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WIIFM. Have you used it lately? Admit it – it’s crossed your mind once or twice.

Our soul urges us to keep an open mind and an open heart. However, our ego is forever shouting, “Wait a minute – what’s in it for me?”

In the July series, Quiet Reflection, Effective Action, we’re talking about vulnerability. Is it possible to be simultaneously vulnerable and whole?

Delia blinked twice. Then she shook her head no.

“Delia, say something.”

“Cory, I don’t know what to say. In fact, I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying.”

“I think you heard me the first time.”

“Of course I heard you, but I don’t get it. You’ve been at Hewlett-Packard for 15 years. Most of that time you were a VP. There was no warning? You were just laid off? That’s not right.”

“Cost cuts,” Cory sighed. “Some of our product lines just haven’t paid off. It’s painful, but I get it. If we were a start-up, we would have gone in a different direction years ago.”

“All right – I’ll give you that. But you? You’re my favorite brother – maybe I’m biased!” Delia said, smiling. “Seriously though, what about all of those big deals you closed? I don’t understand why they can’t find another job for you. The whole thing is ridiculous!”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence, sis! I thought I’d postpone any big decisions, but guess what? Qualcomm is flying us in next week. It looks promising – a day of interviews for me while my wife is scouting houses with a real estate agent. I may come back from San Diego with good news.”

His optimism suddenly evaporated.

Cory looked into the distance and said softly, “I did more than lean into that job; I loved it. I’d be lying if said I wasn’t sad about the way things ended. When I look back, I don’t regret giving it my all.”

He hesitated. “I just wonder if that’s the smart thing to do in my next job…”

Cory has some tough choices ahead of him. He can either let his fears talk him into playing it safe, or step out and spend his days doing something he really cares about.

Brene Brown touched on this dilemma when she said, “To love fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain…I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude, and grace.”

This week, you may find yourself at a crossroads trying to navigate something out of your control, just like Cory. Your knee jerk reaction might be to shut down. However, consider that your toughest challenges could catapult you into discovering your greatest strengths.

Quiet the internal voice asking WIIFM. Instead, imagine ending the year celebrating your determination, your capacity to make heartfelt connections, and the ability to keep taking risks, in spite of the shaky ground under your feet.

Now that sounds like something to believe in.