Choosing the Brave Thing and Being Vulnerable

Every superhero has a weakness, yet there’s a reason people always cheer for the hero in the end.

With the release of Brené Brown’s new Netflix special The Call to Courage, earlier this year, more and more Americans are facing their vulnerabilities. Brown is a research professor in social work who studies what makes us happy, what connects us and how to live your best life. Since her viral TED Talk “The Power of Vulnerability”, she has transformed lives, had a dramatic effect on work culture and helped to improve relationships of all kinds.

Brown reminds us that it takes courage to be vulnerable and bravery to face our fears.

She defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure,” and argues that when you run away from being vulnerable, you are also depriving yourself of experiencing all that joy, trust, love and creativity can offer.

Facing my vulnerabilities

I’ve experienced first hand the power of vulnerability. A few years ago a significant back issue that required surgery left me extremely vulnerable. It affected so many areas of my life, including my identity as a strong, high heel wearing, polished leader in PR. While on the road to recovery, I had to face my limitations, learn to reprioritize, put my heels in the closet and accept help from others. What I learned from this experience is how, like Brown shows us, vulnerability actually creates more meaning in our lives, builds our confidence and gives us deeper engagement with those around us.

Entrepreneurship, relationships, creativity – they are all connected to the ability to be vulnerable. You can’t be a brave entrepreneur without embracing risk and uncertainty. Meaningful relationships require you to open up and tell your truths, and creativity isn’t possible without tapping into the rawness of the human experience.

Every superhero has a weakness

Whether you’re a leader, a partner, a parent – trust is key to being successful in all areas of life. Even in business, the days of trusting “perfection,” and direct sell marketing are over. People want to connect with brands, businesses and people that are real and that have something gritty to offer. Often this connection is formed through authentic storytelling that includes the flaws and the challenges, or at the very least isn’t pretending to be perfect. Remember – every superhero has a weakness – and this makes them more relatable and endearing. There’s a reason why people cheer for the hero in the end.

Chose the brave thing!

I’ll leave you with Brown’s call to action – to be brave. She says that,

“Everyone has forks in the road every day, where you choose the comfort thing or you choose the brave thing, and I think for me it's not easier to be vulnerable… I want to be brave with my life, this feels really scary and uncomfortable and I should probably do it.”

So, the next time you have a fork in the road, or are in the middle of a challenge – professional or personal – know that you can chose to be brave! While the uncomfortable or hard moments can be scary, these are the moments that will connect us to others, build our strength and ultimately lead us to more joy and success. Today, I am back to my high heel wearing self and have more strength than before; ultimately making me more focused and an even better PR leader.

How do you choose to be brave? I’d love to hear your story. Let me know in the comments below.