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Surely you’ve noticed the mood shift. School has finally wrapped up, graduation parties are over, and vacations are in full swing. It’s time to follow the pace of nature and slow down a little.

We’ll take advantage of the long, easy days by taking a gentle look at vulnerability in the July series, Quiet Reflection, Effective Action. The series title comes from a comment by James Levin. He said, “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”

We’ve done a lot of deep work already this year – we’ve set intentions, pursued goals, and looked at shadow behaviors – but there’s still a lot of 2016 left. Think of the reflection you’ll do this month as the set-up for how you’d like the rest of the year to go.

“Vulnerability” can be a difficult topic. Listen to its synonyms – “weakness”, “being helpless”, “exposure”. However, what if we flip the bit on traditional thinking? What would it look like to use vulnerability in terms of keeping your heart open, by staying true to what matters most?

International businesswoman Margaret Heffernan can tell you a thing or two about meetings. As the former CEO of five companies, she’s learned how to have tough conversations and take criticism in stride. That’s why she said yes to lunch with a strategic partner.

His difficult reputation preceded him. Still, surely they could have a meeting of the minds.

Ignoring Margaret, he took charge and ordered as soon as the waiter appeared. Margaret kept the conversation going as plate after plate of spicy dishes arrived from the kitchen. Their business discussion was equally fiery.

That night over dinner, she stressed to her daughters how they should never be intimidated by a person or situation, no matter how great the test. Yet the moral of her story wasn’t about standing your ground. As she heard herself relating the details, she realized her determination to keep pace with her lunch partner meant that ultimately she hadn’t played her game…she had played his.

Then it got worse.

Being authentic wasn’t as simple as it sounded. She asked herself, “What exactly IS my game?”

An important Soul Boss principle is to think independently and trust your instincts. In “9 Ways To Keep Your Personal Power”, Psychology Today suggests keeping your identity independent of other people’s opinions is a key contributor to healthy self-worth. But you can’t be independent if you don’t know and accept yourself.

Margaret laughs, “Now I would simply tell him, “I’m not a big fan of spicy food, and order something else.” Their experience brought her to an important conclusion, “Being someone you’re not is expensive.”

Take some time this week to meet yourself. Not the person someone else expects you to be at a big meeting. Not the person you were ten years ago. The person who is confident enough to risk someone else’s judgment by being honest and sincere. In a word, vulnerable.

And what do you do when someone insists you split their order of firecracker shrimp? Well, that’s easy.

“No thanks, that doesn’t work for me. Waiter?”