Let's talk about armor
If you've been a long time reader of this newsletter or you just know me, you know I'm a bit podcast obsessed. One of my favorites, and whose podcast has been on hiatus since 2022, is Brene´ Brown. But luckily Adam Grant ran an episode with her from 2021 that speaks to exactly what I want to talk about right now. As always it centered around vulnerability, which is what Brene´ does her research on, but more importantly about dispelling the mythology around vulnerability that it's weakness at work.
Armored and dangerous
The conversation touched on why so many of us are afraid to be vulnerable at work. "I think we armor up because there's less trust, there's less competence. And we slip into kind of who we think we're supposed to be at work." Who we think we're supposed to be. And who is that exactly? Who are we modeling? Who is the ultimate example of someone at work that's who we are supposed to be? Because the workplace is a little different these days. And so is work. Whether you work in an office or for yourself, there is no supposed to. We all need to find our own way.
He ain't heavy, he's my armor
So what does this armor look like?
Brene´ goes on to talk about how we armor up "using things like cynicism, perfectionism, needing to be the knower and be right versus the learner and get it right."
Anyone feel very seen?
It's scary to be vulnerable and admit there are things we don't know. So we put on this armor and over the years it gets heavier and heavier and harder to remove.
One reason we don't remove it is that, "there are a lot of forms of armor that can sometimes be rewarded at work. People will use expertise or performance as armor at work." In other words, the ends justify the means.
Except of course it doesn't. The more we armor up, the more we put up that barrier to connection.
We think we're protecting ourselves, but who can walk around all day in armor?
Who can feel comfortable and feel seen in armor?
Who can do their best work in armor?
And who can climb the corporate ladder or any ladder in armor? (feels very dangerous to me, I'm clumsy)
More supported without it
Sure armor might protect you in a joust (although anyone who's seen a medieval movie knows they can stick you in the crevasses of where the armor doesn't go), but it's not sustainable.
Armor is faux protection.
It's you hiding from yourself and hiding your true self from others.
And that's no way to live and no way to work.
Your audience, colleagues or clients want to see the real you.
The person under the armor.
That's what builds connection.
That's what builds trust.
I promise you that once you start to remove the armor, everything in your career, your business and your life will feel lighter.
You just need to start by removing one layer at a time.