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VulnerabilityEvery Monday morning I wake up to a “Monday Kickass Quote” in my inbox sent to me by the fabulous Andrea Owen. I look forward to it every week because invariably it perfectly resonates with something I’m feeling or going through. This Monday’s quote was no exception:

“Vulnerability is not weakness….vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage” – Dr. Brene Brown

If you’re not familiar with Brene Brown, she’s the author of the powerful book The Gifts of Imperfection¬†and a researcher who has spent the past ten plus years exploring shame. Her TED Talk from 2010 called The Power of Vulnerability went viral – more than 4 million viewers watched her bare her soul and talk about how the key to “whole-hearted living” is vulnerability. I loved this talk and recommend it constantly to friends and clients (you can watch it here).

I knew Brene Brown had recently spoken again at a TED Conference, and Andrea’s quote urged me to spend twenty minutes this morning watching Brene’s latest talk. I felt compelled to check it out because for the past week I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my own risk taking and vulnerability, and realized there are significant areas of my life where I’m still holding back, still afraid to be judged, still worried about what people will think of me if I let the real me come out to play. There are still areas of my life where I’m not fully showing up in the way I want to and in the way I know has the potential to make the biggest impact.

Like her first talk, Brene’s new TED talk, Listening to Shame, taps into something that at our core we all experience on some level – this idea of not be “enough.” Not pretty enough, not smart enough, not interesting enough, not funny enough. And it’s this shame – this deep-rooted belief that we are not enough – that prevents us from being our beautiful, vulnerable selves.

Here’s a great quote from her talk:

I define vulnerability as emotional risk, exposure, uncertainty. It fuels our daily lives. And I’ve come to the belief … that vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage — to be vulnerable, to let ourselves be seen, to be honest. So let me go on the record and say, vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change. To create is to make something that has never existed before. There’s nothing more vulnerable than that.

This quote jumped out at me because I am constantly creating things – books, articles, coaching programs, projects, speeches, blog posts, relationships – with a goal of fostering positive change. And I realized that unless I’m doing it from a place of pure vulnerability I’m not being as effective as I can be. I’m not fully embracing the concept of “whole-hearted living.”

So I want to be more vulnerable. I know it won’t happen overnight, and I know my inner critic is going to have a lot to say about it, but true vulnerability is what I’m going for. I thought you should know.

How about you? Where do you allow yourself to be open and vulnerable? How has this impacted the quality of your whole-hearted life?

Oh, and if you have the time (and I hope you do), you can watch Brene’s talk in its entirety here:

PS. And a special thanks again to Andrea Owen for sending me that lovely quote yesterday…keep ’em coming!