This past week, I started my first week of 50 coffee dates. In my previous post, I was not excited about any of the coffee dates. In the past, these meetings have been somewhat blah. We meet — then talk around each other for an hour — then promise to connect again — but never really do. However, every single coffee meeting this week has been beyond incredible. I believe a true connection was established at each meeting. I thought about the foundational difference between these recent meetings and meetings in the past. And then I realized, what was different was that each of us had taken an approach of being vulnerable in the meeting. Each meeting was authentic and sincere. We spoke about the realities of where we were in our projects, (the good and bad). We even discussed our own insecurities about being a founder. The past week has been a great refresher.
I had to rewatch Brene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability. Practicing vulnerability in a community that I’ve nicknamed “Startup LaLa Land,” can be very difficult. If you read (and believe) any startup newsletter or media site, everyone has just closed their round of funding for x million dollars. So-and-so just sold their company for x million dollars. And everyone is implementing lean startup and lean metrics so perfectly. Digesting these type of success stories often can be discouraging. When you meet with people in Startup LaLa Land, you often feel that your story has to be the success story, or at least well on your way to the same success story. It is this thought process that holds us back from truly building authentic connections and relationships, with each other and with customers. Brene Brown’s often quoted line on vulnerability is, “What makes us vulnerable makes us beautiful”. I am curious about the difference that can be made by embracing and practicing vulnerability in our meetings, in our working relationships, and with our customers.
Thanks for the read!