The Power of Vulnerability

Today’s blog is written by Malynn Utzinger, Director of Integrative Practices, and Tim Weitzel, ESI Architect.

If we want to reignite innovation and passion, we must rehumanize work.

-Silicon Valley CEO of Several Start-ups

If we want to rehumanize work, we need to be more human in the workplace.

-Promega’s ESI Bootcamp

Vulnerability is the birthplace of intimacy, trust connection, creativity, innovation. For leaders, it is the birthplace of trusted influence. But it is not permission to overshare.

-Brené Brown

Myths of Vulnerability

It’s important that we start off by making a few things about vulnerability crystal clear:  being vulnerable is not about over-sharing, being emotional—or worse, gushy. It is not about sacrificing necessary boundaries or letting go of all discernment when speaking. Vulnerability, as we intend it, is about being real with others. It is about being clear and honest enough within yourself that you can use courage and clarity to state a need or a perspective. Quite the opposite of requiring tears or grand displays of emotion, vulnerability can be expressed with utter command of one’s emotions, so that the clarity and authenticity of the message is what remains.

Vulnerability is also knowing that you cannot know everything or do your work perfectly or even to your full satisfaction sometimes, and it is having this same understanding and acceptance for others. It is being able to speak to that honestly so that we can build sustainable bridges between ourselves and others. We call this speaking our truths–with discernment.

Finally, vulnerability is knowing that while we must give our best efforts where and whenever we can, we must also know what we can’t control.  In most cases, what we cannot control is outcomes.  Therefore, vulnerability is embracing the uncertainty in how things will go in our relationships and in our work if we risk emotional exposure.  We cannot always know how others will hear what we share, but we can learn to take that risk and speak in service to a common goal.  For example, we might decide to share that the reason we are being so obsessive or insistent on a process is because of a past failure (perceived or real) that we still carry with us.  Even though we cannot control what others will think of our story, we trust that the sharing may help them share a need of their own or to hear our own need differently, so that we can all work together.  This is true in every relationship of our lives, where we learn to share something true for the sake of allowing another human being to know us as we are. 

Continue reading “The Power of Vulnerability”

Building Community: Outreach through BTC Institute Courses and Activities

Students in the Core Techniques in Protein and  Genetic Engineering Course (photo credit BTCI)
Students in the Core Techniques in Protein and Genetic Engineering Course (photo credit BTCI)

One of the questions that Promega has always asked of itself is “How can a company really become a vital part of its community over the long term, making truly valuable and unique contributions that foster deep connections to local communities where it exists?”  Lately we have formalized that with our Corporate Responsibility Report, but this question has always been a part of our corporate culture, long before such thinking was popular or “en vogue”.

In 1993 Promega helped to begin the nonprofit educational outreach institution, the BTC institute, this long-term commitment to the local community has grown throughout the 22 years to become an integral part of the local Wisconsin educational community and serve as a model for global partners as well. Here are a few thoughts from the Karin Borgh, the Executive Director of BTC Institute, about how it has managed to work toward a vision of being a vital, contributing member of the community. Continue reading “Building Community: Outreach through BTC Institute Courses and Activities”