The Vulnerability Trap

There’s a relatively recent movement for businesses to be more transparent.

It is good and brings a lot of value to the table, but I think people take it too far.

There is a difference between being transparent and being vulnerable. We often get them confused in the name of honesty. But there is an important distinction to make, especially for people with personal brands:

Transparency = Good

Vulnerability = Bad

Prospects and customers and clients don’t need to know everything about your life.

They don’t need to know everything about the inner-workings and dynamics of your business. Like why so-and-so got fired. Or that cash flow is tight. Or that revenue is down and the ceiling is on fire.

There is a big difference between sharing personal, relevant details that resonate with people and help communicate your controlled narrative and sharing the most intimate details of your latest frustration or emotional breakdown.

Who do you want to work with?

A winner? Or someone in a downward spiral?

Your customers want to work with winners. They want to work with companies that ooze confidence and control over their story. They want to work with a brand that makes them feel positive emotions.

They don’t want to work with people who overshare and can’t seem to get it together. They don’t want to work with people who are “vulnerable” in the name of honesty.

You can be both honest and strong.

That’s not to say you can never share your mistakes because you can. BUT, don’t share stories that damage your credibility as an expert. AND, in the early stages don’t share many of your flaws. Although they humanize your brand or your company, the more successful you are the more leeway people will give you.

Early on? You don’t have a ton of wiggle room. 

Later, when you’re more successful you can share some of the pitfalls you’ve experienced along the way. It will humanize this successful machine you’ve created AND make you more relatable.

Your audience and potential customers are NOT a support group for you.

They are customers.

Position yourself as an authority. Paint yourself with transparency and strength.

And beware the vulnerability trap.