Being Brave Is Being Vulnerable


“There is no courage without vulnerability,” said Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, during her ISPA Conference & Expo keynote presentation, Daring Leadership: The Four Pillars of Courage.

The TED Talk speaker expressed that the only thing standing between you and trying something new in your business is your courage. “It’s funny how shame works,” she added.

If you live a brave life with your business, you will get your butt kicked, according to Brown. Every day ask yourself, “Will I choose courage or will I choose comfort.” If you think you are being brave and you are comfortable, you are not being brave, added Brown.

According to Brown, the four pillars of courage are: Vulnerability, Clarity of Values, Trust and Rising Skills. And, during her presentation, Brown dispelled the myths of vulnerability:

  1. Vulnerability is weakness.
  2. I can opt out.
  3. Let it all hang out. (Vulnerability minus boundaries is not vulnerability.)
  4. I can go it alone.

“You can’t go it alone,” said Brown. “We were never meant to. Integrity is choosing courage over comfort. … Choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast and easy.”

Brown is a research professor at University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past 10 years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame. 

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