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My experience with Brené Brown

I was very fortunate to see Brené Brown live in Melbourne recently. There were many learnings and messages that I took away from her session. I thought I would share some of these powerful messages about vulnerability and courage.

My experience at the Melbourne presentation

‘The future of leadership belongs to the brave – to courageous leaders’– Brené Brown

According to Brené there are 4 skill sets of courage:

  1. RUMBLING with vulnerability
  2. LIVING into our values
  3. BRAVING trust
  4. LEARNING to rise

But the greatest barrier to courage is ‘fear’. When we are fearful or afraid we put on our ‘armour’ to protect ourselves which prevents us from being vulnerable. Without vulnerability we can’t be brave. Without vulnerability we can’t be courageous.

‘The biggest barrier to courageous leadership is… the armour we use when we are in fear’ – Brené Brown

We demonstrate vulnerability and courage by staying in the arena when things get tough, when there is uncertainty, anxiety and fear, when we aren’t in control of what’s happening. In spite of all of these strong emotions, we still show up. 

‘Vulnerability is the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome’– Brené Brown

Living courageously and showing up is difficult, but not as hard as reaching the end of your life and wondering, ‘What if I had shown up?’ As Brenéwould say:

‘I don’t want to get to the end of my life and ask: What if I would have shown up in my life?’

‘…Embracing our vulnerability is risky but not as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable’ – Brené Brown

I know that in my own personal life, particularly in the past, when times have been tough and the situation is outside my control, I remember very clearly the times when I was wearing my protective ‘armour’ – fearful about the future, surrounded by uncertainty. It gives you a feeling of safety, of being in control, but ultimately it doesn’t serve you well. As BrenéBrown says, you have to ‘embrace the suck’. You need to take off the’ armour’ and ‘rumble with vulnerability’. It’s the only way to live courageously and move forward. It’s ultimately what makes us resilient.

Being vulnerable is being human. It’s being who we really are. How does vulnerability and courage show up in your life?