“It’s not the critic who counts…the credit goes to the who is actually in the arena. Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short and short again…who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly…” – Teddy Roosevelt, 1910
In a recent presentation on courage, Dr. Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate School of Social Work, addressed the realities surrounding vulnerability. She discussed how feelings of worthiness impact the shame cycle we go through as human beings and actions we can take to become more resilient.
4 Steps To More Courage
As a risk-taking entrepreneur, I couldn’t agree more with her statements on vulnerability. I run a business helping women tackle setbacks through energy healing and holistic practices. Taking risks not only as an entrepreneur but also as an energy healer, which many consider very “woo-woo” or too “out there”, comes with a lot of vulnerability.
I’ve taken multiple leaps of faith over the past decade from quitting my 9-5 job without a Plan B to moving to a new city…without a Plan B. Oh, did I mention, I bought my first car and condo within 24 hours of landing in the new city?
Though I wouldn’t consider myself very courageous, when I tap into my intuition, I just know it’s going to be ok taking that next leap.
When it comes to courage and vulnerabilities, Brown emphasized that human beings are wired for connection. We cannot run away from vulnerability by going at it alone. If we don’t let others in, then we miss out on emotions most of us say we want more of. That is, happiness, a sense of belonging, and trust.
She discussed the following four pillars of courage:
Brown clarified that vulnerability is not a weakness but rather a strength.
Vulnerability is not about oversharing either. It is about having the courage to show up when the outcomes are not certain.
We cannot opt out of vulnerability as it is part of all of us. When we try to push vulnerability away, the consequences impact our relationship at work and home, especially with those that help fuel our resilience.
Clarity of Values.
Brown emphasized that we are our values. Our values are the only armor we really have in our work and home life. When we fail, our values remind us of why we tried and gets us back up on our feet.
So it’s time to get clear on your core values! What are your top values? Brown stated that one of her top values, particularly when it comes to leadership, was having courage.
Trust is an important leadership value. Brown use the acronym “BRAVING” to describe the anatomy of trust. Below are the behavior elements of trust:
Boundaries: Do you know what your boundaries are? Do you respect boundaries? Reliability: Do you do what you say you will? Accountability: Do you own up to mistakes? Vault: Do you uphold confidentiality? Integrity: Do you honor your truth? Non-judgment: Can you be vulnerable and ask for help? Generosity: In the workplace, this is associated with giving the benefit of the doubt.
“If you are courageous, accept that you will get your ass kicked. Accept it,” Brown said. She noted that “I’ve never met a person who was brave who has not gotten their ass kicked.”
Brown emphasized that it is important to get in the arena andfight for the things we believe in. The arena is increasingly full of people in the cheap seats – that invisible army of “they” or “we.”
There are the critics who haven’t lived it, haven’t risked it, but who are willing to shout out their opinions anyway. It’s increasingly important that we know whom we should listen to.
What steps will you start taking to live a life of more courage?