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Opening Up to Vulnerability

With Barbara Powell, MA, MindCoach

Season 6, Episode 6  | April 27, 2021

The ability to be vulnerable — and show up as our real, authentic selves — is central to our well-being. Barbara Powell, MA, MindCoach with Life Time Mind, dives into the power of this raw emotion and debunks the myths surrounding it, including how it’s connected to our other emotions and why it’s OK if it doesn’t feel entirely comfortable to us.

Barbara Powell

Barbara Powell, MA, NBC–HWC, is a MindCoach with Life Time Mind. She’s also a board-certified coach with a focus in mindfulness and positive psychology, as well as a HIIT instructor and nine-time marathon runner.

Vulnerability is an emotion that’s foundational to our well-being. However, it’s often one that’s misunderstood. Powell clears up those misconceptions, including debunking these three myths:

  • Myth No. 1: Vulnerability = weakness. “Courage and vulnerability go hand-in-hand,” says Powell. “The root word of courage is ‘cor,’ which is Latin for heart. Originally, courage meant to speak with one’s full heart. It naturally takes courage to show up and open up. It truly is leaning into the strength we have within us.”
  • Myth No. 3: Vulnerability = isolation. “We as humans are wired to connect,” says Powell. “Our basic needs lie within being seen, heard, and known. And we can’t have that if there’s no connection there. This shared language of being open and vulnerable with each other? It continues to forge a deeper connection. The most powerful connections I have in my life are because I was able to be vulnerable.”
  • Myth No. 2: Vulnerability = not for me. “Vulnerability is the invitation for you to be your full self as a human,” says Powell. “It’s all easier said than done, and I think that’s what makes it so juicy and so worth it, because truly on the other side of it is vitality.”

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Transcript: Opening Up to Vulnerability

Season 6, Episode 6  | April 27, 2021

Jamie Martin

Welcome to Life Time Talks, the healthy-living podcast that’s aimed at helping you achieve your health, fitness, and life goals. I’m Jamie Martin, editor-in-chief of Experience Life, Life Time’s whole-life health and fitness magazine.

David Freeman

And I’m David Freeman, the national digital performer brand leader for Life Time. We’re all in different places when it comes to our health and fitness, but no matter what we are working toward, there are some essential things we can do to keep moving in the direction of a healthy, purpose-driven life.

Jamie Martin

In each episode, we break down the various elements of healthy living, including fitness and nutrition, mindset and community, health issues, and more. We’ll also share real inspiring stories of transformation.

David Freeman

And we’ll also be talking to experts from Life Time and beyond, who’ll share their insights and knowledge, so you’ll have the tools and information you need to take charge of your next steps. Here we go.

[MUSIC]

David Freemen  

Hey everyone. We’re back with another episode of Life Time Talks and today we’re digging in on the topic of vulnerability. Jamie, when you think of vulnerability, what word, phrase, or image comes to your mind?

Jamie Martin  

Yeah. So, this is one of those topics that over the last several years I’ve done quite a bit of reading on, and the word, no, the phrase I should say, that comes to mind for me is being real. It’s about, like showing up as who I am even when it scares me or even when I’m worried about someone’s judgement, or what are people going to think. So, this is something I’m working on constantly, but being real and honestly authentically who I am. How about for you?

David Freemen  

For so long it’s been weakness and I would say over the past three to five years it’s shifted to superpower or strength. So, it has definitely shifted over the past few years, but for so long it was a sign of weakness. So, it’s changed a lot.

Jamie Martin  

I don’t think you’re the only who’s thought that, I mean, I think that no matter what your definition, vulnerability is one of those things that can be confusing, and it’s often misunderstood, but deep down it’s really foundational to our wellbeing as a whole and we’re going to be talking about that today with our guest. So, we’re talking with Barbara Powell, who is a mind coach with Life Time Mind, the performance coaching program at Life Time, and she’s going to be talking to us about what vulnerability is, helping us better understand it, but then also sharing, like what we can learn from it and how it can benefit our relationships and so much more. I think she’s going to debunk kind of that definition of weakness, or at least help us reframe it, is where we’re headed with that.

