When the caged bird takes flight

Finding the right work environment for gifted adults, aka rebels with a cause

Fit in.

Slow down.

Follow the rules.

Stay inside your box.

I’m not following you.

No, that idea won’t fly here.

That’s not how we do things.

Sound familiar? If so, we’ve got a lot in common.

Being forced to slow down is worse than sticking a pencil in my eye. It’s the story of my childhood: bored and waiting for the rest of the class to catch up. I must have grown accustomed to this state of affairs, because I never consciously questioned it through most of my adult years. I assumed it was simply the way it was and always would be.

What I never stopped questioning is why things are done certain ways. My mom said that “why” was the second word I learned as a baby, the first being whazzat while pointing at something. Apparently I drove her crazy with my relentless whazzat? why? whazzat? why?  interrogations about everything under the sun.

I avoided boredom at work by taking on too much. In my 20s, I was fired for incessantly breaking rules, which was the only way I could move 80 projects simultaneously towards completion. I found out later that they replaced me with four people. A lot of employers take advantage of fast workers, loading us to the breaking point. And we take it, because we can. Because we’re not good at saying no. And hey, it’s better than being bored.

But just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

Just because we can see clearly how to solve complex problems that are keeping our companies or clients or societies stuck, doesn’t always mean it’s our problem to fix. Not when our ideas aren’t acknowledged, or we’re dismissed as impractical, or people’s eyes glaze over when we explain the possibilities we see, or budgets aren’t aligned to solve the right problem. I’ll address the question of which battles to fight in a separate post. In this one, I want to focus on something else:

 The tension between security and freedom.

I’m not writing for those who prefer comfort and predictability, who curl up in the crate like the family dog, snug and safe. I’m writing for the caged bird who often doesn’t realize its nature is to fly. Or perhaps it does know – far too well – but is afraid to stretch its wings and step off into space. The cage is the only home it has known; the cage, the bird’s been told, is the only source of safety.

But safety to a bird is in the air. Safety is what land-dwellers call crazy.

I tried to step out of the cage several times throughout my career. I’d start a freelance consulting business, fail, and retreat back to the safety of a full-time job. Rinse and repeat. I convinced myself that I was both unemployable and incapable of running my own show. Unemployable because I couldn’t play the game, incapable because my wings seemed defective.

What I didn’t realize until recently is that I was missing the third way. My coachees hear this favorite question of mine whenever they’re trapped in a binary choice: “What’s the third way here?”

There’s always another way

I was failing whenever I tried to force-fit myself into the wrong place, doing the wrong thing… failing when I relied on my head instead of my heart. For decades, I didn’t know how to listen to the still, small voice within me that I’ve now grown to trust… the voice that has recently helped me step off the cliff with confidence, knowing that my wings will catch me.

I’d convinced myself that the only way I could make it on my own was as a consultant; that it was the only way I could make enough money. The only alternative is starting over at the bottom, right? But working as a consultant meant working in the cage, stubbornly trying to fix what no one else wanted (or felt empowered) to fix. But I kept at it because it was all I’d known; even as a freelancer, I was still playing it safe.

And playing it safe according to other people’s rules is the most unsafe thing we rebels can do.

Trust your instincts

Safety, for a rebel, is acting in accordance with our true nature. It’s being in our element, doing what lights us up, working with people who may not fully understand us, but at least we’re appreciated. We embrace our strengths and weaknesses, and align our work accordingly.  And this only happens when we check our overactive brains at the door and learn how to trust our instincts… the same instincts that have been criticized and ignored and beaten down by the rest of the world.  

We’re neurologically (and sometimes genetically) wired to be different. Wired to explore, to challenge, to envision, to reinvent, to advocate. Which doesn’t mean we have to go it alone: there are plenty of others just like us. We simply need to find our tribe. That may mean finding an innovative company to work in, or it can mean starting your own show.

Life’s too short for a cage, whether it’s a career, a relationship, or a place that simply feels wrong. Trust your instincts. Fly.

Liberation of an Andean Condor. Have you been here? Perched on the side of a cliff, yearning to take flight… stuck out of fear and uncertainty… and then finally stretching your wings? This video gets me every time I watch it.

If you’re ready to figure out your next step but are lost in too many possibilities, that’s my sweet spot; let’s talk.

