I’m not sure if you clicked and opened this link because you usually do, or if the subject line piqued your curiosity, but either way, I’m glad you did. There’s something important I want to share.
When I worked at MoveStudio as Marketing Manager, I was responsible for the community email that went out to several thousand people each week. On average, our open statistics were par with industry averages, about 15 to 20%.
Unless there was inclement weather.
In Dallas, when it snows or ices, the city basically shuts down. Schools, government agencies, businesses, everyone wants to know, what’s open, what’s closed. We burrow and watch the world fold into itself. I love this about Dallas. Coming from Chicago, driving to work through piles of snow and ice, it’s a relief that we just don’t do that here.
So here’s what’s fascinating. At MoveStudio, if we sent out an inclement weather studio closing email, our open statistics went through the roof. Even though, I guarantee, most of those opens were not people who had planned on coming that night.
Thousands of people wanted to read about our decision to close the studio for dangerous conditions outside. We typically had maybe 75 to 100 people walk through our door each night for yoga and dance classes. Not thousands.
Then our regular studio communications would resume, most people would go back to scrolling past our emails, just like the research shows, what most people do with most weekly emails.
Why was that? What could explain this strange phenomenon?
Although I haven’t worked for the studio in a few years, this curiosity always stuck with me.
And I realize, people love inclement weather closings. Whether they are affected by them personally or not.
This week, over lunch with my wise and perceptive dear friend, Jessica, a friend who is also in the helping profession, we talked about vulnerability, revealing our truth, admitting to our struggles and the impact these brave practices have on our businesses.
I wondered aloud, does vulnerability hurt my business?
I am certain there will be more opens on this post than my average.
I have also noticed I get the most click-throughs when I am revealing a struggle, a pain or a personal issue.
Why? Part of me wants to center the explanation around about people’s love for drama, that they actually enjoy watching someone struggle. That there’s a spectator in all of us that loves to grab the popcorn and watch the show.
The other part of me wonders if it’s something deeper.
The question of how vulnerability impacts my business has become increasingly relevant lately because I am learning more and more, to be vulnerable.
I am learning to reveal what is true, what is current, what is alive in me, and that isn’t always pretty, or comfortable, and it doesn’t always fit with the image people have of me, or the persona I have created.
I’ve been meditating on this lately, because it matters to me more than ever.
Do people love my inclement weather more than they love me?
Is it okay for my business if I reveal my own struggles, my own journey, my own humanity?
Will you still hire me to support you, if you know that I’m still working through my own shit?
Here’s what I think will happen, the more I reveal to you, the more I share my vulnerabilities and struggles with you…
Some, just a few hopefully, really do just want to watch me fall, with sadistic pleasure. These are the ones that revel in other people’s failures and struggles so that they can feel superior. In today’s lexicon, we call them “The Haters.”
Some will be disappointed, and withdraw or disengage, because I am not living up to whatever they were projecting onto me, and my human flaws and frailties and struggles become unappealing, in their search for a hero, an icon, a one-dimensional caricature of what they wish I was, projections of what they wish they were.
But, I want to believe, that some, hopefully you reading this, will draw closer to me, and my work, when they understand that I am always in process, just like them. And any projection of perfection or “having it all together” placed on me was one that they created, and that I perpetuated, (and the other way around) in order to feel safe.
They are the ones that might even breathe a sigh of relief, and they will feel a little less alone in their struggles.
I am a little nervous to find out which you are. No matter what, I’ll be okay.
If you find yourself in the last group, thank you. I’m glad you’re here.
Now let’s take care of one another.
Because I am in it, with you.
We are in this together.
I’ve been doing a hell of a lot of work this year, in supportive community and on my own. I told a group I’m in that I feel like I am dissolving. But really, upon more thought, I said: It’s my shellac. It’s crumbling off. This shiny protective covering I’ve worked so hard to maintain, it’s losing its hold. It’s becoming obsolete. I am no longer interested in presenting just that version of me to the world. There’s so much more under here.
But that’s scary. Terrifying even. And exhilarating, too. It’s a striptease of the soul. What if you don’t like what you see?
It’s not that what you’ve seen up til now, if you’ve been following my work, isn’t real. It’s simply that there’s so much more.
Just like you.
What do you show? What do you reveal? How do you decide?
This is how we do it: One truth at a time. One reveal. One vulnerable moment. One brave share at a time.
Let’s do this together. I’m committed.
So yeah, it’s getting’ real up in here. You have been warned.
Inclement weather perhaps? Maybe some. I’ll bring the flashlight. You bring the candles. Let’s take cover together, and ride out the storms.
Through it all, we’ll feel more alive, more connected, more real.
Are you with me?