David Freemen  

To give you a little bit more about Barbara, she received her Master’s in health and wellbeing and as a coach at the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota.  She’s also a board-certified coach with the focus of mindfulness and positive psychology. This is another kicker for you, you know I’m going to appreciate this one, she’s also a hit instructor and a nine-time marathon runner. Not one, not two, but nine you all. So, her experience as far as human nature and deep passion for mental wellbeing is rooted in her upbringing as a sensitive middle child of 12. So, she’s bringing all that and more to today’s conversation. So, let’s go ahead and get after it.

[MUSIC]

Jamie Martin  

We have had a lot of conversations over the last several months about mental health and wellbeing and one of the topics that come up repeatedly is vulnerability. David, I know you and I have had this conversation, we’ve had them both on the podcast and kind of separately at well, and we are thrilled to bring Barbara Powell of Life Time Mind on to talk with us about this today. So, we’re going to dive right in. I’m going to kick it over to you, David.

David Freemen  

Yeah. So, welcome, welcome Ms. Barbara Powell. I like to call you Barbara “Power” Powell, because you always drop so many different gems as far as knowledge. So, vulnerability is our topic and it’s an emotion that is often misunderstood. So, can you start by simply defining vulnerability for our listeners?

Barbara Powell

Oh my gosh. Yes. So, it’s such a pleasure to be on here with you and quite honestly, vulnerability is one of my favorite topics to touch upon because there really truly are thousands of different ways of looking at it, but as we boil down vulnerability, one of the best ways to define it is looking at actually the work of Dr. Brené Brown, who is one of the forefront researchers on things like vulnerability, shame, and other very real, raw, human emotions, and Dr. Brené Brown, she describes vulnerability as uncertainty. It’s risk. It’s emotional exposure. So, it’s really showing up and being seen in a way that doesn’t really give you any guarantees. You’re really showing up as your full and whole self, and my addition to that is that vulnerability really is, dare I say, the most robust expression of who you are as a person in your authentic self, and that might be comfortable or uncomfortable, depending on your relationship with your emotions and your emotional wellbeing, but truly, yes, vulnerability is that expression of our authentic self.

Jamie Martin  

You know, Brené Brown’s work has been around for more than a decade you know, and I was telling you before we started recording the podcast that some of my earliest recognition of her work was when I read Daring Greatly, and I have a very clear memory of reading a passage about vulnerability in a prenatal yoga class that I was teaching at the time. I just remember thinking, like if you’re not vulnerable at that period of your life I don’t know when you are, but it really is about bringing your real self to every circumstance, and I think the quote that she has says vulnerability is the greatest measure of courage, which I think is a pretty powerful statement. So, can you explain how vulnerability and courage are connected? I know when I read that quote in that yoga class several years ago it was like, this is a courageous act for women who are becoming mothers. We’re vulnerable yet this is so brave of us. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Barbara Powell

Yes. Truly stepping into your full life experience in that moment. So, isn’t this the truth that courage and vulnerability naturally go hand in hand together. You know, we all can think back and you’re reminded of one of those moments where perhaps it was a heart pounding experience, an uncomfortable one, or one where we really felt, again, emotionally exposed, right, in that circumstance and its in those big moments of being vulnerable that, I mean, it naturally takes courage to show up, and I love knowing that the root word of courage is ‘cor,’ which is Latin for heart, right, we hear this, and originally courage, it meant to speak with ones full heart. To speak fully with one’s full heart. So, Brené’s research, it really reveals that courage is then the root of vulnerability. So, it takes real courage to open up, not just to a moment like that, Jamie, of being in a prenatal yoga studio, but opening up to the full expression of joy or the full expression of pain. I have conversations with my clients around this where it takes courage to really address the elephant in the room so to speak, because when you’re addressing the elephant in the room, really blatantly owning up or leaning into the experience itself, you’re really offering a commitment to honesty. This is you giving a full commitment to honesty. So, yes, courage and vulnerability, they show up hand in hand to the party each and every time.