If you’re called to be a catalyst within your existing company, and/or you need to bring others along in creating change together, that’s not my sweet spot; I recommend Catalyst Constellations to find your tribe.

Wired to be rebels

For gifted adults and the managers who coach them.

One of the first questions I can remember asking myself as a young child was, “why am I the way I am?” It’s a question I never stopped asking myself, because this nagging feeling of I don’t fit in here chased me through all my moves as a military brat, and all my jobs as an adult.

I became obsessed with personality tests in my 20s. Myers-Briggs* was a revelation to me; as an off-the-charts N (Intuitive, 20% of the population), it explained why I had such a difficult time communicating with Sensors who seemed to think in a more literal, linear way. While my abstract thinking style bounced from A to W to D to M, making intuitive leaps based on absorbing multiple data points simultaneously, my Sensor bosses bashed me for “being unstrategic.” At the time, I assumed this meant I was defective.

Much later in life, I stumbled upon how high-functioning autism shows up in women, and I now consider myself neurodiverse despite a low likelihood of being formally diagnosed. Being exceptionally good with language (I was reading at a fourth-grade level in kindergarten) and a social and identity chameleon, I’d never be picked up on the radar of diagnostic tests designed for boys. I’ve worked hard to adapt to the “normal” world… which means that the autism community is simply one more place where I sort of fit in, but still an outlier.

Gifted adults, or rebels with a cause?

But in the past week, I stumbled onto the literature about gifted adults: those with above-average intelligence and/or an exceptional talent. Ding ding ding!! Now we’re onto something. The below chart takes a more visual view of common gifted characteristics. Or, check out this helpful article on how gifted shows up in the workplace.

In the past few years I’ve come to accept and embrace my quirks that come with being so-called “gifted,” which I’ve defined as a rebel with a cause: breaking rules that don’t make sense, constantly asking why something is the way it is, and obsessing over fairness and justice. I work faster than most. I can consume vast amounts of data, metabolize it and find the patterns. Instead of being broken and dysfunctional, I’ve realized that these are my superpowers I share with other gifted adults. I’ve found my tribe.

But original minds carry some baggage. We can have a fear of failure thanks to high expectations of ourselves… get caught in a perfectionist trap… get overwhelmed by all the possibilities we see… have difficulty focusing on one thing… feel alone and misunderstood. And it’s also hard for us to work in traditional and hierarchical environments where we’re expected to hunker down in our box and color inside the lines.

Gifted is also frequently misdiagnosed as ADHD or high-functioning autism (HFA); the similarities are remarkable. And it’s also common for all these traits to coexist in some people (including me.)

rebel brains are wired differently.

Gifted adults make up anywhere from 2 – 20% of the population depending on whatever arbitrary cut-off point you choose. Meaning we’re minorities, different on the inside, based on how our brains are wired… which is why I advocate for a broader definition of neurodiversity in the workplace. Traditional ways of coaching and supervising aren’t usually effective with us.

We might drive managers crazy with our constant challenging of the status quo, or insistence on doing meaningful work, or emotional or environmental sensitivity, or oblivious disregard for arbitrary departmental or hierarchical boundaries. But put us in the right environment, allowing us the autonomy to solve wicked problems, and we become prized assets. You just need to understand how we’re wired; different can be inconvenient, but it doesn’t mean we’re wrong.

Here are four ways that we’re neurologically unique, along with coaching implications. Our brains take in more information, think laterally through greater connectivity, think at lightning speed, and process more intuitively.

We take in more information

Crazy or creative? Both can be linked to the degree of latent inhibition in the brain: “the capacity of an animal to unconsciously screen out stimuli perceived as irrelevant to its needs.” That means that a mind with low levels of latent inhibition is bombarded with more details than the typical mind. All those details can lead either to madness (think John Forbes Nash in A Beautiful Mind) or simply a greater creative capacity. Or both.

A study among Harvard undergrads found that high lifetime creative achievers had significantly less latent inhibition than low creative achievers. Additionally, creative thinkers within a single domain (think math or music) proved seven times more likely to have low latent inhibition scores than high ones. Higher IQ and working memory seems to protect these minds from the severe psychological downsides of taking in too much information.

