On vulnerability, leadership, and courage

I am a big fan of Brene Brown. She is known as a shame-researcher whose TED talk on vulnerability went viral and pushed her into fame. What she says connects with us as humans who are all hiding yet want to be known. We’ve been doing that since the beginning of it all. See the first act of this tragedy starring Adam and Eve in Genesis 3.

I listened to an interview with her this past weekend, and one sentence has haunted me. In that really good way, of sticking in your mind and being a place you want to return to over and over and over. An idea that you want to incorporate into you, and who you are, and how you live. She said,

Leadership without vulnerability breeds disengagement. 

All of us can think of leaders who engaged us through their own vulnerability, and those who alienated many through their lack thereof. What kind of leader are you? And don’t say, “well, I’m not a leader.” Because you are. Are you a parent? An older sibling? A cousin? A friend? Someone looks up to you, whether you realize it or not. How are you leading? With courage and vulnerability? Or through hiding, trying to cover up and appear as strong?

Here is one working definition of courage, according to Brene Brown:

This is the impetus behind my blogging, my speaking, and my writing. Oh, that it would also be the way that I parent, befriend, mentor, shepherd, and counsel! Let’s do this together. For we the Redeemed have the greatest reason for courage, in the love of God the Father who’s made us forever beautiful in Jesus Christ. Our brokenness is exchanged for his beauty. We are free to be courageous, and to lead through our vulnerability.

If you’re also a fan, what’s one of your favorite Brene quotes? I’d love to hear it.



6 thoughts on “On vulnerability, leadership, and courage

  1. I listened to what I think might have been the same interview…Catalyst? Anyway,YES,that quote has stuck with me ever since. Her book is on my “must read” list…I was SO inspired by that interview. My boss the last three years LOVES her, so I was introduced to her, but really am just now starting to discover her wisdom.

    • Yes, it was the Catalyst interview, Jill! I love that we are still thinking along the same lines. Totally feels like we are sharing coffee chats as before. And we should do a virtual book club and read “Daring Greatly” together. On my to-read list too.

  2. Hey Heather, I too like Brene Brown’s writing. My favorite quote/idea (not sure if it is exactly a quote) from her books is that you cannot have compassion without boundaries. I have found this to be enormously true in dealing with my parents. If I don’t have boundaries, I have resentment. But, if I have appropriate boundaries, I can feel compassionate toward them. Just thought I’d share.

    Beth Schmidt

  3. Pingback: shame and its antidote | hidden glory

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  5. Pingback: Brené Brown on “Rising Strong” (a review at TGC) | hidden glory

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