Episode 65: The Power of True Vulnerability in Entrepreneurship

In our last podcast, we delved deep into conversations about vulnerability, trauma, and finding joy. Today, we want to revisit this topic and explore its significance across various aspects of life, with a particular focus on business ownership and entrepreneurship.

Join us as we navigate the misconceptions surrounding vulnerability and examine its impact on our perspectives regarding effective leadership. Our discussion encompasses a spectrum of themes, ranging from the positive power of vulnerability to fostering deeper connections and exploring how the digital age has altered the landscape of vulnerability.

Of course, we won’t leave you without practical advice. We encourage you to reflect on your own vulnerability levels within different relationships and pinpoint areas for personal growth.

It’s time to demystify vulnerability and highlight its strength, authenticity, and transformative potential in both personal and professional spheres. Get after it!

vulnerability as an entrepreneur

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Exploring the Theme of Vulnerability
  • Acknowledging the somber nature of vulnerability
  • Amanda’s dislike for vulnerability
  • The decision to discuss vulnerability in-depth during the podcast
  • Personal Experience with Vulnerability
  • Recall of a previous podcast where Lynn chose not to edit out an emotional moment
  • Importance of authenticity in sharing genuine experiences
  • Connection Between Vulnerability and Leadership
  • Discussion on the misconception that vulnerability equals being an emotional mess
  • Reflecting on the association between vulnerability and effective leadership
  • Amanda’s struggle with letting others see beyond her cultivated persona
  • Influence of Brené Brown’s TED Talk
  • The Power of True Connection
  • Emphasis on the role of vulnerability in building genuine connections
  • Lynn highlights the need to break down walls for true connection
  • Connecting vulnerability to emotions and deeper understanding
  • The ECC (Emotionally Charged Connection) Method
  • Introduction to the ECC method used in a franchise
  • Description of emotionally charged connection and its impact on businesses
  • Lynn’s deeper integration of intuition and spirituality into the ECC method
  • Reflection on Cancel Culture and Technology
  • Observations on the impact of cancel culture on vulnerability
  • Discussion on how technology and online interactions affect genuine connections
  • Amanda’s thoughts on the changing dynamics of vulnerability in the digital age
  • Actionable Advice for Listeners
  • Encouraging listeners to reflect on their vulnerability levels in relationships
  • Emphasizing the importance of understanding personal boundaries
  • Identifying areas for growth in both personal and professional life

Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

Brene Brown: Listening to Shame

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Read the complete transcript of the show below:

Lynn Howard

Hi, I’m Lynn

Amanda Furgiuele

And I’m Amanda. Welcome to the pursuit of Badasserie, the podcast. We are joining you today. to talk about a more somber topic in my opinion.

One I have openly said I don’t like, which is why we’re going to talk about it today. And that is vulnerability as a business owner, as an entrepreneur, as a person.

Let’s talk about vulnerability.

Lynn Howard

Yeah, I’m already about to break it out knives. Oh, yeah, your cheeks look a little flushed. Yeah, you know, and I know this is coming right off of for those of you who didn’t listen to our last podcast, go ahead and tune in.

There was a moment where I definitely got caught in my emotions. And at first, I told the man had to cut it out of and then after discussion, I said, no, leave it in.

think that it’s important for individuals. I think we’ve gotten away from it. kind of twofold because pathway a different emotion obviously but just a different, I keep coming back to the word connection because to me that is what true vulnerability is when we are connected to ourselves when we are connected to others and to deepen those things.

We have to kind of like knock down those walls and show them and there is an appropriate way to do it obviously in business and in relationships and personal and professionally however it is something that is definitely needed.

Amanda Furgiuele

Yes and you know whenever I think of the topic of vulnerability because I won’t think of it as an emotion or any kind of connection as you call it because I just have this visceral dislike of it.

I always think of Brene Brown’s TED Talk on shame and vulnerability and if you haven’t ever watched or listened to that I highly recommend it.

It is it lives up to the hype. that it has a phenomenal, phenomenal features. It’s just absolutely incredible. And I’ll actually even leave that a link to that in the show in case anybody wants to grab it.

