lead with vulnerability

Lead With Vulnerability?!

I was not quite prepared for this first day to be as heart-touching as it turned out to be because it touches my vulnerability.

Me joining the 36th class of “Leadership Lewisville” was a last-minute decision. Only days before the start of the class, Lori Fickling, the Director of the Chamber of Commerce in Lewisville, invited me. I had to ask a few clients to reschedule to a different time. At the last minute, I said “Yes.”

The first day was “connection day;” and connection at was!

Round one: we went around the table and shared five things

  1. My name
  2. My current role, position, focus, and passion
  3. Who is a great leader in my life and why?
  4. A visual presentation of something that motivates me – made out of pipe cleaners
  5. What I expect to happen in the next nine months of this program?

That part alone was amazing! We all got a deeper insight into who we are and what motivates us. We shared both inspiring and heartbreaking stories. Vulnerable stories. The connection between us grew.

What Motivates Me

My pipe cleaner art (see photo): Two connected hearts. I’m motivated by connection. Connection with my family and friends. Connection with my clients – many of whom become friends. I sign many of my emails with “big hugs” (when I think it is “appropriate” to do that).

I imagine myself sitting in a rocking chair in the last few moments of my life. I hope I will have the chance to look back and reflect on it all.

What will matter the most to me is this:

  • Who was with me on this journey of my life?
  • And did I have a positive impact on the people in my life?
  • And, of course, did we have fun, too?

We Have So Much In Common

Our group of 18 people is quite diverse. Different professional roles from all over the map. Different ethnicities. Different ages. Different place of birth. Different upbringings. And yet, we began to see many common patterns among us. Overcoming adversities, keeping loved ones who passed in our hearts, loving cats, exploring the next steps in life, and many more.

In round two, we shared a story behind a special item each of us had brought. It was an item that has sentimental value to us.

The word “amazing” does not even begin to describe the depth of this experience. Wow. As they say, “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” In other words, the stories I heard stay within this group.

Yet, I can say: My heart was touched to its core. I had not expected this. Holy moly!

Two Leadership Lessons Emerged

Beyond the connection this sharing created, two lessons about leadership emerged.

  • Leadership is about being vulnerable
  • We have a lot more in common than first meets the eye – vulnerable sharing about ourselves brings that to light

I know that vulnerability is part of leadership. I have quoted Brene Brown, author of “Daring greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead.”

How often do I give ourselves permission to do that?

Do You Notice Something Here?

In the past, I would have written “How often do we give ourselves permission to do that?”

Now, I make myself say “I.” “How often do I give myself permission to do that?”

It takes vulnerability to do that. My “Brilliance Nugget” blog on procrastination (coming shortly) is not about other people. It is about my own experiences of procrastination. This is a very “angle” leading to a very different experience?!

My Journey: Explore and Expand On My Leadership Abilities

Opening our hearts, and allowing ourselves to share with vulnerability got us off to a great start on our journey.

Or should I say: Opening my heart and allowing myself to be vulnerable got me off to a great start?! LOL.

In any case, I am looking forward to what is next. Learn about the behind-the-scenes workings of the City of Lewisville. Work together on our Leadership project. Become a better leader.

“When no one is following you, you are just going for a long walk.”

Thank YOU!

This brings me to say “Thank you!” for reading and commenting on this blog. Without your participation, writing this blog would be like a year-long walk. Yet, you make it a fun, inspiring, worthwhile, and yes -vulnerable (for me) – journey. Thank you

I profoundly thank the Chamber of Lewisville, our group, and our talented facilitator, Dan Irvin, for this amazing day!

I’m Curious

How vulnerable do you allow yourself to be and your leadership both in business and in life?

P.S.: I appreciate you commenting and sharing this Brilliance Nugget with others. Thank you!


  1. Lisa Vanatta on at

    I wholeheartedly agree, it was a great start to our Leadership Lewisville program! What an amazing group of leaders full of resilience and strength.

    • Stephie Althouse on at

      Thank you, Lisa! And thank you for all you all do! The Lewisville Chamber of Commerce is wonderful!

  2. Rochelle Gregory on at

    I agree! It was a very rewarding day and a wonderful start to this adventure! I look forward to getting to know you and the group better over the next 9 months. 🙂

    • Stephie Althouse on at

      Thank you so much, Rochelle. Me, too!

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