Jamie Martin  

What I love about that is you’re just nodding to all these emotions as being very real and being comfortable with showing up to them and I just want to talk about that for a second because you know, I use this example from that class when I first got really comfortable with this topic more, but I do think it’s speaking to the acknowledgement of fear, which sometimes we’re afraid to acknowledge or admit in the world. So, can you talk a little bit about that, too? I mean, some people see, like admitting those things as weaknesses, but that’s not necessarily what she’s saying. Vulnerability is not a weakness.

Barbara Powell

No. Not at all. It truly is leaning into the strength that we have within us to show up. So, I think of, when we, again, putting ourselves into those real raw examples that we have in our life, our heart is pounding. Our body can give us these physical ques that there might be stress, or fear, or possible danger around us and we have this opportunity to engage with our body in a supportive way to step into that moment. Just because the heart is racing, the palms are sweaty, and we’ve never been in an experience like that before does not mean we can’t bring out body into it, support our body in that moment, and show up fully, again, as ourselves, as a full expression of ourselves.

David Freemen  

Being a male, I know that so many times when we hear the words, be more vulnerable, like what exactly that does, I can speak from my personal experiences, like to your point, it feel’s like that’s going to show a side of weakness. So, when we look at vulnerability and we look at connection, people that are listening right now, they know I’m huge on tribe, as far as bringing people together. So, when we look at vulnerability and connection, how are these two related, because for us to be able to have a real connection we first have to be able to be seen, right, so let us know what you think as far as those two are related.

Barbara Powell

Oh my gosh. Yes. I love this topic as well, because connection really is our lifeline as a species. We, as humans, are wired to connect. So, our basic needs, like you said and alluded to, I mean, it lies within being seen, heard, and known. Seen, heard, and known. We can’t have seen, heard, and known if there’s no connection there and as humans, we’re communal you know, I love sharing with my clients that when having this conversation that we literally came into this world connected to another human being at our most vulnerable state, you know? So, it is essential to be able to carry this on throughout the course of our entire lives. Connection is a necessity. It is truly a lifeline. I’d like to think, and what I see, not just in the clients that I have and the coaching work that I do, but also just being a real raw human walking around the world, that this shared language of being vulnerable and open with each other, it continues to forge a deeper connection. The deepest most powerful connections I have in my life are because I was able to be vulnerable and fully there with them and you know, this topic of connection, it gets me thinking about loneliness you know, loneliness, it’s been shown right now that it’s especially seen as a whole other pandemic that’s occurring underneath the surface, and this division from each other, so division of beliefs and then physical division from each other, it has it’s toll on us, on our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. So, in our state of loneliness, the remedy for that is to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to seek out help and connection, and to be physically, or mentally, or emotionally there with each other. So, seeking out connection and creating these vulnerable opportunities with each other helps to really alleviate loneliness that again is another real, raw, and human emotion that many of us are feeling.

Jamie Martin  

And loneliness, I mean, we’ve done a bunch of research on this in the magazine, and it’s quoted wildly you know, you mentioned it’s its own epidemic, but it’s also a major risk factor for mortality. There are statistics saying it’s as great a risk factor for mortality as smoking or sedentariness. So, it is a significant thing and how do we address that. To your point, I think that’s a beautiful point, about finding ways to connect and knowing the role that it can play in our overall wellbeing. So important.

David Freemen  

What I would say is, we always want takeaways, right? So, we talk about some different ways that we can be vulnerable, so when is it a time that I or Jamie have benefited as far as being vulnerable, we can share that in a minute, but I want you to kick us off with maybe a self-exercise that can show how we can put this into action.

