This particular message is making me throw up in my mouth a little.
I call these “vomit moments” and I’ve learned they are hands-down the single best predictor of the path I am meant to walk. They’re like gastronomic trail markers, those moments. They say,
“Hear that? Feel that? Go there. That’s what you need to step into.”
So that happened to me. Just now. I was listening to Brene Brown’s most recent TED Talk thanks to a client forwarding it to me. It’s a follow-up to her first talk on “The Power of Vulnerability” she gave at Houston’s TEDx in 2010. In this one, she reflects on the “vulnerability headache” she had after giving that talk and having it go viral and become one of the top five all-time viewed talks. In debriefing this unexpected turn of events with a good friend, she realized,
“There was a part of me that was working very hard to engineer staying small. Staying right under the radar”
That’s when I felt the moment of vomit hit. I literally had to hit pause and walk away from the computer. It was like a sonic blast to my chest, pushing me to my feet with its force. Needless to say, it got my attention. I felt, well, vulnerable, because it was like she was looking at me, seeing my engineering-small ways…
This particular vomit moment was coming on the heels of me reading through all these testimonials people have sent to me over the years – e-mails, cards, and letters that praise my work, thank me for doing it in the world, and encourage me to do more of it, bigger. Right before I watched this video (which is probably no accident…), I read this one:
“You are quite talented at bringing women together. I have seen it on a small-ish scale, and a large scale (the retreat). I encourage you to keep expanding the ways in which this might manifest. Different venues, different topics, incorporating multimedia, something at Merrill Auditorium, grow, expand, reach for the stars. You are capable of impacting a lot of women. You are a natural Producer.”
My reaction? Oh, that’s so nice.
Nice!? That’s all I’ve got?
After listening to that sonic blast line from Brene Brown, I suspect it’s a whole lot more than that.
I suspect it’s the truth. And my reaction was to get busy engineering to stay small. And comfortable.
So I’m now I’m going to swallow, watch the rest of this talk, and let my life unfold accordingly (in that order).
I’m sure tomorrow I’ll be suffering from a “vulnerability hangover”, but today…today I’m choosing vulnerability.