Monday, December 2, 2019

Vulnerability ≠ weakness

It used to take me a long time to dispel the myths that surround vulnerability, especially the myth that vulnerability is weakness.

But in 2014, standing across from several hundred military special forces soldiers on a base in the Midwest, I decided to stop evangelizing, and I nailed my argument with a single question.

I looked at these brave soldiers and said, “Vulnerability is the emotion that we experience during times of uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. Can you give me a single example of courage that you’ve witnessed in another soldier or experienced in your own life that did not require experiencing vulnerability?

Complete silence. Crickets.

Finally, a young man spoke up. He said, “No, ma’am. Three tours. I can’t think of a single act of courage that doesn’t require managing massive vulnerability.”

I’ve asked that question now a couple of hundred times in meeting rooms across the globe. I’ve asked fighter pilots and software engineers, teachers and accountants, CIA agents and CEOs, clergy and professional athletes, artists and activists, and not one person has been able to give me an example of courage without vulnerability.
Source: Dare to Lead by Brené Brown


“Vulnerability is not winning or losing. It’s having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome.”
—Brené Brown

Courage is a collection of four skill sets that can be taught, observed, and measured. The four skill sets are:

• Rumbling with Vulnerability
• Living into Our Values
• Braving Trust
• Learning to Rise
Source: Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

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