• Ariana Friedlander

Four Reflection Questions for Being Vulnerable Without Being Self-Effacing

Ariana facilitated a panel on Self-Publishing Without Losing Your Shirt or Your Soul


I’ve been speaking a lot at various events in the last few weeks, sharing the Misfit Entrepreneur’s story and encouraging others to be the master of their own entrepreneurial journeys. It’s been thrilling, rewarding and scary (as is always the case when you’re putting yourself out there)! Standing in front of a group of strangers and telling your stories of failure is not typically how people approach speaking engagements. And yet, we know that those real moments of falling down and how you got back up are where true connection happens.

When I first learned about the powers of vulnerability in business I took it too far. I had a coach once tell me that I needed to stop being so self-effacing! Apparently, I didn’t do a good job of processing how I was showing my authenticity…I just laid it out there in a way that lessened my power and influence.

At first I didn’t get it. “But this is my authentic self!” I said. I’m a little bit sophisticated with a lot of goofy and I’m not afraid to show my imperfections. It was a tough lesson to learn, but eventually I realized I could draw boundaries with my vulnerability and be my true self.

“But this is my authentic self!” I said. I’m a little bit sophisticated with a lot of goofy and I’m not afraid to show my imperfections.

Pastor and author, Nadia Bolz-Weber summarized being vulnerable beautifully when she said, “I always try to preach from my scars and not my wounds.”

Publishing A Misfit Entrepreneur’s Guide really challenged me to put these ideas to the test as I committed to sharing the musings of my personal journal with the world…that by far is the most vulnerable thing I have ever done. And while I have stumbled along the way, the benefits have far outweighed the risks.

It turns out that being your authentic self without being self-effacing is magnetic. My story doesn’t resonate with everyone but it

So if you’re struggling with how to be your authentic, vulnerable self, ponder these four reflection questions before you lay it all out there:

– What about myself am I considering sharing? – Why am I compelled to share this story? – Am I comfortable with people knowing this about me? Why or why not?

After reflecting, you may realize that you still need to process things before you’re ready to be vulnerable. That’s great, give yourself the time and space to work through it. It’s not like I decided to share my journal musings then hit publish the next day! It took me years to prepare to be that vulnerable.

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We also hosted our first Misfit Entrepreneur’s Hangout of the year just last week. Save the date, our next Misfit Entrepreneur’s Hangout will be on Tuesday April 4, 4:00-5:30pm.

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