Barbara Powell

So, one of the greatest self exercises that we can do truly, is self-reflection, right, of leaning in and saying, where in my life have I felt raw, where in my life have I felt really open or emotionally exposed, and what happened as a result of that. When we do a thought exercise like that we give ourselves the opportunity to remember and then hold true, right, with what is possible within us. So, for example, for myself I think back to when I was a young 20 year old working and living in New York City and you know, I was working a great job, I was in sales and marketing and really enjoying the work itself, but looking back I ultimately knew that I wasn’t connected you know, looking back I can absolutely pinpoint that I felt this large sense of loneliness and disconnect, and it wasn’t just in being you know, a single person in one of the largest cities in the world, right, where there are so many people, it was more so knowing that I had a purpose and I wasn’t living up to it. So, when I think about how vulnerability has shown up in my life, I think back to that moment because I had to step in with my manager and have a really hard conversation. I had to leave a job that was financially stable and step into uncertainty. I had to be emotionally exposed in that moment and what happened as a result, I mean, a decade later I’m sitting here with the two of you, right, two remarkable humans talking vulnerability. I work as a mental health coach and facilitator. So, there was great reward as a result of my ability and openness to be vulnerable. So, I welcome that thought exercise of where were you, as a listener, where were you vulnerable, how did you benefit from it?

Jamie Martin  

Well, David, you mentioned us wanting to share a little bit. Do you want to take a moment to share and then I’d be happy to share kind of one of those moments, too, if we’re open to that? I mean, I think that’s part of what this is today, like let’s put ourselves out there, right? Show up as we are.

David Freemen  

Yeah. I would say my moment of vulnerability was when I was overseas. I was isolated from a lot of the distractions, whether that be social media, TV, family, friends, or whatever else that may be, and in that moment, I was the most present that I’ve ever been in my life. I was more aware of my surroundings and I started to come into my own because I started to understand more and more, or starting having more and more of a sense of purpose of why I was here on this earth and what it is I should be doing. So, from journaling and reading and so on and so forth I came into my own. So, in that moment, I know that we talked about being seen, I was not able to see myself for so long because I was listening to the narratives of others of what it is that I should be doing in my life, and when I was isolated from, or not distracted from all these others around me, it allowed me to be or have a clear vision as far as who I was and what it is that I should be doing in life. So, it was in that moment as far as I broke down, I cried, I was confused, I was in a disarray of just so many different emotions, but when I was able to finally break clear of that storm, I was able to see myself for who I was and what it is that I should be doing here on earth.

Barbara Powell

How beautiful to be able to lean into that story. What I get from that is, like the knowing that in those moments of vulnerability, we may not even know what the treasure is going to be on the other side of it, because there are a swirl of emotions present there you know, again, it’s that uncertainty that comes in and so being able to move through it moves you to the other side of it, and everyone who knows you knows how much of a remarkable person you are and how much that story truly is a part of your story and growth. Thank you, for sharing.

Jamie Martin  

There have been so many moments of vulnerability you know, that I could go back decades probably, but there’s actually a more recent example. As I was thinking early in the pandemic and I was doing a lot of reading, I had a lot of time to, like actually dig into some of the books and the readings and we’ve all talked about Glennon Doyle, and everyone knows her latest book, Untamed, and I remember reading, there were a couple of chapters in there about the knowing, and I remember thinking, like I’m not really knowing myself very well right now, and I remember sitting with that and similar, David, to you, I did a lot of, like journaling around that, like what am I really feeling and thinking, but how do I then be vulnerable enough to talk about my loved ones who are closest to me about where I’ve been struggling. So, some stuff that I had been kind of burying and pushing down, I had a really honest conversation with my husband about things that I hadn’t been saying for awhile and we had a really deep conversation about it and to be honest it was trying for a period of time, but it opened new doors, like in my relationship, that had been closed for awhile or that I hadn’t been willing to show because it was just like, I was afraid of the reaction. I was afraid that if I really show up as this or if I express this, what are people going to think and when I get to this judgement is part of that, like I was worried about what other people would think, but when I had that conversation, we had a better understanding of each other and I felt like, OK, this is real, like I really am joining up. This is how I feel, and I want to put it out there for real. So, that was kind of early in the pandemic and it’s stayed with me. I’ve been sticking with that, like when I’m feeling those things, when I’m feeling an emotion, like I’m actually going to say this. I’m going to put this out there. I’m not going to push it down. I know it might not be great. I don’t know what the reaction will be, but it feels true and honest to me as a human showing up in this world. So, that was kind of in the last year. Work I’m continuing to do to this day, obviously it’s never ending, right, it’s ongoing, I hope?