And I’m laughing because when I first watched it, I hated it. was like, oh, I don’t want to, I would never do what she’s doing right now.

I would never do that. And I think it’s true, though, that even now, I struggle with being, not that I struggle with being authentic.

But I struggle with letting other people see beyond what I cultivated as my persona. And that might be because I am in a public sphere quite a bit.

And I do have a very, it’s not a secret life, but it’s a private life. So I do keep my family life private.

And I have things that I don’t share with people. so when people talk about vulnerability, I think about the things that are most important to me and how I don’t want to be vulnerable in that way.

And I know there are multiple layers to what being vulnerable is. And I also, for a very, very long time, had this association, a negative association, with vulnerability and emotions.

So to me, if you were being vulnerable, you were being an emotional mess and you couldn’t be an effective leader if you’re an emotional mess.

And so I actually equated those two things, even though they’re very separate things and they’re very separate. But for the longest time, I would say probably for the first at least 10 years of my world of entrepreneurship, I believed that those two were the same thing.

So I believed that they were synonymous, that in order to be vulnerable, you had to be a blubbering mess and that people would judge you because you couldn’t get your act together and be a strong leader.

And that was something that really, I know it probably should unpack it and figure like where the root of that came from, but not vulnerable enough to do that yet.

However, that was a big thing I had for a long time, probably at least a decade. no. Lynn, it might be…

I feel like I’m having quite a bit of it with you.

Lynn Howard

Roughly we have. And you know, interesting. First of all, the Brene Brown, the first one is a Ted Talk on vulnerability.

The follow-up one is about shame and their phenomenal. And I would watch them in that order. And I love that you brought that up.

So, come back to you in a second. I remember the first time actually I watched it as well. We had just moved from one side of the island to the other.

Like literally just moved. And my dear friend who lived across the street from me lost a baby. She had a home birth that didn’t go well and the baby died a few weeks later, 10 days later.

And we had our group of friends who, you know, this was like a month or two, process. She ended up donating her.

or milk to all these families who couldn’t produce milk. like there was this whole like discussion amongst our friends group.

And because some people understood some people didn’t. And it really was an active vulnerability to put herself out there and to say, you know, I lost my baby, but I’m going to continue to be able to support others who are in need because I have the resource.

this video got shared amongst us. And I remember balling. And this was also right around the time that, I mean, my then husband and I now act were starting to have some issues, but it was also around the time that I started to like really look at the walls that I built that I’d fortified around myself.

No, I didn’t jump right into it, but I was starting to like really examine how guarded I still was because I had done a little work before, but I still like through because of

survival because of all this other stuff like just these walls that I had and I started to dip my toe into it and that fast forward a couple years later is when I bought a company and we actually taught emotionally charged connection ECC, which is a version of our vulnerability and we can get into that in a second because that’s a bit more business oriented but So I love that you brought that up because it is a great a great TED talk on it’s to me one of the most powerful TED talks both personally and professionally that you can watch and I went on to follow Bernay and I do like a lot of stuff.

actually at a conference that I just M.S.E.T. we played her empathy and in sympathy the difference its a little cartoon.

It’s super cute. Anyway back to you Yes, you did start to unpack it and it’s interesting because we connected right away, right?

We knew we were each other’s people and but as you you started to kind of let down those walls in your safe space with me as we developed a friendship and obviously we did work together as well.

Like it and this goes back to the connection. Like it just made me see you, like truly see you even more for who you are.

The not just the face that we but also you know the things inside that kind of like make you like your own internal puppeteer right like who that make you do what you do and respond the way that you respond.

It helped me grow more respect for you. It helped me understand your nuances. It helped me have patience when maybe we didn’t have the same thought on something.

I understood why you would navigate and I’m saying this with other people as well. when I start to really and I do love to practice like it’s

It’s a gift, but it’s also practice where I really try to see people for the whole, even when they don’t get vulnerable, the whole of who they are.

that act of vulnerability, in my opinion, also really helped you navigate things differently. think it really helped, like, also your health and the business aspect, you were able to relate more because at that time you had your fitness studio and all of that and all of your people were nurturers.

