Thanks to the very generous people at Women in Focus I got to enjoy yet another great Business Chicks event last Friday – this time featuring one of my all time favourite speakers Brene Brown. I first discovered Brene and her brilliant work via TED – a non-profit organisation devoted to ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’. Since 1984 TED have been running conferences aimed at “bringing together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less).” The best of the TED talks are available to watch for free on their website.
I first watched Brene’s TED talk in October 2011 and have since watched it at least 5 times! Both impressed and inspired by her I wrote a blog called The Power of Vulnerability. Far from alone in my appreciation of Brene’s thinking and approach – her Ted talk has become a global sensation with over 10 million views since it was originally posted in December 2010. Having waited for weeks with baited breath to hear Brene talk at Business Chicks I gladly jumped out of bed on what turned out to be a freezing cold Melbourne morning to be there.
At the heart of the message Brene shared (both at TED and on Friday in Melbourne) is this: To truly thrive, to live a rich and fulfilling life we must find the courage to be vulnerable and connect deeply with ourselves and one another. Brene believes that the extent to which we experience the depths of joy, love and wonder that are possible in life comes down to our willingness to be honest, transparent and exposed. She argues that by definition to be vulnerable means to face uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.
As I summed up in ‘The Power of Vulnerability’ Brene’s advice for how to live a fulfilling life is to:
- Let ourselves be seen – deeply seen
- Love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee
- Practice gratitude and joy
- Believe that we are enough
- Be kinder and gentler to ourselves and others around us
Brene reinforced these messages and delivered more; the nuggets of wisdom I took from her this time are:
- There is no courage without vulnerability: brave people are willing to be goofy, uncool, to muck things up
- To soften into love and joy takes vulnerability
- We must be vulnerable to have intimacy and trust
- It’s about turning up and being seen because we believe we are enough
- When we don’t have love, connection and belonging we have suffering
- Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation
My favourite Brene Brown quote for the day was: “If you’re sitting in the cheap seats of life criticizing everyone else and not getting into the arena yourself – I’m not interested in your feedback”.
These words resonated loudly with me and speak straight to the reason so many of us are scared of vulnerability. Most of us have experienced the mean spirited people who criticize, mock or scoff at our well-intentioned efforts. All the while failing to step outside of their comfort zone or to strive to achieve anything beyond ordinary. Choose wisely how you respond to these people – the power we give to their opinions can profoundly impact how we feel about the inevitable stumbles and falls we experience along the way while giving life a go! Leave these peoples opinions with them and as Brene’s book title advocates live life “Daring Greatly”.