If we want to reap the benefits of authentic relationships, vulnerability is pretty much required.
That’s especially true on steemit, a platform that is all about transparency and candid communication. From my short time here I have learned that integrity, candor, and vulnerability are foundational values within this community.
But what does it mean to be vulnerable?
I’ll tell you what it means (to me) to be vulnerable in a moment, but first, here’s what I think most people are looking for:
To have meaning. People want to feel like they are connected to something useful that might make a difference in their lives or the lives of people they know. They want to see how they fit in, and to feel like they have a role to play. Everyone is looking for community! Which brings me to...
Meaningful relationships with others. Everyone craves connection with other people, it’s in our DNA. We especially crave connection with people who have similar values and interests.
To have their voice heard.Everyone has an opinion, and everyone needs a place where they can be heard and engaged. We all need to know that others fully understand the opinions and feelings we are expressing, and even better if they see value in our contributions!
Which leads me back to vulnerability. Finally (I know, right?)!
The state of being vulnerable allows you to be open to other people: capable of hearing them, connecting with them, validating their life experience, and fully sharing your own experiences without self judgement or critique. Vulnerability is truly a gift for you and the people you surround yourself with.
Right, but this is steemit. Yea, I know!
On this platform, connection is key. You’re going to read a bajillion articles on this--and I’m here to reinforce it once more--there’s nothing more important than real human connection on this platform. You are your brand. Your brand integrity is your integrity. How you will conduct yourself, and whether you’ll let it all hang out there, is up to you!
To me, being vulnerable is writing about things that might scare me. It’s sharing my art and projects without self-judgement as to whether they’ll be good enough. It’s listening to the opinions and feedback I receive and incorporating it into my work for next time. It’s making friends and stopping back by their sites to see what they’re up to and to support them the same way they support me. Secret: to be clear I’m no expert.
Being vulnerable isn’t easy. Maybe I should have said that at the start.
Yesterday I wrote a post about the moment I decided to finally break with a standard day job and go full freelance. It’s been scary! I’ve questioned every day whether I’m ready, or have the skills to build a business on my own without the structure and resources of an organization. I feel...vulnerable. But, I’m pretty good at covering it up and acting profesh.
But I noticed, when I wrote just one sentence in my post about how I was really feeling--that’s what people picked up on in the comments: they responded to my vulnerability! And, the post blew up with votes and payout!
Creating a vulnerable space for creativity and engagement on your blog won’t be easy. It will take personal energy and investment because you’ll be putting you--the real you--out there on the line. But it will be worth it. Give it a shot, and see what happens!