For as long as I can remember I have not liked feeling vulnerable, or the idea of being a failure. Actually, to be honest, I've hated it! Under stress, my well developed childhood strategies: 'be really strong' and 'be as perfect as possible' worked well and under 'normal' circumstances the positive components: 'endurance' and 'excellence' stood me in good stead. However, a couple of years ago, under significant tension, I resorted to the childhood strategies which got in the way of appropriately addressing a situation. So I've been exploring, reading, learning and experimenting and I've found some fascinating information which I've decided to share with you.
The recent Next Magazine editorial (February 2015) quotes Robert H Schuller: "What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” and suggests we replace it with blogger Chjri Guillebeau's question: “What is truly worth doing whether you succeed or fail? The editor recognises that failure is a fact of life and that nothing can be more certain and adds this comment: " it’s how we ‘handle the Jandal’ that counts".
Interestingly that was Brene Brown's experience
too. In her 10 years of research she discovered that human beings need connection and that Vulnerability is part of being human. When we are able to be authentic (genuine and true to our real self) and have the courage to show our vulnerability, then we are genuinely able to connect with people.
Peter Fuda's spent seven years researching how 'ordinary' leaders can become 'extraordinary' leaders. He identified a similar phenomenon: willingness to accept real feedback (become more aware), and accept their vulnerability were the first criteria which enabled them to start the change process.
As a young person one bible verse that resonated was along the lines of 'let your your stumbling block become your stepping stone. Sometimes I do admit, that is easier said than done. But that has been my aim.
One of the reasons I still find TA useful is because it is practical. It also gives me a solid base on which to guide my personal and professional life. I would have been lost without it as I started my EAP, consulting and training company Stratos Ltd 26 years ago.
The main goal of Transactional Analysis is Autonomy: the achievement of our full potential. TA's founder, Eric Berne identified the three components that enable a person to move from out-dated ways of dealing with life as: Awareness, Spontaneity and the capacity for Intimacy. He also identified that when our three fundamental human hungers of stimulus, recognition and structure are met, we are able to thrive. He called this Physis - the Thrust of Life.
And yet in our often overfull lives and our pursuit of success (whatever that means to us personally or professionally) I believe we want as much instant success as possible and without too much pain if at all possible!
One of Brown's quotes I resonated with: "We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people but we’re afraid to let them see it in us." And that 'raw truth' she is talking about is often born from pain, struggles or hardships.
So I'm learning is that real success, the Autonomy that Berne talks of, is actually the process of taking that stumbling block (valuing the vulnerability failure or seemingly insurmountable problem) accepting and using it to become more aware, valuing the experience and the resultant learning that adds such richness to our life's experience and adding vitality and spontaneity so that we are able to truly connect in an authentic way with others. As Berne puts it, "If his demon is a friend instead of an enemy, then he will have it made
". Berne,E. (1974) What do you say after you say Hello
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