Being an Open Book

I’m enjoying my new understanding of who I am, who I want to become and the values that are important to me. It seems to be particularly paying off in the relationships that I have with other people. Each time I’m honest, direct and radically candid, but also empathetic, with those that I’m interacting with or working with pays off in spades. I’m finding more and more alignment with the people that share similar values and it’s allowing us to grow and make more efficient progress.

It’s fantastic to be able to be open, open minded, but also direct and find the kind of people that respond well and appreciate that. It makes work and life feel easy and natural. It’s the advantage of being authentic.

If I don’t know something, I say it. If I’m concerned about my capabilities in a certain area, I allow myself to not just show my vulnerability there but I explain it. If I notice something about someone else that could impact me, others or the subject or project we’re dealing with, I make sure to bring it up and explore it. If something makes me sad, I not only admit it, but I share it, I accept it and for the first time, I own it.

This morning I found myself watching video after video of Kobe Bryant’s memorial. I cried like I haven’t cried in many many years. Watching Michael Jordan’s speech explaining “When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died” showed me how deeply affecting being an open book can be. I didn’t know Kobe. I’m not really much of a basketball fan. But I appreciate greatness whenever and wherever I see it. And Michael explained eloquently just how great Kobe was on the court but especially off the court with his family. Michael was crying for most of the 12 minute speech. It’s incredible and moving to listen to and to watch. When Kobe’s wife and first love Vanessa Bryant gives her moving and emotional speech about losing her amazing daughter Gianna and her soulmate Kobe, it was impossible for me to not well up and feel the love, the grief and the loss of such incredible people. Both Michael and Vanessa, even in an arena filled with some of the most influential athletes and stars in the world as well as their fans, shed tears, laughed, sniffled, and powered their way courageously through the difficult and loving words they had to share about Kobe. It was a strangely sad but beautiful start to my day. It moved me deeply and helped me realise how good it is to be open and how good it is to be vulnerable.

I have not always had the confidence to do this. I used to have the hubris to try to cover the cracks of my weaknesses up, the naive belief that things and people will just automatically “get better,” and that someone else will notice and fix an issue. I never wanted to feel like others might think I’m weak or that I’m incapable. And yet now at the ripe age of 36, I realise, that the more you own who you are, how you are, and strive to be open and authentic in every single moment, the more people appreciate it and the better you understand your self.

I didn’t get to this place alone. I didn’t even get to this place intentionally. I did however manage to meet incredible people who have supported me, challenged me and helped me become who I am. I have so many teachers to thank; from friends to family to coaches to authors to leaders to athletes to nature and beyond.

Being an open book isn’t always easy and it can sometimes throw people off. But the more I try it, the more surprised I am at how much it helps strengthen relationships, work and life. Sometimes a good cry is all you need to realise it.

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