vulnerability is not a weakness

VulnerableMore Brene Brown today following this messy subject of vulnerability.

As you will know I have been mulling this whole topic over for a while now. Back in March I was thinking but put tuff on the back burner. More recently the subject has come up in talks, in reflections and in my general life.

As a ‘leader’ training for ordination I remember an experienced priest telling me I needed to be less vulnerable. I disagreed. In the last few months I read an article on church leadership that says being too vulnerable is dangerous. That sounded wrong and I disagreed.

And then I came across the stuff of Brene Brown; who seems to view vulnerability in a whole different way, but in a way that chimes with something deep within the caverns of my being. As I hear her words and consider her comments on vulnerability I feel something ringing and awakening deep within my being. It is, though, an uncomfortable awakening, an awakening that seems to demand my attention and energy!

Early in the video I heard the statement ‘vulnerability is not a weakness’ but rather it is the ’emotional risk that fuels our daily lives and our most accurate measure of courage’.

Vulnerability, says Brown, is ‘the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change’.

In other words … you cannot innovate, create or cause change without making yourself vulnerable. To step out and create demands a risk of us, it invites failure. In my creative stuff i have noticed most ideas and writings do not work first time, or even second, or third, or fourth ….. the creative process, the change process, involves a massive amount of failure until something starts to work.

Look at Edison. He tells us that he tried over 1000 times before he got the light bulb that worked. That’s some failure! That’s great vulnerability. That’s great conviction and faith, and some absence of a fear of failure! So, vulnerability, it seems is not only vital in friendship and relationship, it is a vital ingredient in the creative process.

If we cannot be vulnerable (in this sense unworried by failure), then we are hindered in our creativity and our desire to see change.  It seems to understand vulnerability, though, we need a sense of shame. I’ll let Brene Brown explain:

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