Barbara Powell

Isn’t that the truth. It’s in moments like that, that stamp onto our memory you know, when we step into those vulnerable moments, like you having and engaging with your husband in such a deep, and powerful, and honest manner, that’s a memory stamp. That’s something you can return to, to say I did that, I moved through that. Remarkable. Thank you, for sharing.

Jamie Martin  

It’s like one of those little Inside Out moments. You guys know that Pixar movie, right? I hope what that did for people, my hope is that you know, us being willing to share something here, is that it allows people to have those conversations too, whether it’s with a friend, a partner, whoever, and hopefully without a fear of judgement about that. I would like to speak to that because I do think that we sometimes burry our emotions, or we don’t speak truthfully because we’re afraid of what other people are going to think, or it’s a way of, like we almost numb our own emotions to make other people more comfortable and to avoid their judgement. So, can you speak to that a little bit, because I do think it’s something that we see perpetuated, especially, we’re living in contentious times right now, a lot of people are afraid to show up and be honest about where they’re at.

Barbara Powell

Yes. It is so deserving of attention. Right now with the age that we’re in and constant showcasing on social media you know, we have our highlight reels that are out there, we can very easily fall into the comparison trap, which I think is a big part of judgement, right, in which we take our real existence and our realness of being a human and compare and slide it against others. So, it’s so helpful when we can notice when that comparison is happening or notice when that self-judgement is arising within us, because then when we notice it’s happening, then we can do something with it, right? If you notice that, OK, a certain person on my media feed is giving me all kind of judgmental feelings about myself, take action. Whether you’re shifting what your thought process is in that moment of reminding yourself, I love and care for myself, or unfollowing a person, right, no shame in that game. So, noticing when that judgement arises and then being able to gently maneuver it, gently shift it into a territory of self-love and care is so essential.

David Freemen  

You talked about the hidden treasure as far as the reward that you get from uncovering some of the being vulnerable, right? So, we talk about be brave. We talk about you know, having the courage. Can you talk about all the individuals who are listening right now, what could truly be awaiting them on the other end if they break down these walls and allow that vulnerability to come to life?

Barbara Powell

I’m going to say it in two words, what’s on the end of that is life and vitality, right? So, by being our true selves and by being, in turn, open to ourselves and others in a nonjudgmental way, right, we really intentionally create stronger, more meaningful relationships you know, and it’s been shown when we have stronger, more meaningful relationships, we sleep better. Our body, our nervous system regulates, right, in a more healthy and supportive way. Our communities then begin to strengthen, you know? As a result of being able to share who you are fully and completely, your mind becomes less frenzied, doesn’t it? Then you accept and hold space for others so that their minds can become less frenzied, and they can share who they are as well. So, of course, yes, the realm of vulnerability is all easier said than done and I think that is what makes it so juicy and so worth it, because truly on the other side of it is vitality.

Jamie Martin

So, one thing I’m hearing there, and it sounds a little bit contagious and I don’t love the use of that word, right, but when we’re showing up as individuals, right, as our true selves in the world, we’re demonstrating and modeling a way of living and being in the world, and so when that can spread, right, like how we show up and then how we spend time with people and support one another creates, not just individual wellbeing, but collective wellbeing. So, this thought in my head, like what would the world look like if we were all a little bit more vulnerable you know, and like what might happen you know, what could the collective look like you know, if we showed up in our humanness and I know we’ve talked about humanness and humanity a little bit in previous podcasts, but like wow. There’s just something there that, like it makes me happy to think about and hopeful you know, what if more of us can do that?

Barbara Powell

I honestly, I think about every single time that we get to show up as our most vulnerable selves or our true selves, however feels good to you and however you want to define it, right? When we’re showing up as our whole self, that is a ripple effect moment. You have no idea who that ripple effect is moving outward to, inspiring. So, we can think about it as a ripple effect moment. We can also think about it as a seed planting moment. You are planting a seed by showing another individual, perhaps a child in your life or a coworker, right, what it means to be vulnerable and real, and they might not be able to be fully present and there with you in that moment, but you get to plant a seed because you’re mirroring and showcasing what it truly looks like to be your most full human expression. Yeah. I get goosebumps because I think that’s so inspiring. I also love the idea of ripple effect or seed planting, as seen as more than contagious, which you can tell the time period.