And with your behavioral style, I think it also gave you a different relating tool to be able, that you were necessarily vulnerable with them, but because you unpacked that a little bit with me, to me, and I don’t want to say it’s softens you because that’s not the word.

know people, I know you felt that way. But I think it made you more understanding. them a little bit coupled with the behavioral style, like knowledge.

Um, but in adverse, I think it, it almost like you subconsciously even like thinned out that wall of protection, that barrier that you had.

And so it made them be able to see you in a different light.

Amanda Furgiuele  

Well, thank you And understanding of people, but a little bit more empathy when I really wanted to crack down because as many people know, people listened to the podcast, I tended to be a steamroller.

It’s very much like I get it done. Go, go, go, go like blinders on my task. And in some of these relationships I had with employees who were an opposite side of behavioral style and were, were vehemently turned off by that style, it helped me be more empathetic when my natural

tendency was to steamroll through the relationship and get the task done. So it really helped. So that me displaying vulnerability made me a more empathetic leader and able to better identify and understand my my team and help them be better as well.

So it It’s still hard for me. It’s not my favorite thing. I Will never sing a song about it as my these are a few of my favorite things not However, I definitely see the benefit of it and how it has helped me grow as an entrepreneur and how I have team relationships Absolutely, you know I am gonna lean on Bernay because she seems to be the queen of it So she’s really the one who brought it a bit more that topic a bit more mainstream And in one of them.

Lynn Howard

can’t remember which I want to say it is the vulnerability one But it could be in the shame because she does talk about both in both But one is more specific to vulnerability one’s more about Shane But she talks about like when you

You numb aspects or when you cut things off, right? So we are human beings. We feel emotions. We regret unless we’re sociopaths, but we feel emotions.

We have like that flow essentially, regardless, in all aspects. so when we start to cut that off or numb that out, as Bernay says it, we are numbing or cutting off circulation to other aspects of our business.

And so for me, vulnerability is not definitely because both, if you haven’t listened to it, I can’t remember which podcast it was, but Amanda and I do not do victims, nor the pity party type of thing.

it’s like we both do not have tolerance for it. think sometimes one has more tolerance than the other, but even talking about it, like now I’m getting a physical reaction.

So, ugh! But with that being said, like vulnerability is about, like, it’s about opening up those… channels, even if you’re vulnerable with yourself, like calling yourself, that’s also having compassion for oneself versus like always bulldozing ourselves, right?

And so really like showing truly invulnerability could be as simple as when somebody asks you, how’s your business? Instead of you saying, oh, everything’s great.

Vulnerability could be, you know what? I just thought it’s my biggest client and I’m a bit worried, but I’m putting in the actions to be able to like bring on a new client, right?

It’s simple things like that that actually get people to see you for who you are and where you’re at and have a different connection with you and possibly help you through it or partner with you or whatever.

You know, I think of even like relationships, like a marriage or whatnot. And there are a lot of, I know that people like money issues is probably the number one thing still.

don’t know if it still is, but it used to be why people separate. But that’s also an act of vulnerability because people have money blocks and money patterns.

And if you can’t have a conversation through that, that means you’re not being vulnerable. That means that you’re not like leaning into like letting people see the whole of who you are in that moment, regardless.

Again, it’s not playing on somebody’s emotions or putting on the victim suit or the pity me suit, which I know some people naturally have that.

It was just around somebody who just had that recently. I’m not going to go into that because otherwise if they’re listening, they might know who they are.

But if you have that vulnerability without the victim, without the woe is me, without the e or without the pity, you really do open up yourself to be able to have like real raw conversations and for Amanda and us.

Because we are like, let’s get done. Let’s move things forward. Let’s fall. all forward, fail forward type of people, then you’re able to actually like say, okay, this is truly where I’m at.

How do we move forward? How do we best in the whole? Because and then we’re building things on a structure more structurally sound foundation versus not because we’re not being authentic.

