I went with my son to his college in Bellevue this week to run through all the administrative garbage that goes along with being a Freshman (this is our first college freshman in the family). He was like a deer in headlights. Of course, mom (that’s me) didn’t help. Here’s how it went down…

Conversation with my Son

Me: “Did you print out your class schedule?”  

Loui: “I can’t get into my account online.”Pia Larson with son

Me: “Did you call or email tech?”

Silence…

Me: “You got your parking permit, right?”

Loui: “Do I need one?”

Facepalm

Me: “Where are you on the waitlist for your writing class? Do you have a backup class?”

Loui: “I have no idea.”

Queue the long dissertation from mom about how you always need a backup plan when you’re waitlisted so you don’t fall behind

Me: “What books do you need to purchase?”

Loui: “I just figured I’ll buy them on the first day of class.”

Mom having a small heart attack on the sidewalk running through all the ‘what ifs’…what if they run out….what if you can buy them online….what if you can get a free version online….do they even use physical textbooks in college anymore and why is that still a thing?

Me: “Have you met your academic counselor?”

Loui: “Do I need one?”

He wants to be a nurse so you can imagine my panic at not having this all thought out as there are so many tracks to consider

Embrace your Vulnerability

At the end of the day, we got everything straightened out. I can’t tell you how many times I was tempted to jump in and help him along the way. I desperately wanted to impart all my experience and wisdom to him on how to succeed in life. Like being prepared and closing the loop, thinking of backup plans, scheduling reminders, writing things down, etc.

Instead, I took a deep breath and brought myself back to my freshman year when my dad went with me to San Francisco State to stand in lines all day to get the garbage admin stuff taken care of. The small nugget of advice I needed to share with my son at that moment was clear…

“Loui…always remember to embrace your vulnerability. If you don’t know the answers, reach out to people and ask. They may not know the answers but they can find someone who does. It’s not bad to be vulnerable. You’ll find that most humans will go out of their way to help you if you are authentic. You don’t have to know it all. And you will never be 100% prepared.”

He smiled and nodded. He felt he could embrace this nugget of advice from mom.

When I embrace vulnerability in my business, I am always amazed what doors it opens. My business is more successful than I could have ever imagined because at different points in my 10 year journey from starting Fingerprint Marketing, I have paused and asked for help. Or asked how I can do better.

I quit comparing myself to competitors (okay…I still secretly keep one eye on them) and asked my sphere how I could do better. I ask my clients all the time. I ask my potential clients. I ask my coaches. I ask my team. I ask my vendors and my referral partners. I know that pretending that I am the best at everything will not allow me to grow. Allowing the wisdom from others who have been in my shoes will push me to new heights. But ya gotta be willing to be vulnerable, reach out for help and ask “how can I do better?”. Don’t pretend that you always have your shit together (unless you’re on Facebook where it’s one big freaking high school reunion). Your clients and potential clients want to know that you’ve been in the trenches and you are human.

We’ll see how Loui fares in his first year of college. I am confident he’ll figure it out. I’ll do my best not to present all the answers before the questions. I’ll trust that he’ll find his tribe who can provide the answers and help build his confidence.

Oh, and if you haven’t watched this amazing Ted Talk on The Power of Vulnerability, stop what you’re doing right now and check it out. Brene Brown, American scholar, author, and public speaker, sums it up perfectly. It takes courage to be imperfect but once you do, your world will embrace you.