How Authenticity and Vulnerability Pay Off and Help You Win Personally and Professionally

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An Interview With Maria Angelova

When you are truly honest with yourself and who you are it opens you up to a world of fulfillment. There is no way to find out what you really want if you can’t start by being honest with yourself first and then being brave enough to go after it.

Being vulnerable and authentic are some of today’s popular buzzwords. It may seem counterintuitive to be vulnerable, as many of us have been taught to project an air of confidence, be a boss, and act like we know everything. In Brene Brown’s words, “vulnerability takes courage.” So is vulnerability a strength or a weakness? Can someone be authentic without being vulnerable? How can being authentic and vulnerable help someone grow both personally and professionally? In this interview series, we are talking to business leaders, mental health professionals and business and life coaches who can share stories and examples of “How Authenticity and Vulnerability Pay Off and Help You Win Personally and Professionally.” As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Maurice Harary.

Maurice Harary is the co-founder and CEO of The Bid Lab, a consulting company dedicated to helping small and medium-sized businesses find, manage and build their RFPs and proposals.

His experience building a company that started with just $1,500 into a company that has grown tremendously is a great way to help with stories and pitches outside of just procurement and the RFP process. Furthermore, he has helped countless small and medium-sized businesses win their first multi-million dollar deals, and helping smaller businesses drives The Bid Lab’s mission!

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

As a middle child in a family of six children, I draw parallels between my upbringing and my love of the bidding process: both require being an expert navigator of complex situations and contrasting personalities.

I attribute this ability to the experiences I had growing up. Born and raised in New York City, I attended New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business and graduated with a degree in Business and Political Economy. I knew, however, that I wanted to see, learn and experience more than what one city had to offer. So I committed to spending semesters in both London and Shanghai. Living in foreign cities taught me about the intertwining nature of business, politics, economics and culture, which has been invaluable in my career thus far.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

There is an old Japanese proverb: “Fall seven times and stand up eight.” Throughout the years as we have continued to expand and grow, there have been inevitable hiccups along the way. The key to overcoming these hiccups is that we EXPECTED them to happen. You have to be prepared for and accept bumps in the road when you are trying to do something great. What’s great is that we always get back up, even if the fall was so hard it sometimes takes a second to heal.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I was greatly impacted by the book The Go-Giver by Bob Burg. That book specifically focuses on taking the attention off of getting and redirecting your intention to giving. It’s a powerful foundational shift.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Let’s begin with a definition of terms so that each of us and our readers are on the same page. What exactly does being authentic mean?

To me, authentic means being open, honest and genuine. In short, being unapologetically who you are even when you feel pressure to be someone else.

What does being vulnerable mean? Can you explain?

In the simplest terms being vulnerable means being unafraid to be afraid.

What are the positive aspects of being authentic and vulnerable? Can you give a story or example to explain what you mean?

Being authentic and vulnerable opens you up to so many new experiences. If I hadn’t been vulnerable enough to leave a high-paying job at a huge company I would have never taken the risk of starting my own company. And if I hadn’t been my authentic self in starting that company, I wouldn’t have created the business that I have. I work with small and medium-sized businesses that are taking the risk of being vulnerable to expand their opportunities, and I show up for them in an authentic way to really understand their mission and be able to convey that effectively to win them more opportunities. It is my belief that good things don’t come your way if you aren’t willing to take the risk of being vulnerable.

Are there negative aspects to authenticity and vulnerability? Can you give a story or example to explain what you mean?

Any time you go out into the world truly being yourself that opens you up to being taken advantage of. But there is no success without risk and there is no risk without vulnerability. You will fail. And it’s better to fail as an authentic, vulnerable person because you learn a deeper lesson.

From your experience or perspective, what are some of the common barriers that hold someone back from being authentic and vulnerable?

Fear is the number one aspect that holds people back from being authentic and vulnerable. And for good reason. Being vulnerable and authentic takes work and it is scary. It’s been said many times because it is so very true, you can’t let fear win. Often, we are afraid to be who we are in the world because we fear rejection, but it’s far better to be rejected for yourself than for someone you’re pretending to be. And every failure, every rejection just gets you one step closer to success.

Here is the central question of our discussion. What are five ways that being authentic and vulnerable pay off, and help you win, both personally and professionally?

  1. First and foremost, being your authentic self and being open to vulnerability saves you so much of the energy you would waste pretending to be someone other than yourself.
  2. Second, there is no way to succeed without risk and you’ll never take a risk if you aren’t willing to be vulnerable. Opening yourself up to the potential to fail is the first step in success.
  3. Third, being open and vulnerable allows you to create a team of support. I work with businesses every day who have had the vulnerability to come to me and say “I need help.” That first step in seeking outside support is what often leads to them winning big and growing their business more than they had ever thought possible.
  4. Fourth, it’s fun. I’m not kidding. We launched our new project, Bid Banana, an RFP search engine when we had a newborn and raising those two together has been a blast!
  5. Finally, when you are truly honest with yourself and who you are it opens you up to a world of fulfillment. There is no way to find out what you really want if you can’t start by being honest with yourself first and then being brave enough to go after it.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I, too, used to go into a 52-story skyscraper in New York City in a full suit every day. But, when I founded The Bid Lab, I remembered that the people I worked most closely with on my previous team worked out of the UK and India. Why couldn’t I work closely with people who weren’t located geographically nearby to me?

The Bid Lab is, and always has been, a remote company. While there are myriad reasons why remote work is worth championing (environmental impact, productivity, work/life balance, etc.) one of the reasons why I think it works best for The Bid Lab is because it allows us to hire from a unique pool of individuals. I’m looking at you, amazing writer, living 3 hours outside of Albuquerque who needs to be available to her elderly mother in the afternoons. And I’m also looking at you, sales superstar who wants to homeschool her kids, but can also sell ice to an Eskimo.

I’m proud of the fact that The Bid Lab is made up of a team of individuals who have individual needs but also a common ability to log into work wherever they may be.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

I’d love to meet Jeff Dean, the head of AI at Google. We use Google products all the time, and we are currently exploring some cool ways to implement AI through our newly launched software. He is brilliant and has been with Google since 1999.

How can our readers follow you online?

Check out all that we’re doing at The Bid Lab or Bid Banana. From articles in our Learning Center to our extensive list of Case Studies you can find information to grow your business or inspiration on how we’ve helped others grow theirs. You can also check us out on:

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

Authority Magazine Article Link: Maurice Harary Of The Bid Lab On How Authenticity and Vulnerability Pay Off and Help You Win Personally and Professionally