The Power Of Vulnerability
Brené Brown’s TED talk is the story of everyone’s life path—whether you know it or not. For those who mourn the fact that life didn’t come with an operating manual, this short talk is your answer. Millions have watched her talk, and I have, at some point in my work with them, suggested to most of my clients that they watch it, as well.
The podcast is only 20 minutes long, so instead of recapping it, just hop over to YouTube and watch it—if it doesn’t change your life, it will likely open it up a bit—then come back here for some thoughts.
Who you are being
Notice how Brown shows up on the stage—easy, funny, endearingly self-deprecating, comfortable, supple, clear, like a mountain stream, one with us. This is a leader—one who inspires and moves us. Get that a great speech can’t be made by words alone—the speaker must be the words spoken. Her ability to do this is masterful. For those of you wanting to become leaders in your community, church, or business—understand that to be your words requires that you do your work. You must be comfortable in your skin, authentic, and present. Leadership, unlike management, requires personal development.
The frustrating aspect of any inspirational talk or book is what to do the next morning. How do you make real the inspiration? How do you unnumb? How do you become less certain (especially since you know you’re right)? How do you become courageous? How do you become kind to yourself? How do you become vulnerable?
How do we put rubber on the road?
Tough questions and no easy answers. I have found, after working with scores of people over many years, that nothing can happen until a person has grappled with who they are for themselves. That you can not become a leader, a loving wife/husband, engaged parent, or dear friend on top of a belief that you are not worthy, not good enough, not loveable, or “not” whatever. As Brown says, the only difference between those who are deeply connected and those who are not is the belief that they are worthy of love and belonging.
Nurturing that belief is where you must start. Ultimately, you must choose to believe that you are worthy. In theory, it should be easy; in practice, it is difficult. Affirmations (repeating, for example, “I am worthy”) don’t, in my experience, work—you know you are lying. There are other ways and it helps to have someone who has already traveled the path take you your hand. Also, a good coach has many tools and structures that can support you on your way to worthiness.
The power of vulnerability
Power is the ability to make something happen. In this case, to yourself. Vulnerability is your access to connection, love, and joy. Your vulnerability is your power.
The irony, of course, is that many of us see vulnerability as weakness. We want to hide our weakness, so we barricade ourselves from our vulnerabilities. How is it working? Are you living the life you want to be living?
If not, consider this question: Is appearing strong more important than being connected?