The Vulnerability Quotient

Let me paint a visual for you.

It’s the height of the Delta variant, in a state with low vaccination rates, surging cases and mounting hospitalizations that will quickly overcome the past surges we saw. Hospitals and health systems are yet again fighting to save people afflicted with COVID.

But the difference this time? Almost all of the patients admitted don’t have to be there. The healthcare teams don’t have to work on the verge of exhaustion. Because with the availability of vaccines, the majority of what we are seeing is indeed preventable. Not a debate, a fact.

Now see a stage set with the leading minds of all the major hospitals and health systems in your state. White coats, messages we’ve heard many times, pleas for the community to do their part and help us get past this and avoid further unnecessary loss of life and critical illness.

Then one doctor stands at the podium. As he speaks, he pauses and then delivers a brief story of one situation that personally impacted him, grief clear on his face. He shows deep emotion and vulnerability, ending with the difference each of us can make so that stories like the one he shared don’t happen again.

This type of event is occurring in states nationwide, but this exact moment happened in Georgia last week. While each healthcare leader delivered impactful, powerful messages, the emotive doctor who shared a story of an unvaccinated, otherwise healthy 28-year-old who tragically and unnecessarily died was Piedmont Atlanta’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Andy Jaffal. The press conference received statewide coverage in all major outlets, but Dr. Jaffal’s story gained traction nationwide.

His delivery, his vulnerability, his personal account struck a chord and was picked up by CNN, ABC World News Tonight and others.

Dr. Jaffal was amazing, but the moment and his confidence in sharing vulnerably didn’t just happen.

Unpacking The Story

Powerful TED Talks tend to follow a formula, as do most great speeches. And Dr. Jaffal’s did too.

Set the stage. Build momentum. Create a moment of inflection, surprise. Deliver the “so what.” Send your audience into the world to act.

The very best deliveries have elements that are less obvious and hidden behind the metaphorical curtain. Coaching. Practice. Emotion. Vulnerability.

Sure, many people on the stage or at the podium have the advantage of coaching behind them and practice extensively. Dr. Jaffal did these things alongside our team over the past two months.

But it’s the emotion and vulnerability – which can’t be taught – that create breakthrough moments.  These components have to come from a place of confidence and authenticity. You can see it’s circular, right? Without the advantage of coaching and practice, people often can’t tap into the emotion and vulnerability that draws in audiences.  

You can watch Dr. Jaffal’s message below to see how all the aforementioned aspects weave together to create a moment of deep resonance and impact.

Great moments require great people, like Dr. Jaffal, but they too require great coaching, great practice and great emotional vulnerability to break through.