But psychological downsides still exist. Gifted kids and adults often are sensitive and easily overwhelmed, either by the sensory environment, emotions, or simply too many ideas rattling around in our brains. It can be helpful to create very quiet working environments (or use noise-canceling headphones). If I’m drinking from an information firehose I find that a 20 minute nap resets my brain from an overwhelm-induced freeze. Lastly, we need different approaches to goal-setting: ways to take options off the table and keep moving in the same direction without stifling our diverse interests or forcing us into a linear mode of working. I’ve created a process called Intent+Improv to solve for this.

Our brains are more connected

Gifted children and adults are known to be exceptional associative thinkers. We’re able to connect the dots across all that stimulus we absorb, likely because we have more connections in our brains.

Connectivity across brain regions is akin to the roads on which you travel to get from place to place. In the brain, these roads are made up of tracts of white matter which serve as higher speed freeways. The gifted brain has more of these tracts,2 allowing for the possibility of more “traffic movement.”

Neuroscience of Giftedness: Greater Connectivity Across Brain Regions

We rebels need to learn how to translate our lateral ideas in a linear context to be understood by most people; we need to show how we arrived at our conclusions, which are usually evident in hindsight. Conversely, linear thinkers need to appreciate that divergent minds are simply taking a different route. Not better or worse, just different.

The other major coaching opportunity for rebels is taking the time to think through other options; intuitive, associative thinkers can easily get married to the patterns that we see so clearly and quickly. A top-down, logical approach is necessary to pressure-test our ideas and identify what’s missing… before our bosses and clients point it out! My favorite coaching question: what’s the third way here?

We think and iterate at lightning speed

Because we’re processing more information using more connections, we think faster. As kids, we may have entertained ourselves in class, bored, waiting for others to catch up.

“When you say someone is quick-thinking, it’s genuinely true. The impulses are going faster and they are just more efficient at processing information, and then making a decision based on it.”

Paul Thomson, PhD, professor of neurology at UCLA School of Medicine

We’re still doing the same thing as adults, only now, we’re not waiting. And we end up leaving behind the very people we need to bring on board to make our visions a reality. Shannon Lucas and Tracey Lovejoy’s new book delves into the nature of catalysts — essentially gifted adults with a drive for action — and how we need to slow down with intentionality to bring others along and avoid burnout.

“What you see and do in a proverbial flash is what entire teams take years to map out. And the only way to remove the blind spots, protect yourself, and value your strengths is to make your movements visible—first to yourself, then to everyone you’re bringing along with you.”

Move Fast. Break Shit. Burn Out. The Catalyst’s Guide to Working Well
We process information more intuitively

While the left/right brain dominance theory has been debunked (replaced by dual-processing theory popularized by Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow), there are two areas of hemispheric specialization that are interesting and relevant to this topic: Intuition likely happens in the right half, but language is processed in the left.

“…a more distributed intuitive network may feed into a predominately right hemispheric insight-based functional neuronal architecture.”

“…The right hemisphere lacks the capacity to generate productive language in over 95% of the population…”

Intuition, insight, and the right hemisphere: Emergence of higher sociocognitive functions

I’ve noticed that the rebels I coach (mostly women) often have difficulty translating what they intuit into words. Because we mostly process abstractly, holistically and visually in the right brain, we need to “port” these ideas into the language center located in the left hemisphere. It’s a challenge shared by those on the autism spectrum as well; as articulated by a member of an Aspie Women Facebook group:

“If my brain takes in and organises so much information at once, is that caused or helped by the fact it seems to bypass my brain’s language centres? It’s incredibly hard work to describe what I know… I always feel at a loss for words to convey the largeness and complexity of my understanding. So much is lost in translation.”

 This can lead to an obsessive need to “talk things out” in order to capture the essence of abstract ideas, or it can lead to “freezing” or introversion. To managers, it looks like a jumble of poorly thought-through ideas, or interpreted as socially challenged behavior. I had a manager override my gut-level intuition because I couldn’t quickly articulate why I felt so strongly about a contradictory solution.

Coaching opportunities exist on both sides here. For the rebel, you’ll need to go through the extra step of translating gut-level insights into logical arguments; since you think and work faster than normal, it’s a matter of slowing down and giving extra time. This will feel excruciating, but worth it to streamline communication and understanding.

Managers: instead of disregarding an employee’s intuition, honor it and use this as a learning opportunity for both of you. Say, “we recognize you have an intuitive thinking style; why don’t you take a day to sort through your thoughts and lay out your argument in a way we can understand.”

