Tuesday, January 25, 2005


It feels quite strange sitting here, listening to my own voice being broadcast over the radio. This is not the first time I’ve had this experience – when I was a broadcast meteorologist, the teases I would tape to air during primetime television would always make me jump out of my chair whenever I heard them as I prepared my late night forecasts. It’s very disorienting.

At the same time, it’s exciting too. I can think of only one other time I’ve been interviewed on the radio before (back when being a broadcast meteorologist made me a bit of a local celebrity) and I remembered today that it really can be a lot of fun.

On the other other hand, it’s downright painful to hear my answers to some of the questions. Like so many perfectionists, no sooner had we stopped taping the interview when I thought of other things I’d have liked to have said – or other, better ways to put what I did say. Feeling so vulnerable is difficult for me.

I realize now that part of how this happens is because of how much I learn during a process like that, and how quickly. While ultimately that’s a good thing, it also means that I will probably never be completely satisfied with my performances in such situations. I will always see a way I’d like to improve on what I’ve done.

At the same time, I have also learned to appreciate the good in things. For example, I had fun during the interview. That clearly comes across in my voice and I’m glad of that. Anyone who can have that much fun talking about what they do can’t be all bad, right? Given how much I enjoyed the experience, I expect I’ll create more such opportunities in the future, so I expect I’ll get additional chances to hone my skills as an interviewee.

One of the topics of conversation that came up with John Moe – the host of this radio program I was on (The Works on KUOW, one of the local NPR stations) – was the question of vulnerability. He even joked at one point that we were getting close to some of his own vulnerabilities during the interview. I wonder what those were?

We readily agreed on one important point… that being vulnerable isn’t about being insecure, dependent, or needy. Instead, it’s about exposing one’s humanity, your authentic self. Doing so in a worthwhile manner requires setting aside the fear that others will judge us as somehow less for it. As scary as this is for most of us, it helps to ask the question, “How can we be anything less than by being ourselves, our true selves?”

If somehow, these ‘others’ don’t see the value of you being “you” (the real “you”, now, not some persona you put on, daring others to believe “this is me”), then you’d probably be better off hanging out with a different crowd!

In the end, when we find the courage to come from a place of curiosity (even if it exposes some vulnerability), everyone benefits. This is as true for managers and co-workers and family members as it is for interviewers and coaches.

Coming from curiosity means no dumb questions, no bad answers. We don’t have to be the experts if the questions we ask further understanding and the answers we give help foster more such worthwhile questions.

Check out the archive of the show (available along with John's interview of Sister Helen Prejean that aired the same night) and let me know what you think. Send your comments and unanswered questions to techsurvivor@soaringmountain.com and I'll see about responding to them.

What are you truly curious about?