Have you ever seen the movie 127 Hours?
It’s an intense movie. A tough watch.
And it contains one of the most poignant messages and warnings for all of us that we need to take to heart.
If you haven’t seen the movie, it stars James Franco, who does an incredible job portraying real-life mountain climber Aron Ralston and his harrowing account of falling down a canyon in remote Utah only to have a boulder land on his arm, preventing any escape.
Ralston is stuck.
And as the intensity and enormity of the situation begins to set in, he realizes a cold, hard truth:
I never told anyone where I was going.
No one would know where to look.
No one would be coming to his rescue.
He was utterly alone because he lived his life like he never needed anyone.
We don’t need to be mountain climbers like Aron Ralston to heed this warning.
The Biggest Struggle of Them All
There is a danger in going at anything completely alone. We need to tell people where we are going and where we have been. And the remedy is something simple, yet extremely difficult: vulnerability.
We’re all struggling. Yet, we’re all struggling to make it look like we’re not struggling. (click to tweet that)
This is the biggest, most damaging, struggle of them all.
The walls we build to protect our image only keep people away. We try to keep our wounded pride intact, while it’s lying lifeless on the floor.
We smile for the next picture while the walls to our house crumble around us.
Me Being Vulnerable
It’s been over five years now since I left my “real job” to pursue being a full-time writer, speaker, coach, consultant.
And can I confess something to you?
Some months, I don’t have a clue what the best next step is. Or where the money is going to come from next.
Obsessive Comparison Disorder seeps into my mind and heart as I look upon the lives of friends and wonder if I’ve royally screwed up mine.
Anxiety starts cascading through my body like a rogue helium machine filling me until I feel like I might explode.
I take a lot of walks, searching for clarity while simultaneously trying to escape that “Am I completely blowing it?” feeling.
With my new book less than a week from releasing, fear slithers its fingers inside my chest until my heart feels boa-constrictored.
My mind tells me one thing, my emotions another, and my legs tell me to run as fast as I can.
Why am I telling you all this?
If I sing about the need for all of us to be authentic and vulnerable, while I inauthentically hide behind each piece of advice and the exciting parts of my journey, then I’m just another clanging symbol amidst a cacophony of unnecessary noise.
We don’t connect with each other through our pretend perfection. We connect over our shared struggle. (click here to tweet that)
Authenticity starts with each one of us. We have to be brave enough to go first.
It takes a lot of courage to talk about where you lack the most courage.
We have to be courageous enough to open the doors and let others really see inside.
And honestly, if I can just get really real with you right now.
I wouldn’t be able to handle any of this if I didn’t truly believe and know that God is here with me in all my questions, imperfections, insecurities, and fears. If I didn’t sense in my spirit Him saying, “Relax. We’re in this together,” I would be an inoperable mess.
I can’t do surgery on myself. Or at least, I don’t want to try.
So here’s a piece of my struggle for you to see inside. To hopefully encourage you in yours.
Whether you feel like you’re failing, you’re smack dab in the middle of a quarter-life crisis, losing inspiration, or you just can’t seem to feel normal again.
“Groan up” life is hard and we can’t do it alone.
Let’s keep exploring, yet ask people to walk with us along the way.
We’re not supposed to ease the angst by pretending like it’s not there.
There are answers in the angst if we’re willing to vulnerably sit in it and ask the hard questions.
I don’t have it all figured out, but I know I’m not supposed to.
Explore. Get lost.
But tell people where you are and where you are going.
Share the struggle.
So that if the rock falls on your arm, you’ll have someone there to help you get it off.
This is an adapted excerpt from my new book 101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties (and let’s be honest, your thirties too) that is out now!