Brené Brown and the Power of Vulnerability

NYTimes best-selling author, university professor and researcher Brené Brown, has over the past few years rocketed in popularity because of her groundbreaking work in the areas of vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. She shares her research by appearing on TED talks and being a guest on different television shows to discuss her personal journey into understanding herself and human life.  Adored by her fans and praised by her peers, Brené, rather modestly describes herself as an “Authentic Mess”. 

Brené graduated from her undergrad when she was 29 years old, then proceeded straight into her master’s and Ph.D. programs. She experienced first-hand the impact of amazing professors and knew what she wanted her life’s work to be—changing the lives of students while getting to talk about what she was passionate about. 

Brené has found a niche that’s completely her own. Her work is entirely research-based, and she presents the findings from her data in an approachable way, sharing her own experiences as a wife, mother, friend, and teacher in her speeches. 

During her extensive research, she has collected thousands of stories on the importance of human connection, and along with her own personal struggles, she has come to accept the number one truth revealed by her work—that vulnerability is courage, not weakness. 

 

Vulnerability as Power

To put her concept of “Vulnerability as Power” into practice, let’s think of the following example: let’s say that after reading a few articles about the benefits of yoga, you decide to try it yourself. You buy a mat, find a nearby class, and put on some stretchy pants. But when you get to the studio and see other students walking confidently in, their mats slung over their shoulders, you begin to feel strange. Your heart rate speeds up, your palms grow sweaty, and you think, “Why in the world did I ever think I could do this?” 

This shaky feeling is vulnerability, and it makes you want to turn around and go home, where you can escape the potential judgment of others and your own fear of the unfamiliar. But by pushing through those doors, you are doing something far more healthy and transformative, according to Brené Brown. In fact, “vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center of meaningful human experiences, she says. 

After twelve years studying vulnerability and shame, she has arrived at a surprising conclusion: What scares us is sometimes actually good for us, and if we can stomach sitting with it, vulnerability has the potential to transform itself into joy. 

And Brené is passionate about vulnerability. She shared her passion in a TedxHouston talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” and to her great surprise, it went viral. To date, it has been viewed over 35 million times online and is one of the top 5 TED talks of all time. ( As a treat from us,  you can find the full TED talk at the end of this article – or as part of our programs as Bonus Material..) 

We don’t like to talk about vulnerability, mostly because it makes us feel “weak” or “powerless.” We feel like if we admit our fragility, we will be broken in two by the opinions of others and even ourselves. Vulnerability is not weakness, it’s about the willingness to show up and be seen, when you can’t control the outcome, and it is actually our greatest measure of courage living our lives and following our values. So, show up, in an authentic way and let us see your hearts because we know how lonely you actually are! 

It’s important to begin to recognize those fragile moments of vulnerability and work with them.  Brené recommends mindfulness as a good place to start with. Adopting a practice of openness and awareness of your environment as well as your own thoughts, feelings, and triggers will help you recognize when you’re disengaging because you’re afraid. Eventually, you should also gain also clarity about your personal values to understand what really matters and drives you in your live and careerIt’s your inner compass that helps you navigate. You need vulnerability as partner to follow your inner compass and grow personally. In our programs we are covering this all.  

 

After you become aware of where you are and what matters to youyou will be more certain about what changes you would like to see in your life. Here is one of our programs that will help you discover more about how you can overcome your fears, become clear on what you want and how to achieve it. Click here!

If you would like to get a deeper exposure to Brené’s insights into self-help, her various books are highly recommended,  along with her Netflix documentary, Brené Brown: The Call to Courage. But for now, enjoy her most popular TED Talk, below: 

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