David Freemen  

Yeah. So, I mean, just normalizing this vibe as far as being vulnerable is so huge. I’m once again speaking from a male perspective, I am loving seeing more and more males take this one and allow them to know that expressing themselves in this way will, once again, open up the doors for so many other things to happen for them. I can’t wait until we get to the end. We’ve got some amazing questions for you, so you be ready for that, but a lot of it was driven from a lot of males that actually send me these questions. It was more males that sent me questions than females. That’s how I know that there is so much curiosity around how we can get better in this area.

Jamie Martin  

So, I want to acknowledge you know, we’ve been talking a lot about emotional vulnerability you know, and that can stop us from taking action or doing things, because whether it’s fear or whatever, I want to acknowledge that we’re a health club company, healthy way of life, is what Life Time is all about, and being vulnerable, sometimes we ask people to come in, in many times vulnerable states, to our spaces and to try new things, and to do new things, and that’s hard. I mean, for a lot of people, perusing their healthy way of life goals can feel intimidating initially because they don’t know how to do something, or they’re intimidated by something, or they don’t feel like they fit in, and I just want to acknowledge that, but there’s that physical piece that I think, we have such, as an organization Life Time has this really unique opportunity of helping people in this multifaceted state of vulnerability, physical, emotional, and I wonder, like, what are your thoughts or tips for people who are feeling, like, I don’t belong there, that’s not a space for me, and David, you could probably speak to this too as somebody who’s been in the field and doing this work in clubs with people, but Barbara, I’d love your thoughts on that, too, because we’re asking people to come in, sometimes when they’re you know, whether they’re having a crisis of some sort, a health crisis, or just ready for change. What does that look like and what would you recommend for people?

Barbara Powell

So wonderful to be able to move in this territory because what this is say is, we acknowledge that every single person has their own lived experience, and as an organization like Life Time, we get to offer this destination for them to show up as their full unique selves, right? So, my first response to that is, again, kind of going back to what I mentioned earlier about the ripple effect, how can you look to others as inspiration you know, who is it in your life that inspires you or has shown up maybe in an uncomfortable space and leaned into it, owned it, right, like really grew into it. I think of, like those little fish when you know, depending on what size glass aquarium you put them in, right, they grow to the size of that aquarium, like who do you know in your life was able to grow because they placed themselves in situations that facilitated and supported that growth? So, look to your inspiration. I would also say, too, along side that, be honest with yourself in a very gentle way. Your emotional experience is unique to you. No one else owns your emotional experience. So, you can get to define what that looks like you know, you get to show up whether you decide to do a group fitness class, right, or partake in a meditation, or even engage in conversation with someone. All of those things can feel vulnerable in their own ways. You really get to be the one to orchestrate that. So, taking ownership and being honest with yourself in a gentle way I think is paramount.

Jamie Martin  

David, how have you worked with clients on that you know, because I know your ‘mind right, body right’ is one thing you really focus on, too?

David Freemen  

Yeah. That’s the mantra for sure as far as it all starts upstairs. I meet individuals where they are at and I try to take a catalog of their experiences prior to our first meeting. I try to get as much information as I can, I do my homework on the individuals, and when I say meet them where they’re at, the more I know the more empowering I can be. So, a lot of times individuals look to coaches or trainers as the motivators. In reality, motivation lasts but for so long. So, maximizing is what I’m about and if I can allow myself to get you to see and tap into what lives within you and bring that out daily and maximize your full potential, then that’s where the change happens, because when I’m removed from the picture, if I’m no longer coaching you, you now have all these elements that we brought out during our training, now you’re set up for success beyond the training session, you’re set up for success in life. So, I always tell people, I might be coaching you as far as a round of squat, but I’m really teaching a lesson about life within the squat. So, that’s how I approach it.

