Hi Team,

It's fortuitous that I am writing about relationships this week, because one of DDB's favourite site foreman, Will Edmonds, is leaving us and moving on to greener pastures next Friday. Will has been a key member of the DDB team for 5 years and has supervised four of DDB's most significant building projects during his tenure. He will be sorely missed by the whole DDB community. I wish him all the best for the next chapter in what will definitely be a successful career in building management. But as one door closes another always opens, so we are now looking to employ a new carpentry apprentice, if you know anyone that might be the right fit, please let me or Lyle know?

My mother was an amazing woman. She was a woman of action, and she knew how to get things done. She just got in there and got stuff done. Since she passed away last Christmas, I have thought a lot about her upbringing and what made her who she was. I believe that her can-do character stemmed from the fact that her mother died when she was 9 years old. Growing up in the 1940's and 1950's without a mother resulted in never learning how to express her feelings and emotions and making up for it with hard work. There was no time or place for emotions, she just had to be a good girl and get stuff done. She never had the chance to discover vulnerability or to connect with people on an emotional level. This has also had a significant impact on my upbringing. For me it was as if feelings and emotions didn't really exist for the first 25 years of my life, and this has not been easy for me to recognise or to admit. When growing up I truly believed that emotions = weakness!

"Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage and self-conviction." Brene Brown

I still find it difficult and scary to talk about my feelings and I believe this is the case for a lot of male Baby Boomers. Maryanne and my three children have greatly helped me with being vulnerable, but it's definitely still a work in progress. I now understand that vulnerability shows your strength and not your weakness, and for me this has made it somewhat easier to expressing my feelings and exploring my emotions.

Another source of emotional honesty and growth for me personally, has been the "breakfast group" that I have been a part of for the last 10 years. This group consists of 7 very different but like-minded middle-aged men that get together each fortnight to have breakfast together and talk about life. What makes this breakfast group so special and important to us all, is that despite us all coming from very different backgrounds and interests, we trust each other deeply and are comfortable and even encouraged to talk about our problems and be vulnerable with each other. 

"Humans are attracted to each other's rough edges." Robert Glover

Last week I wrote about compassionate curiosity being the superpower for resolving conflicts and similarly vulnerability is the superglue for connecting with others.

 recently listened to an excellent podcast interview with the ridiculously successful actor & director Ron Howard. In the interview Ron was asked "what is the key ingredient for an Oscar winning performance by a lead actor?"  Ron's answer was "Showing true vulnerability on screen, everyone connects with that".
He went on to explain that "An actor that tries to play a character perfectly will never win an Oscar. What makes someone vulnerable makes them beautiful and engaging."

My main takeaway from this interview was that the key to success in any field is being comfortable with who you are warts and all. If you are constantly trying to be someone else or are striving for perfection you will always come up short. Who you are is your foundation (or power base) and you just have to know how to build on it. 

Next week I will dig into "building vulnerability" (okay no more building metaphors)?

Thanks again for reading,
Stay safe and connect with others.

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