It takes courage to be authentic - Mr. Bill would know

It’s been a trying but powerful week for my family. My Dad lost one of his best friends, Bill Hacke, who treated myself and my siblings like we were his own. 

His funeral service yesterday was nothing short of incredible. His children shared stories about his boundless contributions to his family and community. They set the tone for how Mr. Bill will be remembered. As the day unfolded, I reflected on what exactly it was that made his life so rightfully idolized and his loss so equally painful. One word kept coming to my mind - vulnerability. 

I recently read Dr Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly where she defined vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” That’s it! That’s what Mr. Bill brought to the table (among many other things and Coors Light). It was no mystery how he felt about the people in his life because he was vulnerable and let them know what they meant to him. The theme that he lived by was keep your family your friends, and make your friends your family. With the emotional clarity he gave to the people in his life, we knew. His family knew. His friends knew. Long before he was dying, he showed us. 

So now I’m left here thinking, how can I live more like Mr. Bill? How can we all? There are so many answers to that very loaded question, but my takeaway is that an open heart paired with the courage to be vulnerable makes for the most authentic life.

Our days are numbered, so why waste time leaving anyone guessing how you feel about them? Why place boundaries around the kindness and love you share with the world? 

Let’s love while we’re here, people. 

There were many people sitting at his service yesterday who were lucky enough to experience a great level of authenticity because of the courage Bill had to keep his heart open. I find myself having an open heart often, but a closed heart under certain conditions. What would happen if we fully opened our hearts up in our relationships all the time? If we let the people we care about actually see what we’re made of? Even the flaws. Especially the flaws. 

We’re often expected to have it all together. We’re expected not to show too much emotion or be too honest. How exhausting is it though to have to constantly monitor ourselves? We’re doing ourselves, the people closest to us, and the world a disservice by monitoring ourselves so much that we only rarely have a full and open heart. 

Have the courage to love. Have the courage to be. Can you be proactive and start right now? Don’t wait to reflect and react to the loss of a “Mr. Bill” figure in your life. Can you be proactive and open your heart right now? Can you start with something small and keep working? 

Male, female, younger, older, everything in between. If you’re reading this that means you still have the gift to start right now, whatever that may look like for you.

I’ve had my website up for a few weeks now and drafted several blog posts, but I’ve been very hesitant to post any. Little worries, fears and uncertainties have kept me from making my thoughts and feelings public. Thank you for giving me the push I needed, Mr. Bill. 

More importantly - thank you for displaying the courage it takes to be vulnerable and the incredible reward it yields.

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