As a result of much change happening in my life, lately I’ve been feeling quite vulnerable.
When I say vulnerable, what I mean is that I’ve been taking a lot of risks, both financially and personally, and haven’t been in a very comfortable place.
I used to live a life of ultimate comfort: I was a stay at home mum to three kids, with a wonderfully supportive husband who took care of us unfailingly and with love and affection (he still does). My days were spent shopping, meeting friends for coffee and taking care of my three precious babies. My biggest money concern was whether I’d have enough left over from my monthly budget to buy a new pair of shoes, or a nice new purse. Life was good.
But I wasn’t happy.
I mean, I was happy, but I wasn’t fulfilled. If truth be told, I was also a little bored. There’s only so many times you can see your friends in a week, and only so many coffees you can drink in one day. My children are amazing, but they’re not great for stimulating conversation.
I drank too much wine on the weekend, in a bid to feel alive.
I numbed the boredom I felt each day, by keeping myself phenomenally busy.
I spent too much money on frivolous things.
I became obsessed with my body image and spent hours on beautifying myself, in an attempt to feel better.
But the problem with numbing the negative feelings in your life, is that you also numb the positive ones.
As Brene Brown found out from her research, you cannot selectively numb. When you numb the feelings of boredom, discontent or upset, you inadvertently numb the feelings of joy, happiness and belonging. It’s the yin and the yang: you cannot have one, without the other.
One of my mentors Keith Raniere calls it the “emotional bandwidth”. He claims that the extent to which you allow yourself to feel pain or sorrow, is in direct correlation to the extent which you allow yourself to feel joy. How far you choose to feel on one side, will dictate how far you get to feel on the other.
When I started my company, I began to move out of my comfort zone. I started to take risks, and began to feel a little daily dose of fear. In the beginning I still chose to numb the fear (and drank more wine); but as the fear became normal, and I began not to fear the fear and I started to move forward: I took on more risk, and felt more fear (and drank less wine). I embraced my feelings of vulnerability and realised that they were a necessary requirement for growth and progress.
I began to feel not only more fear, but also more joy.
I felt fulfilled, happy and content in a way that I never had before. Most importantly, I felt truly alive for the first time ever. And that alone, is worth every single moment of vulnerability.