The Valor of Vulnerability

Written by Shannon Ferester Petty


A few weeks ago, I was scrolling around on my Netflix account, looking for something interesting to watch. I had spent way too much time binge-watching Sneaky Pete on Amazon (which is awesome, by the way), and I wanted to find something that might be considered a good use of my time. Suddenly, I stumbled on Brené Brown’s new special, The Case for Courage. I had heard of Brené Brown as a Ted Talk sensation, and knew that she specialized in vulnerability. I decided to give her special a chance, and I was very happy that I did. 

Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston, where she studies courage, shame, vulnerability, and empathy. She has five New York Times bestsellers, and the best thing about her is that she is REAL and FUNNY. Her special centers around her discovery that courage cannot exist without vulnerability, and she encourages the crowd to try to think of an example of a time when someone was courageous that didn’t require some level of vulnerability. Nobody succeeds. 

She also addresses the topic of belonging vs. fitting in. Pointing out that we are “hard-wired” for belonging and that trying to “fit in” leads to disconnection, she presents the following quote: “True belonging doesn’t require that we CHANGE who we are. It requires that we BE who we are.” What an amazing case this presents for authentic leadership in both our personal and professional lives, and what a great example to pass to our children who are dealing with all of the pressures of social media in their lives. 

Another area that Brown covers is about “dress rehearsing tragedy.” We prevent the true feeling of joy by convincing ourselves that it is just a matter of time before the other shoe drops. It is a coping mechanism for fear, but one that can be better addressed by practicing gratitude. Again, a great message that could benefit everyone no matter where they are in their lives. 

The centerpiece of Brené Brown’s philosophy is this quote from Teddy Roosevelt in 1910:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming.” 

As a result of discovering this quote, Brown chooses every day to “live in the arena” and be brave in her life. She chooses courage over comfort, knowing that it requires a great deal of vulnerability. Because of this, she is not interested in or open to feedback from those who choose to stay in the spectator seats and not participate. Her point that it is so much easier to cause pain than to feel pain is another hugely important lesson that she so eloquently talks through in this special. 

Here at Beth Ferester & Company, we continue to innovate and embrace change, as we move forward with courage and vulnerability into the future. Call or stop by to learn more about our modern real estate company with a legendary name, and how we can assist you with your housing needs.  

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