Jamie Martin  

Well, you’re going back to what Barbara originally said, it’s about being seen, heard, known, right? You’re doing that in that relationship that you’re building with that individual, which is so important in helping somebody begin to make progress in that space, and when it comes to sustainability in terms of the health and wellness program, that’s really key to their success in the long term. I wanted to acknowledge that because I do think we think about vulnerability so often as this emotional thing, but you know, it can affect what we do and how we act in our daily lives as well. So, I just wanted to throw that out there. David, what do you think? Do you want to ask your questions? Is it time?

David Freemen  

It’s time for the hot minute. These are all random questions. Are you ready?

Barbara Powell

Oh, David. I think I was born ready. Let’s go.

David Freemen  

Alright. Alright. Alright. So, here goes the first one, this comes from Jeff down in Dallas, Texas. I think introvert and extrovert are good, especially if you can get a good dialog from both within couples, so this is a couple question, generally they are opposite, and the introvert probably thinks the extrovert over does it. I would like to see your thoughts on how people can balance out these differences.

Barbara Powell

An introvert and an extrovert. So, we talking about differences in communication is what I’m hearing underneath that, right? So, acknowledging that there is a difference in communication, what works for me might not work for you and vice versa. So, gosh, talk about having to lean into honesty in a conversation. Your partner may need to digest and listen, process before responding. That tends to be the introverted way. The extrovert may need to externally process and talk through things out loud, right, and move quickly through the topic at hand. So, I think understanding each other’s communication style can be really helpful in the long run.

David Freemen  

I love it. I love it.

Jamie Martin  

I’m totally pointing at myself in that extrovert. It’s like, I have to talk about until it’s like you know, we need to stop talking now.

David Freemen  

Right. Next one. This one comes from Brad Miller in Minnesota. What is one thing you’ve had to forgive yourself for?

Barbara Powell

Coming in with the hard hitters. I’ve had to forgive myself with not knowing what I didn’t know at the time. So often, I know for me, I could and I have gone into the practice of turning around, looking at my life, and feeling like the cringe effect of why did I say that thing, or why did I do that thing, or why did I show up in that way with my partner whereas if I’m really honest with myself, turning around looking back at situations like that, I only knew what I knew at the time. So, I try, and this is an ongoing, ever going practice of mine, to give myself a sense of forgiveness for those situations. What a good question.

Jamie Martin  

That was a tough one. I don’t know if I could have answered as quickly as you just did. I was impressed.

Barbara Powell

Jamie, I went through a Master’s program in order to be open and honest and vulnerable. [Laughing]

Jamie Martin  

[Laughing] I know. I wish I would have gotten these things ahead of time. I would be able to answer with you. OK.

David Freemen  

We got one. Plano, Texas, from Stephanie. I’ve been hearing a lot about vulnerability recently. Everywhere from Brené Brown to The Bachelor. I haven’t really put much thought into this topic in the past, why is it so important?

Barbara Powell

Why is vulnerability so important? Well, dare I saw vulnerability is the invitation for you to be your full self as a human. So, if that’s not important, I don’t know what else in life really is.

David Freemen  

Alright. Love that. Two more. Two more. Are you ready? Two more.

Barbara Powell

I think so. My heart keeps beating throughout this.

David Freemen  

Alright. Here we go.

Jamie Martin  

You’re being so vulnerable right now.

David Freemen  

Have you ever felt disappointed about yourself? If so, why?

Barbara Powell

Gosh. Again, what a fantastic question. So, yes, I have felt disappointed in myself because I am a human and humans feel disappointment. So, the disappointment that I have felt in my life around myself has to do with, how can I describe this, I have gotten disappointed in myself in the past because I haven’t, or I’ve felt at the time that I haven’t fully done my best, or what seemed or what could have been my best in the moment. So, I will hold onto disappointment or have held onto disappointment for sure when I turn around again and look back at those moments and say, Barbara, come on, you could have done better, why didn’t you do better, and so my, again, an ongoing practice of OK, notice that disappointment, acknowledge it’s very human to feel disappointed and then in turn instead of beating myself up, well, how do I want to move forward, how do I want to show up the next time around, can I bring a little more love and care to myself?