We’re not showing everybody that we’re just like on two stills balancing life, right? You can only balance so much on that.

Amanda Furgiuele  

And I want to mention an example from one of my businesses where, and this might not seem like vulnerability to everybody who’s listening, but we all define vulnerability and feel vulnerability different.

So I’m going to explain my form of vulnerability in this moment. So the few months before COVID, so pre-COVID, we didn’t even know COVID was the thing yet, I was trying to decide whether not to sell one of my businesses and I was having

I’m like, I just don’t And one of the things that helped me back from deciding was that I was afraid that people were going to think that I had failed the business or that I had failed and that the business was bankrupt.

I didn’t want people to perceive my leading and wanting to sell it as a fault of me, like that I had done something wrong or that the business was failing because the business was doing great.

just had outgrown it and I was done. So I sat on it and I sat on it and I actually listed it secretly on the market.

I didn’t tell anybody. It was like super hush hush. I didn’t put the address in. was like, like two weeks before COVID shut down my business.

Lynn Howard

By the way, I was with her during the set. Well, like I knew all of this was going on.

Amanda Furgiuele  

was like Amanda, come on. I know, but I didn’t want anybody to know because I didn’t want people to think that I was closing the business because it was a failure.

And so I sat and I didn’t tell anybody that I was that I was looking to sell the business.

I eventually hired a broker because because we were right smack in middle of COVID and my business was closed, but I was still trying to sell it because it was a good business.

It was making a lot of money. So I knew it was a viable business to sell even while it was closed.

So annoying, but I sat on that information and then come November. So after COVID, we were still closed. Basically, we just barely opened it.

We would open it 25% capacity in November and I had a family emergency. I decided like I’m done. I’ve got it.

I’ve got to sell the business. I don’t care what it takes. I’ve got to be home for my family and it’s either somebody buys it or I shut the place down liquidate by the end of the year.

Like I was done. I made that decision and so I still didn’t want to tell anybody. But then I thought I was like, a man, you have to tell people because you have to tell your landlord, you’re going to be vacating in 45 or less than 45 days.

You’ve got to let them know that you’re about to break your contract. So I reached out and I put it out and let people know like, hey, I actually sent it in a Thanksgiving email like, hey, thanks for being a major.

think clients for life. last 20 years, I’m shutting the business down. And that email, that weekend, somebody saw it because I was vulnerable and was like, I got to go.

Somebody saw it and I had a client, a buyer come that next week, and the business was sold and we were completely done by the end of the year.

It was like the fastest closing the broker I’d ever seen. And if I had stuck to my ridiculous need to not be vulnerable, I would have just literally liquidated the studio over Christmas break and nobody would have heard from me again.

It would have been like this Irish exit amount would never have known. But because I was vulnerable and let people know that I was struggling, that I had a family emergency, that I had to leave, the community literally found a solution for me in a week.

Like, what if I had done that the previous November?

Lynn Howard

I could have sold the business for three times as much. Oh, , you could have made a lot of money.

Amanda Furgiuele  

I could have sold this for three times as much because COVID, know, numbers were done.

Lynn Howard

So yeah.

Amanda Furgiuele  

And that vulnerability, so that’s That’s an example of how vulnerability can affect your perception. That was all ego, me being like, I don’t want people to judge me and think that my business is bad.

Who cares? I know what the business is doing. It doesn’t matter. But it took being vulnerable to get the sale.

If I had not done that, I absolutely would have bankrupted myself. would not bankrupt myself, but I would have liquidated the business and not even.

I would have burned a huge old bridge. Huge bridge.

Lynn Howard

Absolutely. And I think that that… Yeah, you could have made so much more money.

Amanda Furgiuele  

No, right.

Lynn Howard

kicked myself. Everything happens for a reason. put a cut up. Like vulnerability again, even though it seems like it could be just this like, oh, pity me, oh this or that.

No, it’s just putting yourself out there. It’s putting yourself out there in one aspect or another. in business, why this?

Why this in personal life is super important. It builds better relationships. Handsome. down when you can be vulnerable, you see each other differently.

