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  • Writer's pictureBradley Denis McDevitt

Embracing Vulnerability: Lessons from the Stage for Authentic Living and Working

an AI image of an Asian man in a suit and tie holding a mask partially in front of his face
Removing our masks can bring clearer communication

In the world of acting, vulnerability is not seen as a weakness but as a strength. It is the secret ingredient that transforms a good performance into a riveting one. The audience connects more deeply with an actor who is willing to bare their soul and show their truth, no matter how raw or uncomfortable. This same principle of embracing vulnerability can bring authenticity and connection to our personal and professional lives. Here's how:

Unmasking Ourselves: Actors, paradoxically, become someone else to reveal their own truths. In the professional sphere, embracing who we truly are – our strengths, our weaknesses, our values – allows us to work with more honesty and integrity. It's about removing the professional 'mask' and showing up as our authentic selves.

Emotional Honesty: Actors delve into their emotions to portray a character authentically. In the workplace, acknowledging and expressing our feelings constructively can lead to healthier, more genuine interactions. It promotes trust and better communication among team members.

Risk-Taking: Stepping onto a stage is a leap of faith. Similarly, taking risks in our personal and professional life is crucial for growth. Whether it's proposing a new idea, speaking up in a meeting, or starting a challenging project, embracing vulnerability through risk-taking can lead to success and innovation.

Building Empathy: By stepping into their character's shoes, actors develop a deep sense of empathy. When we show vulnerability in our own lives, we give others permission to do the same, fostering mutual understanding and deepening our connections.

Resilience in the Face of Rejection: Actors face frequent rejection and yet, they keep going. Embracing vulnerability means understanding that failure is a stepping stone to success. This builds resilience and the ability to bounce back in face of adversity or setbacks.

Embracing vulnerability, just like actors do on stage, can lead to a more authentic way of living and working. It allows us to connect more deeply with others, work with integrity, and navigate challenges with resilience. Ultimately, it's about being brave enough to show up as we truly are. As the saying goes, "The show must go on," and so too must we, with authenticity and courage.

Bradley Denis, MA is a seasoned development coach with over 30 years experience teaching and performing in the theater. He combines his love and passion for theatrical training with his scholarship in Jungian depth psychology, which he teaches as an adjunct professor at the Pacifica Graduate Institute.

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