Note From Elise: Why Vulnerability in Business is Your Strength
My family can tell you, I'm a pretty private person. I don't like sharing feelings. I bottle things up. Confrontation is my worst nightmare. However, after running RINGLET for two years, I've slowly come to realize that this facade of "having my stuff together" wasn't helping me. In fact, it's worked against me in ways that I never expected.
As women in business, it's no secret that we have to work even harder and smarter then men in order to establish ourselves. But sometimes, I think this toughness can turn into an armor: an armor of judgement, fear and distance. Who hasn't paused to think whether they should really share their latest struggle with a colleague or fellow entrepreneur out of worry that somehow the truth would expose you as a fraud? Talking about the falls and trips that inevitably happen in the star-up world isn't easy to talk about and can leave you feeling naked.
Vulnerability can be just plain uncomfortable. To reach out to a fellow entrepreneur and talk about the hard lessons that business has taught you is frightening. To reveal your hopes, dreams, mistakes and lessons learned inherently requires courage and strength. Vulnerability is not for the faint of heart. I've come to realize that in business, vulnerability has become my biggest strength.
I started RINGLET because I saw a need in the market: women-owned businesses in D.C. needed a marketing agency that could take care of all of their marketing and branding needs without the huge budget minimum. I'm passionate about empowering women to take their businesses to the next level. So many women have these amazing dreams of cultivating these incredible businesses, yet without vulnerability, we could never improve their systems, marketing and sales. My first step with clients is to sit down and map out their vision for their business. Obviously, this requires vulnerability, on both sides. My clients have to trust me enough to share their heart, their hopes and their fears. I have to be vulnerable enough to listen without judgement and share my own journey in business.
Vulnerability creates authentic connection and connection builds strength. By creating connection based on vulnerability, you have the ability to establish true relationships that will last. Building a business is hard work and the more support you have the more likely you are to succeed. Don't waste time in fear: reach out to other entrepreneurs, family, and understanding friends who are going to cheer you on when the going gets tough and celebrate when you reach your goals. Vulnerability may be scary but it's worth the risk!