When we reframe neurodiversity beyond its narrow disability-oriented definition to encompass the unique wiring of gifted adults — aka rebels with a cause — everyone wins.

Sound familiar?

If you’re a self-identified rebel with a cause, or you’re a manager with a high-potential rebel on your hands, I’d love to talk with you. Book a call here.

Footnote:

*Re: Myers-Briggs, people can’t be put into boxes, labeled and categorized like widgets. I have taken this test many times over the years, getting different scores based on my context at the time. I still find it very helpful as a directional guide for understanding self and others. As a consistent INxx (INTJ, INFP, INTP) my personality and thinking style is a very small percent of the general population. If you’d like a free test, click here.

Coming out of the neurodiversity closet

Celebrating the unsung superpowers of the neurodiverse brain, and why the gender-biased, one-dimensional view of neurodiversity is holding back innovation.

I fumbled my way through life and work for over 40 years before I was informed by my then-girlfriend (a brilliant MD/PhD in biotech) that she was on the autism spectrum… then she gently added, “and I’m pretty sure you are too.” You’ve got to be kidding me, right? We both seemed normal to me.  

Thing is, I knew nothing about autism beyond the stereotypes like poor social skills and repetitive behavior, neither of which fit me. Diagnostic tests are exclusively based on boys; widespread gender bias abounds, like this article from HBR that presents a male-centric, one-dimensional view of autism in the business world.

Yet autism presents quite differently in women (working screeners here and here). Unlike boys, girls are more motivated to fit in and make friends; highly intelligent girls learn social rules through careful observation, trial and error. We develop the skills of masking and camouflage, even from ourselves.  We can be empathetic, read voraciously, have friends and jobs… in other words, we can come across as normal, until those moments when we’re not.

It’s nearly impossible to hide who we are; our differences eventually reveal themselves. No matter how good I think I am at social interaction, like many other HFA women, I’ve lost jobs, friends and relationships without understanding why. I often feel awkward and misunderstood around neurotypicals, like I’m speaking a totally different language.

Learning about how autism presents in women was an incredible revelation – finally, my life makes sense! – but when I shared with my dad, he quickly advised, “don’t tell anyone.” Because that’s what that generation did, right?  Sweep uncomfortable things under the rug. Act like everything is normal.

But what is normal?  We need to start normalizing something that’s an unrecognized and under-valued part of our humanity. So I’ll start writing about my experience in hopes that more people start to understand and appreciate the superpowers that diverse humans – and especially diverse women — bring to the party.  We’re the rebels with a cause, and we have a lot to offer.

The pattern-matching perks of neurodiversity

It’s called a spectrum for a reason – divergent traits can be radically different from person to person, which is why it can be so hard to identify or diagnose. It’s also not black and white; there are many shades of grey. The benefits can also vary by individual: the right side of this list fits the conventional view of autism, but my strengths are on the left:

Creativity
Lateral thinking
Pattern recognition
Strategic analysis
Processing data quickly.  
Sustained concentration
Error detection
Consistency in tasks once mastered
Grasp of complicated mathematics
Attention to detail.  

Let’s dig into the lesser-known benefits, shall we? A core theory about the neurodivergent (ND) brain is that it’s more connected than that of an average person (aka neurotypical, or NT.) This connectivity helps them “perceive and process more at any point in time than a non-autistic person.” It’s also linked to the bottoms-up thinking style that powers the creative and strategic traits.

Bottoms up!

Bottoms-up thinking is considered a neurodivergent trait. It’s not exclusively autistic, nor exclusively male or female. However, since women mask so many other ND traits, this way of processing information is often a tell-tale sign of a differently wired brain, leading to feelings of not fitting in or misunderstood.

Most people take in the concept before the details; they start with a theory or idea, then find details to support it. But bottoms-up thinkers take in the details before the concept. Our ND brains are constantly taking in information, consciously and subconsciously, and then finding patterns across it all.

  • “Most people have to have a theory first, and then they try to make the data conform to it. My mind works the opposite way. I put lots of little pieces of data together to form a new theory.
  • “I’m good at trawling through the Internet through vast amounts of journal articles and then picking out what are the really important things. I then synthesize all this resource down into one short paragraph… I’m a bottom-up thinker – I take the details and put them together.”