You’re able to work through things that are not living underneath creating the turmoil or like termites eating your damn foundation because they’re seen.

You know, it’s almost like knocking yourself off of the pedestal in a lot of ways and like letting everybody see or those that need to see not everybody.

Like the whole world doesn’t need to know your , although I just got emotional on this podcast. the whole world doesn’t need to know your .

And last like for us, we’re public figures, right? We’re best-selling authors. We have a podcast. We’re on stages. emcee.

We speak on global stages. So we are a bit more of a public figure. So and obviously my men in a man is level of vulnerability.

It might be slightly different, but a man has grown a lot. I’ve grown a lot. Like, wasn’t this vulnerable?

Like it was a protection tool. People did not… It’s still even like releasing this book that’s coming out. It’s only a small smidgen of what the hell happened in my life, but yeah, I’m being vulnerable, putting this stuff out there, right?

so, but that’s our first line of your book. What?

Amanda Furgiuele  

Literally the first line of your book.

Lynn Howard

Absolutely. It is. Thanks for remembering. I’ve read that so many times. I’ve like, I’ve numbed it out. Um, what that being said.

So I want to get back to like when I bought this franchise, um, and this was right around the time of man.

And I actually met as well. Uh, one of the things that we taught and Eddie Esposito, who is a mentor and such, uh, hopefully one of these days we can have him on the podcast.

He’s, he’s more or less kind of semi retired at this point, but he created this, um, this process called the ECC emotionally charged connection.

And we talked this, this was one of the cornerstones of the franchise that I’ve I own that I became COO for a while.

I’m not mentioning their names because we’re no longer in alignment. So, but with that being said, this ECC was essentially your emotionally charged connection.

People weren’t connected to their business. of people aren’t connected to them. They don’t understand really truly like what’s the true connection, like what makes them ticked, like what is that like it’s almost like the secret sauce and this was a process of being vulnerable.

And it was like a process that we walked people through to have them connected to see. And it usually was something way before the business was conceived, even all the way from childhood, that they’re either fulfilling like a self-proclaimed prophecy, right, or purpose, or they’re trying to heal a wound from the back in the day or they’re trying to make something right from back in the day.

So, there’s lots of different things. But what the ECC did, the emotionally charged connection, was allowed our client. and really look at what that connection was, the emotional side, become vulnerable to see it first and then use that in their branding, in their image and really represent it helped people connect on a different level when doing business and not everybody.

I did because of my own personal journey because of my own work, because of my own gifts, I’ll say.

I really did take it much further than what the CC was originally and I had Eddie’s blessing and Eddie loved me for it because I am like that the intuition, the spiritual side, like in like the digging in and like really understanding because I’ve done the work so I understand it.

But even like not going as deep as what I took my clients or took myself is that what it allowed them to do is they were able to humanize themselves in the connection of their business and then they use that in their branding.

so when people people were connecting, they were connecting on a more human level and not a superficial level. And what that did for their business is it exactly what Amanda just just showed, like it gave more opportunity.

People saw them as humans, right? So if there was a problem, it wasn’t like screw that company, I’m just going to go to another company.

No, they’re like, hey, Amanda, I really like you and I’d like to fix this. Like, how can you create a better environment or how can you as a business owner?

And it really, really gave a very different layer and level and foundational connection to businesses. so vulnerability isn’t about like Amanda said earlier about being a blubbery mess, which I was a little bit on the call on the last podcast, a little bit emotional.

it is, and it’s not about like spraying everybody with every bit of information that you have about yourself because you’re

do what that. It really should be this natural, honest, really engagement and connection allowing the flow when it’s appropriate to be able to just start seeing each other and more of a human level and having that true connection and just like not superficially having this bypassing of of people, things and businesses.

Amanda Furgiuele  

You know, it’s funny that you say that bypassing because that immediately made me think and you mentioned this at the very beginning of the podcast about how the current generation, again, not to throw shade, seems to be falling victim to this and having a harder time connecting.

