Science: Vulnerability is Beautiful
According to social scientist Professor Brené Brown, humans are wired for connection. “It’s why we’re here,” she says in her TED talk. In fact, the need to connect is so powerful that any incident of disconnection brings shame to us, and a sense of “excruciating vulnerability.” Further, her research shows that those who have a strong sense of love and belonging, believe they are worthy of that love and belonging. This belief is the single most important variable separating those with high levels of love and belonging and those with love levels.
Prof. Brown calls people with a high sense of love and belonging “whole-hearted” people, and their key characteristics are courage, compassion, connection, and vulnerability. For these people, vulnerability is not excruciating. Rather, vulnerability is beautiful. Prof. Brown goes on to say that vulnerability is the “birthplace” of joy and creativity.
According to Prof. Brown’s research, we cannot selectively numb feelings – when we try to numb shame or sorrow for instance, we also numb joy. The more afraid we are, the more we cling to certainty and perfection when there isn’t any. How might we navigate our emotions and vulnerability to face reality and thrive? A must-watch talk! And, you can look up information on Prof. Brown’s peer-reviewed publications and books as well.
What does this have to do with you? Well, being your authentic self, being in integrity, and leading from that place of the true self, requires these same qualities: courage, compassion, connection, and vulnerability. Adapting to change, as I discussed in a previous post, requires connecting with others. Vulnerability in leadership requires we conquer our fears and face our challenges in humble, sustainable, and exemplary ways.
Thanks to the inimitable Farzana Gounder for recommending Prof. Brown’s TED talk.