“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” – Brené Brown
Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston where she has spent two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. Through her research, she has concluded that those who succeed in life – not through winning over losing, but through achieving their true potential and becoming the best they can be – do so through having the courage to be vulnerable.
Having the courage to be vulnerable means having the courage to be imperfect. It also means being willing to do something even when there are no guarantees.
Let’s just think about that for a moment: do you have the courage it takes to be vulnerable? The honest answer for most of us is probably no, right? Nobody wants to be seen as imperfect, but as Brené puts it, those who embrace vulnerability are those who are “willing to let go of who they think they should be in order to be who they are.”
Being true to yourself means letting go of who you think you should be or who you think others want you to be, and facing the fear of being seen as the real you, not just showing your strengths and skills, but also your flaws and insecurities. You see, we fear vulnerability because we fear criticism. We often try to hide flaws and insecurities in the belief that by demonstrating perfection in everything we do, we can avoid judgement and shame. However, perfectionism will ultimately hold you back in life.
Excellence v Perfectionism
It’s a fact of life that no matter what you do, criticism will always come your way in some form. Trying to hide from it and avoid it is therefore a pointless exercise, and it’s going to prevent you from growing, changing, and moving forwards in life, effectively preventing you from realising your true potential.
“Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.” – Brené Brown
Remember, vulnerability is having the courage to show up and be seen, even when you have no control over the outcome, so having the courage to keep showing up despite your flaws is the way to keep growing as a person and to keep moving towards being the best version of you it’s possible to be.
Realising your true potential in life is not about achieving perfection, it’s all about achieving excellence – being excellent at being the real you and always doing what you do to the best of your ability.
Do you have the courage to embrace vulnerability and to keep showing up?
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