Be Vulnerable
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

Being vulnerable is often the last thing we want to be. As an individual performer, team member, or leader, being vulnerable seems like a big risk. It’s not. It’s the boldest way you can live!

My first career was as a military officer in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, NY. I was a newly minted 2nd Lieutenant. I was asked to lead soldiers who had more years of experience in the Army – sometimes decades more. To be honest, it was downright intimidating. My first instinct was to act like I knew exactly what to do. I learned right away that would be a mistake. Luckily, my senior officer and some senior noncommissioned officers noticed I was trying hard to succeed and helped me out. They did so without embarrassing me in front of other soldiers. I was (and still am) grateful for this lesson in humility.

How was I able to get their help? To truly get someone else to help us we must be vulnerable. We must genuinely ask for help. If we are honest about it, and committed to learning and achieving, an amazing thing happens. Others step forward to help us. I have witnessed this time and time again. People are genuinely good people. They want to help. If we are nice to them, and ask for help, they help! Why? It’s built into our DNA.

Humans have needed to help each other to stay alive and flourish for our entire existence. We are built to be together—and need each other. It may seem like the world is a hostile place, and it sometimes can be, but others are mostly on our side. However, we do need to be bold enough to ask for their help. Acting like we know it all and can do it on our own shuts others out. People will give us our space to fail. But, if we ask them for help, my experience is they do help.

What is your experience with being vulnerable and asking for help? Do people come forward with useful and timely solutions? What can you do to help others who have shown they need your help? How would you help them? How can we empower others to help those in need as well? As leaders, it is our job to go “all in” on helping our teammates be successful. If that is the case, then we need to model being vulnerable and asking for help. If we don’t do it, neither will they. When this happens, everyone is worse off.

In this season of giving, give the gift of being both vulnerable and helpful. It’s the boldest and kindest gift you can give to another person. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!