Be Vulnerable

headshot of author of blog post
Matt Davis
Posted in:
Career Pivot

What is it to be vulnerable?

I have been pondering this question a lot, especially how it relates to the tech field. I imagine another way to put it would be to say "Be confident". Do not be afraid to put yourself out there. Do not be afraid to fail. Do not be afraid to make mistakes. Be vulnerable.

It's more than the word.

There is a lot that can be said about English, how confusing it is and how miserable it can be to learn. I often find myself perfectly expressing my thoughts in my head, but when it comes to communicating that to others, I often fall flat. Is it because they aren't listening? Maybe. It's likely because I need to work hard and think deeply to directly express my thoughts. This is sometimes easier than others and sometimes harder. This is what I mean, being vulnerable is more than the word. It means action, a dedicated focused action that I and you need to take.

Vulnerability creates opportunity.

By taking risks you open up new doors. Not everyone will be ok with you and your presentation. For me, my focused and dedicated communication is not always the easiest thing for others to hear. I am often viewed as angry or mean or standoffish. When I consider myself a silly and quirky person who loves to invest time and energy to create the best possible friendships and connections I can. I also like to move fast and feel amazing energy when I get things done.

It took me a while to dive into open-source software. I specifically chose a project that was at the far reaches of my technical skill and experience. I chose to be vulnerable and it has paid off! I have learned so much more by jumping in and getting started than I would've toiling about the choice. The great lesson here is that vulnerability creates opportunity.

In Bitwise by David Auerbach the commentary on communication I found so valuable. To paraphrase, the problem is not them, it's you. You need to be vulnerable to get over that hurdle. I am actively working to overcome this. It is a journey and it is a lot like learning to code.


At first, you stare at the screen, not comprehending anything you see. Great excitement builds and you can't take your eyes away. You realize that you are looking at HTML5 and it's not necessarily considered a language by some. After taking a deep breath you are vulnerable you jump right in. Slowly the elements, the tags, the semantic meaning it all starts to make sense and the worries and vulnerability you have fade away. Don't lose that feeling, hold on to that vulnerability, revel in it. It's a superpower. You can do something others may never do, and learn something new.