Vulnerability Accelerates Connectivity while Networking
“When you are present, and live between the seconds you are vulnerable. When vulnerable you learn to see the abundance of opportunity that awaits you every day.You can freely innovate and create with the tools that are present. Opportunities and experiences that we normally would have missed will be there for the benefit, insight, and alignment of the self with the rest of humanity.” - Mike Watson, Personal Development Consultant, emcmike.com.
About a month ago I was almost stopped dead in my tracks. I was poised to make a left hand turn when I was rear-ended at about 40 mph. After the initial shock of the impact and making sure my son and I were fine, I decided I would make the most of the moment. My goal was to treat the other driver (Roy) like I would want to be treated. Intentionally identifying the moment as an opportunity, I got out of my car as Roy approached me apologizing up and down. He shook his head in disbelief, he hadn't seen me and didn't know what had happened.
I said, “You are lucky you ran into such a nice person and you seem like one too.” I then hopefully inquired, “do you have insurance?”
Roy said, “Yes, of course.”
“Well, so do I. This is small stuff; no worries.”
My car was barely scathed; but his was totaled. It had been a meticulously cared for, 2006 Mercedes convertible, with only 24,000 miles on it. Even I (not a car enthusiast) could tell it was a treasured vehicle. We had intermittent, pleasant exchanges over the next hour as we waited for the police, his filling out of the report and eventually the arrival of a tow truck. Finally, it was time to say goodbye.
I told Roy, ”I hope your day gets better from this point forward.”
His eyes filled with tears and he said, “Life isn't going too well right now.”
His shoulders and head sagged, “That cemetery on the hill there is where I recently buried my 53 year old son. Not only was he my son, he was the CEO of my company and he was my top salesman. I was going to get lunch for the office when I ran into you. I have been thrust out of retirement trying to get our business going again.”
My heart went out to him. I also had tears now. I said, “Roy you were meant to bump into me, because you needed a hug and a chance to share. I am glad we met. I hope you and your wife can hold together and get through these times.” Much more was said, and because of the vulnerability and openness that Roy shared with me our chance encounter, initially negative, turned into an opportunity to bond. I would go to bat for him if he needed something in the future. It was amazing to me that under stressful circumstances we were able to get to know each other. I respected his strength and ability to endure his pain.
According to Mike Watson:
“Vulnerability is a characteristic often associated with weakness, when in reality it reflects an inner strength of character. It allows for insight of the self, and serves as an invitation to others to see you honestly, without the layers or filters we tend to adopt as social defense mechanisms. Ultimately, it is the understanding that being vulnerable allows you to outlast what you had hoped for, so that you can be present enough to experience what is already there.”
I don’t know what other opportunities will come from my meeting Roy. However, I do know that what unfolded that day could not have been predicted. Exposing our pain and tribulation to someone can feel risky; it involves the courage to be vulnerable. With that courage brings a hope to relate on a deeper level. We should realize that special moments are waiting to be experienced, and we must be mindfully present to let them unfold.