struggling to get her bag into the overhead bin. A gentleman offered to help the woman with her bag, she abruptly responded with a strong no then continued to struggle with her bag, finally getting it into the overhead bin after some time. While observing this, several thoughts raced through my head, several about the woman, the man who offered assistance, about myself, but the one that stuck in my head long after observing the interaction, was the word HELP.

Why does the word, for many people, mean weakness, failure, vulnerability, and many other negative feelings or descriptors? For other people, they are quite comfortable asking for HELP, some may say a little too comfortable (think the freeloader, riding coattails). With these ends of the spectrum, the person that doesn’t want help, and the freeloader, where is the norm/balance?

I have read several books and articles that state you can’t make it/be successful without help. As I thought about this and the balance piece I came to the balance residing in giving out what you receive. For me, it is being vulnerable and willing to ask for HELP, which most people are willing to give, but also that you are vulnerable and willing to HELP others. If this give and take is not in some way in balance, (i.e., you don’t have to HELP the same person that HELPED you), a person can easily drift to either end of the spectrum.

As I stumble through my thoughts, and probably this post, it further highlights for me the main message of the book and how powerful vulnerability can be, on so many levels. After completing the book, I asked myself how vulnerable am I, and how much do I show. After some serious thought, I realized that I don’t show/share my vulnerability with others often, leading me to make one of my goals for the remainder of 2012 going forward to be more vulnerable and share/show more in my life, which has been challenging and rewarding so far….

How vulnerable are you? How often do you show your vulnerability? What could it do for you?

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