Momentum Podcast: 44
Vulnerabiity Is The Ultimate Human Connector
by Alex Charfen
When it comes the vulnerability entrepreneurs are getting it wrong. We are taught “never let them see you sweat” or “fake it until you make it” Both of which will keep you start and stop you from getting what you need. Even worse they will stop you from one of the most important entrepreneurial assets that you can create, human connection.
As an entrepreneur connection to your tribe, to the market at large, and your team will help you create momentum. Lack of connection will make it difficult for you to create momentum and long-term success. This week I was reminded by Natalie Hodson that vulnerability is the ultimate human connector.
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire-builders, game-changers, trail-blazers, shot-takers, record-breakers, world-makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to, we challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then re-write them around our own will.
We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because the only way you lose is if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate that there could be a better future, and instead of just daydreaming what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent positive human evolution, and we always will be.
This is episode 44 of the Momentum Podcast, and I'm excited to share this topic with you. It is vulnerability is the ultimate human connector. This week I have been up in Boise at a Mastermind with Russell Brunson, and I saw some of the most amazing, inspiring entrepreneurs get up on stage, and share who they were, and share their experiences. This is a room where people really, they share what's going on. They tell each other what's really happening so that they can get the help they need. I'll share some details with you in a second, but I just want to talk about why vulnerability is so important as an entrepreneur. Because if we get caught up in Never Let Them See You Sweat, or Fake It Until You Make It, or any of those other platitudes, but we start living our lives that way, here's what happens. We don't tell people what's going on, so it makes it near impossible for us to get what we really need, what we really want. We end up creating this veneer of who we are.
That veneer gets the attention. That veneer is what people know. That veneer is what people understand, so as entrepreneurs, when we understand that vulnerability is this massive bridge to what we really want, and we acknowledge that vulnerability is how we get to where we really want to be, everything changes. I'll share with you a story today that imprinted this for me at such a deep level, and I think it will for you too. I want to just share a few stories about vulnerability as the ultimate human connector.
First today, what set up this podcast, what inspired me to choose this topic ... I actually had another one all written up. I had to come up and rewrite the intro because today Natalie Hodson shared her business, and she's absolutely amazing. She got up on stage and shared how she's in the exercise business, and she wrote a couple of exercise courses, and they did pretty well. She wrote an exercise course about an experience she was having to help other women, and it's about pelvic issues, core issues where women, when they have babies, oftentimes when they sneeze, or laugh, or cough, they'll wet their pants after they've had a baby. It's pelvic floor problems and core issues.
Natalie literally got up on stage and shared with the entire room how she made over a million dollars by writing a book about her peeing her pants, and she's not kidding. Here's what was so amazing about watching her. I was watching and she shared with us that she had this issue herself. She shared with us that it would happen to her, and then she actually put pictures up on her presentation of her recording a course that she was doing where she inadvertently wet her pants and she just kept going. She actually showed us pictures of her standing there in her gray shorts with a very obvious stain in the pelvic area. It was one of those things where I was thinking to myself, it takes such an amount of courage and vulnerability to share this, and I immediately realized how big it made her to me. How incredible it made her to me. How inspired I was by Natalie that if she can talk about this and show pictures like that in front of a room full of entrepreneurs, and all of us were leaning in. No one in the room was thinking less of her. No one in the room was thinking anything other than, "Wow, she is amazing."
I think it's a lesson for all of us. She said something afterwards. She said, "Vulnerability makes you feel small, but it makes you huge to everyone around you." That stuck with me, that she just felt so big on stage. I stayed in touch with my body because when people get vulnerable, I think to myself, "Could I do this? Can I be this vulnerable? Should I be this vulnerable? How does it feel for me to experience her?" I felt so connected to her. I felt so close to her when she was sharing this because it's just one of those things that most people in the world would never do.
I found it ridiculously inspiring, and it reminded me of a time during the foreclosure crisis where I was working with RE/MAX and I went up, and I was there with Dave Liniger, who's the chairman of the board, CEO, and multi-billionaire, just an incredible human being, and one of the best partners I've ever had, promotional partners, we did a lot of work with RE/MAX, just amazing human being. I remember being up at RE/MAX for the first time, and I was on stage with Dave. RE/MAX has this incredible building in Denver. It's just gorgeous. They have this presentation room that's like the United Nations. It's stepped chairs and translation booths for when they have international presentations, and it's just beautiful, like one of the best decked-out corporate conference room I've ever been in, and I've been in hundreds.
Dave had invited me there to share one of our products with them. This was back during the foreclosure crisis and he introduced me, and started talking about how I was going to help them help more people avoid foreclosure, and how this was really important for their agents because so many of them were having a hard time making a living. Then Dave started talking about how they had just had to lay some people off at corporate, and in front of his entire executive team that he had called in for me to train that day, he broke down. He got tears in his eyes. He actually wiped his face a couple of times but he didn't stop talking. He didn't sob but you could tell he was 100% emotionally affected.
