There is none other like Brene Brown and if you’re not familiar with her or her work, you should be. She holds a Ph.D. in social work and is currently a research professor at the University of Houston. Three of her books are #1 New York Times bestsellers and one of her TED talks, featured above, is the fourth most viewed TED talk in the world (over 30 million views). Her specialty? Sixteen years of shame, vulnerability, courage and empathy research.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
Brene’s TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is the sister discussion to her book, Daring Greatly. As expected, this book is incredible and will change the way you view vulnerability and how you value its necessity in all aspects of life: self, relationship, parenting, work, leading and even artistic expression. The title, Daring Greatly, comes from Brene’s admiration for Theodore Roosevelt’s famous speech “The Man in the Arena”, delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, on April 23, 1910:
To dare greatly is to be vulnerable despite the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness, it is pure bravery. It is to be courageous enough to step into the arena and put yourself all out there, even though you might fail. And it is only in this arena where the possibility of magic happens, where we dare to love, dare to innovate, and dare to be triumphant.
“Ordinarily, when we reach out and share ourselves – our fears, hopes, struggles, and joy- we create small sparks of connection. Our shared vulnerability creates light in normally dark places. My metaphor for this is twinkle lights. There’s something magical about the idea of twinkle lights shining in dark and difficult places. The lights are small, and a single light is not very special, but an entire strand of sparkling lights is sheer beauty.”
In reading her book, my favorite trait of Brene Brown is that she is real and relatable. At no point is she just butterflies and rainbows, with hopes that we all sit in a circle and sing kumbaya to fix our problems. She is a scientist and a researcher, who has come to these conclusions based off real data, despite her own natural instinct to run for the hills with the very mention of vulnerability. She not only turns this data into understandable terms for the individual, but also into actionable strategies for leaders in government, business and the arts. No matter your story, gender, relationship status, or occupation, this book is for you.
So do you want to stand safely on the sidelines unheard and unseen, or do you want to be vulnerable and courageous and know you dared greatly?