This is, by the way, aligned with “first principles” thinking popularized by Elon Musk. As James Clear writes, “it’s a cycle of breaking a situation down into the core pieces and then putting them all back together in a more effective way. Deconstruct then reconstruct.” But Aspies don’t even need to deconstruct; we live in a deconstructed world, endlessly seeing possibilities for how it can be constructed better.

(UPDATE: Just discovered that this could also be a function of low “latent inhibition,” which I’ll write about in another post.)

The pattern-matching superpower 

In many NDs, this detail-first approach means they’re great at getting down in the weeds to deeply understand the way things work… and we can do that a lot faster than most people. It also means we can get bogged down and easily feel overwhelmed; if I take in too much information too fast, my brain freezes up and I need a nap to “reboot.” I also need a lot of silence and intentional downtime.

But I and others (usually those who also fall in the “gifted adult” camp) have also honed our natural pattern-matching abilities into a superpower. I’m compelled to find the central organizing principle that can create coherence, simplicity and wholeness where an NT would see only chaos.  I’m compelled because it helps quiet my brain, and I love solving an infinite puzzle.

You might say my special interest is coherence – seeing how to orchestrate individual parts into a powerful whole system – whether that system is an individual human, a highly complex global organization, or a large-scale system with “unsatisfactory equilibrium points” resulting in homelessness, deforestation, climate change and other challenges.

As I’ve been exposed to all aspects of organizations through various roles, I’ve made it my mission to find practical tools and approaches that are effective at the intersections, knitting together what’s been artificially separated for no apparent reason I can see.

Think Different

This pattern-matching superpower should theoretically be valued by leadership. I believe it was Steve Jobs’ secret sauce; very likely on the spectrum, Jobs was an absolute master at creating simplicity and coherence across a complex global ecosystem.

Could this be why the most successful companies today are tech companies? Their advantage isn’t the technology; it’s their minds. Many of these leaders literally see the world differently, crafting innovations and coherent business strategies that are radically different from the status quo.

While full-blown Asperger’s Syndrome or autism hold back careers, a smaller dose of associated traits appears critical to hatching innovations that change the world.

“A typical child might just accept, ‘Okay this is just the way it’s done, this is how we do things in our culture or family,” said Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Center in Cambridge. “Someone with autism or Asperger’s, they kind of ask those ‘why’ questions. They want more logical answers. Just saying ‘Well we do this just because everybody else does,’ that doesn’t meet their test of logic.”

Why Shades of Asperger’s are the Secret to Building a Great Tech Company

But these superpowers don’t seem to be valued outside the tech world. And frankly, the way it manifests in women is so unique that I don’t think they’re recognized and valued in tech either. I’ve lost or left jobs precisely because I’m a rebel who thinks different. I’ll tell those stories in later posts, but suffice it to say, it’s taken me a long time to realize that I simply can’t work with companies (as an employee, a consultant or a coach) who won’t even try to see the world through my eyes. This is why I now exclusively work with “rebels with a cause” or those who appreciate us.

A call to be taken seriously

All the women I coach happen to be bottoms-up thinkers, even if they don’t resonate with other spectrum traits. They’re brilliant, intuitive, and can get lost in all the possibilities they see. Traditional, linear goal-setting usually doesn’t work. Different brains need different tools and support… but more than anything, they need to be recognized.

These women aren’t going to fit in according to traditional standards. They aren’t good at working their way up a career ladder. They’re divergent.

Leaders, it’s time to identify, value and nurture the incredible pattern-matching brains that see possibilities that no one else can. Every organization needs Connectors: the people who play at the intersections and see how things could be integrated. And many of these connectors are women: the so-called lost girls who have incredibly intuitive insights, yet  aren’t taken seriously… or their social quirks get them ostracized or fired.  

“They are very often incredibly creative individuals, almost like Renaissance people who are extremely bright… On the other hand, the anxiety can be completely crippling for them, especially when they are misunderstood. People see a verbal, bright woman, and the expectations for that person are way, way high.” says Dania Jekel, Executive Director, Asperger/Autism Network

“Invisible women, lost girls: being female on the autism spectrum”

If you’re a leader or manager who’d like more insight for yourself or your employees, or you’d like an Aspie brain to review your strategy if you’re trapped in complexity, let’s talk.

What questions do you have? I’d love to hear from you.

