Be Real And Vulnerable For True Connection (And A Longer Life!)

Many studies have shown that one of the top three common traits of people who live the longest is they have meaningful relationships throughout the course of their life.

Human connection is critical to our well-being and long-term health. In order for true connection to happen with people, we have to be real, and often this means being vulnerable.

Being vulnerable means talking beyond surface-level talk about the weather and our children and how work is going. It means going deeper.

For my corporate job, I run three conferences each year for VP and C-level Fortune 1000 executives. We always start our events off with ice breakers. We have them do a funny activity that you wouldn’t expect in a business setting or make them answer some questions with their new acquaintances that are out of the normal everyday conversation like:

• What was the very first concert you went to?
• What has been your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?
• If you were a super hero, which one would you be and why? Who would you save?

Our events are incredibly successful because they are based on important business relationships being built, and this is our first step towards making that happen.

When I started my blog this summer, I made a promise to you to be real, because life is too short not to be. And I have found that during times of extreme vulnerability, when I let others see the real me, and in turn, others show me who they are, my strongest friendships have been made.

For example, with my mom friends, we come together and admit what is hard and ask for support, rather than pretending we are super moms. We can acknowledge that as much as we love our children and would give them our last breath, some days are just really really really hard. We don’t pretend that we have it all together all the time.

In my yoga teacher trainings, or my volunteer work travels to Brazil and India, we all connected so much faster because we were put in a foreign situation where there wasn’t the ability to hide behind masks or be someone we were not.

Now, I am not saying to start airing your dirty laundry to everyone or sharing all your secrets on social media. Let me say that again: I am NOT saying to start airing your dirty laundry to everyone or sharing all your secrets on social media! But I am requesting you to think about:

1. Where you hold back with others and why?
2. Where are you pretending?
3. Where you are acting like everything is perfect, but really you need some support?
4. What messy experiences or embarrassing stories do you have to share? (These make awesome cocktail party jokes, by the way!)
5. What challenging experiences of your life have made you who you are today?

Then begin bringing these types of stories into conversations when appropriate. Put yourself out there more to make meaningful friendships, stronger business partnerships, and a community that supports your greatest self. Life is too short not to.

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