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We all connect with the power of vulnerability in ourselves and in others. 

And vulnerability continues to be misunderstood and misappropriated in marketing businesses and services, political campaigns, legislative agendas, and leadership, to name a few. 

These days, discerning between true vulnerability and what today’s guest calls #vulnerability can become a real challenge.

When vulnerability is used with an agenda to acquire more community, brand awareness, or social capital, this agenda moves us away from the heart of this courageous state. 

Vulnerability is complicated because it RARELY feels good. But what leads us to vulnerability often is good, because it means we are following our integrity even when there’s a lot to lose. 

Many of us struggle with vulnerability because we struggle with knowing ourselves. All too often, we know more about who we think we should be, than who we really are.

This becomes extra challenging when the expectation to “just be vulnerable” as a tool to lead and to sell continues to increase. 

But if we do not have our own clarity of values, clarity of our identity, then vulnerability turns into a commodity to use.

#vulnerability is so attractive–even seductive–because it draws us in with stories and experiences that evoke emotion. And it usually draws the likes, follows, shares that so many covet. 

And today’s guest digs deep with me #hashtag vulnerability today.

Tara McMullin is a writer, podcaster, and producer who’s been making business make sense for small business owners for over 12 years. She’s the host of What Works, a podcast about entrepreneurship for humans that’s been downloaded over 4 million times. She’s also the co-founder of Yellow House Media. Her new book, What Works: A Comprehensive Framework to Change the Way We Approach Goal Setting, was released in November 2022. 

Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • How economic uncertainty plays into the way we leverage vulnerability for social capital
  • How social media algorithms take advantage of vulnerability and heightened emotions to keep us scrolling
  • How privilege, marginalization and risk intersect with vulnerability online
  • The difference between self-disclosure and true vulnerability
  • How both performative confidence and performative vulnerability can lead to self-alienation
  • Why we need to account for emotional labor and capacity when we’re considering our resources

Learn more about Tara McMullin:

Learn more about Rebecca:


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meet the founder

I’m Rebecca Ching, LMFT.

I help change-making leaders get to the root of recurring struggles and get confidently back on track with your values, your vision, and your bottom line. 

I combine psychotherapeutic principles, future-forward coaching, and healthy business practices to meet the unique needs and challenges of highly-committed leaders in a high-stakes world.

This is unburdened leadership

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And clearing the way for a more innovative, inclusive future.

Unburdened Leaders are breaking
cycles of workplace burnout…

Are you about this, too? Let’s meet and see if I’m your coach – no expectations. Just connection.