And I think a lot of that stems from how much of our lives is now played out virtually. I mean, this podcast is being recorded virtually and I’m not saying anything

technology, yay iPhones. However, because we do so much conversing over text, over email, over, we’ve lost that connection with actually talking to people and seeing their actual responses, their physical responses, and being able to associate emotion with them.

So I really feel like our vulnerability as a society has changed a lot just with the way we have embraced technology, because we aren’t interfacing and we aren’t reading emotion the same way we don’t have body language the way we did.

There isn’t a connection over the in person like there used to be even just, I always say 20 years ago, 20 years ago was not the 80s.

So 40 years ago.

Lynn Howard


Amanda Furgiuele  

know right. Every time I think, oh, 20 years ago, I think the 80s, but it’s not the 80s. 20 years ago, not the 80s.

was the 2000s.

Lynn Howard

Stocking. However, I’m talking, right?

Amanda Furgiuele  

Okay. So the point is that I believe personally that a lot of the vulnerability that we used to have or what made it seem easier is that we were in front of people and connecting on a face to face level.

And there is a different amount of emotional and, you know, spiritual or if you want to go all the way into like, or anything like the energy you get from someone is 100% different in person than it is over a text.

And that’s anybody who’s online dated knows that dating online and dating in person, they’re very different experiences. And so that’s an example, a very easy example of how that vulnerability shift changes because of the way technology works in our lives.

And so we are talking about embracing the vulnerability even after the technology has happened all this and getting back and understanding why you might have a resistance to being vulnerable and what vulnerability really means to you because vulnerability is different for each person and what is vulnerable to me may be easy peasy to the next person.

And it’s very different. So you have to understand your own levels, what your own boundaries are, and what you are willing to share and not share about yourself and in the situation.

So there’s a lot more involved than simply, I’m going to be quote unquote vulnerable right now or authentic. Sometimes people confuse those two words.

Lynn Howard

They’re different. I don’t know why that’s there’s a difference there. So it’s your bastardized words, like just to play on what you’re saying and and again, not through a shade.

And it’s not just the younger generation, definitely the older generations. Because of the accessibility of like being able to see everybody in this hole, especially the US like the cancel culture and like all this that’s happening that people like people make mistakes.

People do things and like, but the other side to what you were saying is like, I feel like some of the generation, some of the people on social media, they’re just like spraying everybody with everything, but not from the right place.

Like, mobility isn’t spraying everything to have people pity you. or to play victim. it really is an act of showing people what your true color is in the moment because you need to.

And you feel that connection to do so in a safe space versus doing it for a return.

Amanda Furgiuele  

Absolutely. And I think thought that just popped in my head. was how many people you know on Facebook who will spout every single tiny inconvenience of their life.

And it’s a platform for pity. that is exactly what vulnerability isn’t. That is just spraying the world with your woes.

Vulnerability is actually a sign of strength if you are presenting it and observing it in yourself the right way.

Lynn Howard

And sharing it with the right people because it’s not meant to be shared with the universe.

Amanda Furgiuele  

Yep, yeah, absolutely.

Lynn Howard

Oh, man, feel like man that we can. So on and on, but we’re at time, we love to, this might be a topic that we bring up again, or maybe we’ll bring on some more people.

And, and we appreciate you listening to this particular podcast. At least I, I do especially in Amanda and I, when we had the conversation about like, I was like, okay, keep it all of that in there in the last podcast.

And let’s have a conversation about vulnerability because it is, it is essential, I believe, for us on a personal level and a professional level to learn how to be, what vulnerability is, and to allow ourselves to be a bit more vulnerable because it will save relationships, it will save partnerships, and it can save your business and, or make them greater.

And so, yeah, I guess, till next time, I don’t know.

Amanda Furgiuele  

Yes, till next time, my own action item for today would be to look at your relationships business. personal and ask yourself if you are being vulnerable in a way that’s authentic to you that is within your own comfort zone and boundaries and maybe little bit outside of your comfort zone because growth comes from being outside of that comfort zone and try to identify where that stems from and what your resistance is so that you can grow in your business and in your life.

Lynn Howard


Amanda Furgiuele  

Till next time. Yeah, get after it.