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By: Cassie Little

Where do you look to for direction? Is it people you trust, social media, yourself?

Reflecting on all the transitions that came for me in 2019, I know I spent way too much time looking to societal norms and friends’ approval for guidance when trying to gauge where I’m at or where I should be going. The trap I found myself in when trying to portray myself as others’ want me to be is that I lose who I truly am in this effort to meet perceived expectations.

The end of a year is a great time to consider who you are and how you want to continue to grow in the coming year. But it takes some vulnerability to uncover your authentic self, separate from who you think you should be.

I don’t know about you but in the past, I have thought of vulnerability as burdensome or sign of weakness. But Brene Brown’s definition reminded me of it’s true implications: “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change. To create is to make something that has never existed before. There’s nothing more vulnerable than that.”

It’s interesting that while we think of vulnerability as inconvenient or heavy for those in our lives, it actually liberates us to create and provide something new to the world. Being unafraid in our innovation and creativity allows us to provide a perspective that could even benefit those around us. When we’re vulnerable in this way, we’re replacing who we should be for who we truly are – our authentic selves.

What I learned from exhausting myself being “who I should be” is that I need a more unapologetic, honest version of myself in this upcoming year. As leadership, academic, and personal transitions happen at the end of this year, I’d love to provide you with some ways you can be more vulnerable in the new year:

  • Go after something you’re passionate about even if it’s unpopular.
  • Take opportunities with trusted friend to be real about “how you’re doing” and “how your day’s going.”
  • Prioritize your commitments to align with your priorities. You get to decide how you spend your most limited resource – time!

Walking into the new year, I encourage you to be vulnerable with those who deserve it in your life. Invest in the things that matter to you and allow yourself to step into your authentic self this new year. I’m going to be intentionally seeking direction from my authentic self, too.

Learn more about Cassie Little and her programs at campuspeak.com/speaker/cassie-little/