Embracing vulnerability

Or if Damian Hardwick can share his vulnerabilities with Dustin Martin, so can I. (Well not with Dustin as I don’t know him and that would be weird; but with you.)

It’s not the what

Do you get nervous before you turn up to work? Occasionally I feel frightened people will discover I don’t have Advanced Word skills and can’t write a letter without asking Clippy a bunch of questions. Most of the time though, in terms of embracing vulnerability, the stakes are pretty low. I won’t be lambasted for a typing error. Except for the one I constantly make when trying to type ‘pubic consultation’ (damn it!) I’m not a surgeon dealing with life and death decisions. Nor am I even likely to be yelled at by a member of the pubic (oh, for the love of God) about a cold burger or a big delay in the drive through.

It’s not the where

It’s not the setting. I could be doing amazing things in an office (I suppose some has at least once) and I could enjoy plotting revenge against Mr Cold Burger and Mrs Long Delay. What I’m supposing is that there is some sort of vulnerability equation at play. The more you care, the more you really want people to think you’re great and the higher the likelihood that someone will see the results of your efforts (be they good or bad) the more vulnerable you feel. Think Damian Hardwick on Grand Final Day.

Behold : The Vulnerability Formula ™

For example: C (how much I care about the activity) + G (how good I am or dream of being at said activity) multiplied by T (the amount of time I dedicate to the activity + R (the risk of pubic (where is the ‘L’ key seriously?) humiliation, filing for bankruptcy, moving back in with my parents) = V (how vulnerable I feel when thinking about, planning or doing the activity).

My Vulnerability Formula ™ would be lower when I’m at work compared to say, if I really wanted to bake instead. I reckon I would feel incredibly vulnerable when baking a friend’s birthday cake or writing out a recipe for a work colleague. I’ve read about some people who have jobs in the exact field that is their ‘passion’ (can someone please come up with a better word than this?) and like Oprah they would probably do that work for free but they accidentally make millions from it. Good luck to those unicorns, they must have something I tried to include in the Vulnerability Formula™: confidence. I’ll come back to that concept another time. once I just need to brush up on my Year 9 Maths.

It’s the why

Despite my doubts I sort of feel compelled to keep baking in my spare time. (I’m just imagining this is how people feel if they’re really into baking. I didn’t want to refer to sewing again in case Jeff guesses he’s getting handmade pocket warmers for Christmas again). One day someone compliments my cupcakes (whoa why does that sound really rude?) I’m Moonwalking around my kitchen! Then I discover how to separate an egg without having to slide a yolk off my benchtop (also sounding rude!) I’m beside myself with excitement! I feel great! I ask myself ‘how can I get more of these moments in my life? And fewer of the ones where I’m bored witless or guilt ridden about my inability to find internal motivation for stuff I enjoy?

It’s the how

I decide to start a food blog or an apprenticeship; and that is some serious vulnerability my friend. Am I any good? Is this a crazy plan that will see me publicly (yes!) humiliated and financially ruined? Or might it be the best thing I’ve ever done, just like telling Dusty how much I love him?

It’s the who – you!

I sort of suspect the doubts I constantly have about doing, making and sharing are normal. Better still they’re giving me clues about the things I really care about. Have you noticed Meryl Streep seems genuinely awkward when she watches herself on screen? Perhaps even Meryl has those nagging doubts about her ability despite all her Academy Awards. Either that or she is amazing at acting awkward about her acting. I don’t think so though.

Just hug Dusty

Jeff and I started this blog and then wrote an online course because we’d spent years trying to help each other do more stuff we care about and learn to live with the vulnerability of it all (as well as a sink full of dirty dishes). Vulnerability is terrifying. It’s scary to write down my ideas because then I’m sort of stuck with them. I can’t deny them like I can a bitchy comment in a morning meeting. However, I’m trying to embrace vulnerability, just like Damian embraces Dusty. And just like Dusty, vulnerability might occasionally punch me in the throat. Other times it could show me how to follow it all the way to a premiership. Or a perfect crème brûlée. Or a sentence that doesn’t have a squiggly blue line under it or a tip from Clippy about how to be more succinct.


  1. Jeff

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