Brené Brown said, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change…it is also the birthplace of joy, of belonging and of love.”
Change is difficult. In relationships with others and with ourselves, resistance to change creates is generally the chief creator of conflict and stress. In the workplace, new ideas are a necessity; but, how long does it take to convince others to buy-in and support them? In our health and fitness routines, we often begin making the necessary changes to feel better, lose a few pounds, only to fall back in to the same old, comfortable routine.
Change is difficult.
What is even more difficult than change is the willingness to let others see what’s behind the curtain. The real you: the person that feels fear, experiences pain and doesn’t have all the answers all the time. The person that experiences vulnerability.
In our culture, we are conditioned to toughen up. As little kids, we are told “tough luck, suck it up.” When our feelings are hurt, the message is often, “That’s life kid.” Or the opposite, our parents launch in to “attack” mode on the offending party in our defense (i.e. youth sports parent/referee battles) teaching us that fighting a bully with more fire power is the answer.
In reading Brené Brown’s latest book, Daring Greatly, she delves in to her vulnerability research and cracks it open. She said, “It never dawned on me…that I could be loved for my vulnerabilities, not despite them” (p.56).
Think about a time when you were really honest with the people in your life. The moments when you swallowed fear and were willing to say “I love you…first.” Or…”I don’t have all the answers. I just know that I care and I am going to be here until we figure it out.”
Leaning in to the discomfort…putting down the shield and saying, “here I am and I need your support”…that’s where the battle is won. The greatest leaders are those that open themselves up and show their weaknesses, empowering those around them to help fill in the gaps.
And when I toggle through history and review the names of some of the greatest, transformational leaders of our time: Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Rosa Parks…it is those that took a risk, that were willing to face discrimination, hatred, uncertain death, in order to stand up on behalf of others. They were willing to expose their own vulnerability and have courage in the face of fear in order to create change for a better world.
“We simply can’t learn to be more vulnerable or courageous on our own. Sometimes our first and greatest dare is asking for support” (p.56). Brené Brown