“You can’t get to courage without rumbling with vulnerability. Embrace the suck.” --Brene Brown, Dare to Lead
One of the more helpful books I’ve read in the last two years is “Dare to Lead” by Brene Brown. In it she pulls together her years of research and material on shame in a way that is specific and timely for leaders. The quote above is right before the introduction and sets the tone for the rest of the book. “You can’t get to courage without rumbling with vulnerability.” Yep. “Embrace the suck.” Yep again.
This idea of courage being birthed from vulnerability isn’t new. People have been experiencing this forever. When we are honest about our truth, including the parts that fill us with shame or embarrassment, freedom (and courage) comes to us as a great gift. Vulnerability is actually a super power that leaders can demonstrate on a regular basis.
Vulnerability, “the emotion that we experience during times of uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure,” (Brown, Dare to Lead, 28) is something we don’t see much but is desperately needed. We need our leaders to demonstrate healthy vulnerability in a way that acknowledges the uncertainty and risk and shows courage to make decisions and lead in the best possible way. It’s both-and.
Vulnerability leads to courage because we realize that we won’t die from admitting our uncertainty, risk, or emotions. Might we be scared? Yep. Might we be afraid of falling on our face? Yep. Are we working towards a goal that is big enough it gives us butterflies? Quite possibly.
All of this is difficult. And yet we lead.
We identify what we can control, what we can influence, and what we need to accept. We make decisions in the time allotted and based on the best information we have, which is usually incomplete. We continue embracing the suck of not having it all figured out and leading anyway. This movement forward leads to a courage we couldn’t have known without working through our vulnerability. It is self-discovery and growth at a deep, transformative level.
Be well friends and stay curious!