“The Power Of Vulnerability: The Secret Of What Makes Us Happy”

“Only connect.” E.M. Forster 

I was lucky enough to come across a wonderful talk whilst reading Tim Mushey’s “Sell, Lead, Succeed!” blog. Having enjoyed his post (I’d seen the video he posted before) was idly reading the comments below when I came across this as recommended by one of Tim’s readers – Brene Brown: The Power Of Vulnerability. I’ve watched several of the TED talks with great interest. Some of them have the power to inspire and move. This was one of those.

Brene Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston in the Graduate College of Social Work. She has done extensive (and 10 years research is extensive!) into what makes us humans connect with each other. She’s clear that we need to connect with each other to be healthy and happy. What gets in the way? Shame. Shame kids us that we’re not good enough, not perfect enough, not fast enough, just not enough to gain promotion, be creative, popular or loved. Shame means that faith becomes dogma and responsibility becomes blame. Shame numbs our feelings:

“When we numb [hard feelings], we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness.”

There are people she defines as “wholehearted” that have escaped this mistaken belief. They believe in their talent and lovability. So what is the secret of their success? They ready to take the risk of being vulnerable, even when the chances of success are slim. They are the ones to make the first move. And they don’t assume vulnerability is weakness. She suggests that what is true for individuals also holds true for organisations. Those corporates who are ready to ‘fess up and take responsibility are the ones perceived as trustworthy.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change. ”

Those who have gravitas are self aware and ready to be vulnerable. Brene Brown beautifully demonstrates her own gravitas in her willingness to be open about how she came to acknowledge, recognise and address the impact of her research in her own life. I admire her description of the powerful and shocking discovery she experienced  when she found out that her work as a researcher was in direct conflict with her research.

I also admire the way she talks to her audience. She invites us to become aware of our own humanity by connecting with us. She shows empathy and understanding – there are some endearing asides – and she is having a conversation with us by revealing herself.

“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.”

See what you think…….Brene Brown: The Power Of Vulnerability

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About anrah

Anrah is a business development consultancy specialising in helping senior women in engineering and science, their teams and doctoral students increase 'presence', improve communication and generate impact to win stakeholder buy-in at the highest level.
This entry was posted in Four Stages To Influential Leadership, Giving Influential Presentations, Self Improvement and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to “The Power Of Vulnerability: The Secret Of What Makes Us Happy”

  1. Tim Mushey says:

    Thanks for the mention in your blog post! I really enjoyed it. Great read.

    • anrah says:

      Absolutely delighted, Tim. You always have interesting posts. I merely took advantage of one that fitted perfectly with what I wanted to say. Will continue to quote you now and then!

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