It was similar to when I was watching Natalie today. I wanted to feel how it felt to watch her. I remember watching Dave and thinking, "This guy's incredible." He's worth billions. He could do anything he wants. He's like one of those one-percenters that gets vilified in the media, but here he is talking about having to have laid people off, and he's crying, not because he lost money, not because he didn't get to do what he wanted to do, but because he had to let people go. He had to let part of his team go. He clearly felt like, in some way, he was responsible for it, and it emotionally affected him, and he didn't hide that from his team. He didn't shield them from his emotions. He showed them exactly who he was and how he felt. I remember in that moment, again, having that feeling of thinking, "This is how a leader should be."
For any of you, I remember this incredibly vulnerable moment with my daughter [Kennedy 00:09:00]. We, at one point, put our daughters into public school, a situation that I was in as a kid and didn't go well for me. We were in one of the best school districts in Texas, so we put Kennedy into public school. For kids, it's hard to be vulnerable with adults. For kids, it's hard to tell people what they're really feeling and what's going on for them. There was a night where Kennedy sat at the dinner table, absolutely fell apart and told us that she felt like she was failing out of life because she was in a classroom where the kids used an iPad most days, and she had broken the iPad a couple days before by knocking it off the table. The teacher had made her sit in the hallway during those work periods, and told her she didn't know how she was going to finish it since she didn't have an iPad.
My daughter just fell apart and I remember thinking, "This is exactly the type of vulnerability, of feelings of discomfort I want my kids to share with me." I don't ever want them to hide this from me. So we sat down and I listened to everything she had to say and I remember, again, thinking how brave this little girl was, because I remember feeling the same way as a kid, and being terrified to tell anyone, including my parents because I felt like a complete failure. I felt like it was me, but here my daughter was letting us know how she felt. Even though she felt like a failure, she actually said she felt like she was failing out of life. I felt so close to her in that moment, and we changed everything in our lives after that. We pulled them out of school, home schooled them for a year, they're now an alternative type school where they get along a lot better with things. It's a much shorter program, less days a week. She still tells me when she's uncomfortable and when she feels vulnerable. I think part of that is because when she did, we were there, we listened, we heard it.
For me it's because I've worked with so many entrepreneurs that are afraid to be vulnerable, that are afraid to be who they really are, that are afraid to tell people what's really going on. I've seen the pattern that this is one of the most damaging conditions, one of the most limiting perspectives that we can take as entrepreneurs. I do everything I can to live up to examples like Natalie today, or like Dave, or like my daughter, and make sure that I'm existing with a level of vulnerability where I'm putting the reality out into the world so that I'm getting the right thing back. For a long time, we've had a hard time with figuring out how to get our message out into the market, and how to attract more people to us. I've had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to do with this entrepreneurial-personality type content, with the same stuff that I'm sharing with you. When I finally started telling people that, when I finally started saying, "Hey, I'm just confused. I'm having a hard time," that's when I found momentum. That's when the right people came into my life. That's when I started getting the advice that actually mattered. So for any of you who are having a hard time, for you if you're having a difficult time, if you're feeling a level of discomfort, if there's a place in your life where you know you don't have what you really need, or where you're upset, you're frustrated, you're confused, you're ticked off, and you need someone to hear, just remember that when you make yourself vulnerable it feels small to you but to the people around you, you look powerful. It'll change everything in your life because the day you start telling people what's really going on, is the day you get what you really need. Thanks for being with me here on this episode of Momentum. If you haven't yet, I want to strongly encourage you to go to momentumwebclass.com. For years, I've been sharing this entrepreneurial-personality type content with the world, with as many people who would listen. We've had a hard time figuring out how to have the same effect as this content on people who buy something from us, on people who work with us. Jason Fladlien, a friend of mine at Rapid Crush, he's the CEO there, said something to me that was amazing one time after I spoke at one of his conferences. He said, "Alex, in a one-hour keynote, you're one of the only speakers I've ever seen that has the ability to get people to change behavior." He's right. That's what I aim for in every keynote. From the beginning to the end, I want to make sure that people change behavior.
I recorded one of those keynotes at momentumwebclass.com. It's in a webinar format, but it's exactly what I would go out and share in front of $25,000 a seat crowd because I want to show you how to create momentum. I want to show you how to get into momentum faster, how to stay there, how to get what you want in your life, find that true focus so that what you're doing moves you toward your greater contribution, and who you want to be, and what you want to do in life. If you go to momentumwebclass, let me show you the three secrets to creating momentum without compromise, for people like us. Check it out at momentumwebclass.com and check in tomorrow for episode 45 of the Momentum Podcast.