David Freemen  

I love it. That was from Stacy Crawford in Minnesota as well. Last question, from Char Gardner, also in Minnesota, what was instilled in you as a child in regard to being vulnerable as a black man? So, this is for me. I would say, early on, as early as I can remember, my mom and dad both channeled champion mindsets, and never ever did they make me feel like I could not do anything. I believed I could fly. I believed I could walk on water. They just really instilled a strong foundation around my mindset, and you’ve always heard, like the sticks and stones may break your bones but like you know, words will never hurt, like they just dove deep into the reading to me, being present, and just setting myself and my sister up for success. So, being vulnerable to cry, I seen my dad probably shed a tear my whole life and that’s when I graduated from college, and most males, I can speak for black males, we are always usually looking for that approval from our father. So, that was a powerful moment for me to see that emotion from him and it allowed me to understand that it is OK. That got me. So, I would say definitely that was instilled early on from my parents. I’m always grateful and thankful for that.

Barbara Powell

Again, thinking back to those ripple effect moments within our lives you know, were we shown as kids what it means to be vulnerable? Did someone start that ripple effect for us or did we, as adults, have to start that ripple effect ourselves? I mean, I think it’s an extraordinary thing to be able to look back to see where you had learned these opportunities to be vulnerable, and where you got to continue to grow and cultivate this, what I think to believe, to be a superpower vulnerability.

Jamie Martin  

So, as I was listening to you, David, I wrote down the words models of vulnerability in terms of who are those or who have they been but also, like how do we be those models for them? I know, David, you have two young kids. I have two young kids. It’s like, that’s a conversation we have about, this is something we talk about. So, I hope that we can be models of vulnerability in our conversations today and in future episodes of the podcast as well. David, anything you want to add, any additional final questions for Barbara here, before we sign off today?

David Freemen  

Those were the ones that came in. They all were, I would say I love all and everything that you have been doing for this world, Barbara. I enjoy the conversations that we have. So, I appreciate your work. I appreciate your craft, your energy, your love that you put into you know, your work and everybody else around you. So, I’m glad to call you a friend and a college. I’m glad we were also able to share all your knowledge today to our listeners.

Jamie Martin  

Yes. I wholeheartedly agree and Barbara, before we sign off, any final words of advice or inspiration for our listeners?

Barbara Powell

Well, first and foremost, showing up and being on this podcast, this felt like vulnerability to me. I know before I got on, I was doing my own deep breathing exercises and getting my nervous system right before we chatted. So, my parting words truly are, just the invitation. It’s not advice. It’s not guidance. It’s merely an invitation to embrace your full human experience and in turn to be able to embrace the experience of others around you, because I truly think great things can happen as a result of that.

Jamie Martin  

Thank you so much, Barbara. We so appreciate you coming on here.

Barbara Powell

Thank you, so much. This was so much fun.

[MUSIC]

David Freeman

Thanks for joining us for this episode. As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on our conversation today, and how you approach this aspect of healthy living in your own life. What works for you? Where do you run into challenges? Where do you need help?

Jamie Martin

And if you have topics for future episodes, you can share those with us, too. Email us at lttalks@lt.life, or reach out to us on Instagram, @lifetime.life@jamiemartinel, or @freezy30, and use the hashtag #LifeTimeTalks. You can also learn more about the podcast at el.lifetime.life/podcasts.

David Freeman

And if you’re enjoying Life Time Talks, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Feel free to write a review, and also let others know about it, too. Take a screenshot of the episode, and share it on social, share it with your friends, family, work buddies, life coach, you get the gist.

Jamie Martin

Thanks for listening. We’ll talk to you next time on Life Time Talks. Life Time Talks is a production of Life Time, healthy way of life. It’s produced by Molly Schelper, with audio engineering by Peter Perkins, and sound consulting by Coy Larson. A big thank-you to the team who pulls together each episode, and everyone who provided feedback.

We’d Love to Hear From You

Have thoughts you’d like to share or topic ideas for future episodes? Email us at lttalks@lt.life.

The information in this podcast is intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge of healthcare topics. This information is for educational purposes only and should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of advice from your physician or healthcare provider. We recommend you consult your physician or healthcare professional before beginning or altering your personal exercise, diet or supplementation program.

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