 “While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs

Side note: If you suspect you’re a bottoms-up thinker, it doesn’t mean you’re autistic; this information-processing style is simply one of many traits that diverge from the norm. You might simply be what my dear friend Shannon Lucas calls a catalyst. It’s the number and magnitude of traits that together contribute to a diagnosis.

Photo by Morgan Housel on Unsplash

Authenticity, transparency and vulnerability: What’s the difference?

I’m having a hard time writing about this topic. must admit, the last presidential debate was pretty horrifying. We all watched the leader of the US of A, ranting and interrupting and bullying in a tragic example of authenticity.

According to Vanity Fair, “Trump doesn’t accept the consensus that the debate was a disaster because, sources said, he was unabashedly himself.

In other words, he was authentic. The genuine Trump. The real deal.

He was also completely transparent: he wasn’t trying to hide behind convention or be someone he’s not, which is often why his supporters say they like him.

But vulnerable? No way. Vulnerability requires self-awareness in the context of other human beings. It’s the feeling we get when we’ve perhaps revealed too much of ourselves, or we’re afraid to reveal out of fear of being judged.

Authenticity is the truth of who we are, whereas transparency is the degree to which we reveal that truth. From opaque to translucent to transparent, we make judgement calls on how much we can reveal, to whom, and when.

Alone on a desert island, we’d all be authentic and fully transparent. We could run around naked, shout expletives at the sky, and be as weird as we wanted without any sense of vulnerability. I suppose that can describe narcissists as well.

But of course none of us live on desert islands.

It’s not all or nothing

We all yearn to bring our whole selves to work, because the energy required for mask upkeep is exhausting. All eyes are on the leaders to model the level of transparency that’s acceptable within the culture.

Historically there’s been too little transparency, where everyone’s walking on eggshells trying to guess at people’s real identities, emotions and intentions behind the armor and masks.

In an over-correction, the trend now is to let it all hang out. But too much self-transparency can scare the crap out of people and potentially cause you to lose credibility; there’s such a thing as authentically inappropriate. When a plane hits turbulence and everyone’s watching the crew, it’s wise to keep imposter syndrome under wraps.

I’m not so sure about this vulnerability trend; vulnerability is intimate; it can’t be forced. It’s a guide, not a goal. Instead of being caught in duality of all or nothing, perhaps there’s a third way.

The third way: Translucent

Being mindfully transparent is about revealing our humanity without pointing out the hair growing out of the wart. Transparency is potent stuff: we need to know the right dosage, the right degree of “see-through-ness” or translucency for the situation. What’s the right degree? That depends on an awareness and understanding of both ourselves and our listeners. 

It requires an exploration of the intersection between ME and THEY… which, of course, is WE. It’s about balancing relatability and truth with confidence.

  • ME: What is the most genuine version of me? What am I feeling right now? What do I need? This self-listening and self-validating step helps ground us in our truth. It’s about being vulnerable with ourselves first, so that it can be transmuted into strength.
  • THEY: Who are my (peers, team, partner, etc.) as human beings, not titles? How do they feel now? How do they want to feel? How comfortable are they with emotion? What do they need from me? These answers come from empathy and deep listening. 
  • WE: Within the context of our shared humanity, what’s my role as a leader in moving us towards our collective desired state? What’s one story I can tell that establishes a human connection? What do I say (or how do I say it) to earn both relatability and trust?

Start with who.

This is all part of the process I call Start With WHO. So much business discussion is focused on why (purpose), what we do and how we do it. But so few start with who: Who am I as a leader? Who are my peers and colleagues and customers, and what shared identity bonds us together?

A leader doesn’t build a product or a department or a company: he or she builds a sense of belonging by magnetizing a tribe of diverse individuals who come together because they’re wired similarly. The similarities may be purpose, or it may be identity, values, or needs. Rebels, travelers, change-makers, connectors, security-seekers, DIYers, catalysts… when we start with an authentic who, beginning with leadership, everything else falls into place.

Within this tribe, we can safely drop the masks. We can model a greater degree of transparency, showing our genuine selves, because we’ve created a safe space for people just like us. The uncomfortable feelings of vulnerability are diminished; we know we won’t be judged. This still doesn’t mean we can let it all hang out in a vulnerability-induced verbal vomit that shakes people’s confidence, but it sure simplifies where to draw the line.

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Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash