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I know what your thinking.

What do you mean by “getting naked” and what’s in it for me?  But I’m not talking about shedding clothing, even though the changing weather is a gentle reminder that perhaps we all have some work to do (e.g. I’m heading to the gym this weekend).

No, what I’m talking about is much more frightening.  I am talking about vulnerability.  The fear of sharing your story and ideas with others.  Maybe you have felt that same fear too.

It’s hard to get past the crippling effects of perfectionism.  Difficult to expose your ideas and thoughts to the world.  Challenging to overcome the fear of public criticism and ultimately, terrifying to deal with your own self-doubt.

When you share your ideas, there will be critics.  And the negative feedback will hurt.

But there is a reason you should do it anyway.

In her book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, Brene Brown teaches us that embracing vulnerability and imperfection can empower us to impact others in meaningful ways.

It may feel safer to distance ourselves from others.  But emotional safety does not always bring lasting comfort.  There is value in connecting with others.  When we expose ourselves, we invite meaningful human exchanges that help us grow.

Even though it may be challenging, embracing vulnerability and connecting with others on an emotional level through empathy can open the door for love, creativity, and happiness.

But what about the critics?

During a recent 99U Conference, Brown delved deeper into the issue of vulnerability and explained why your critics are not the ones who count.

You will have critics.

Embrace them and reserve a seat for them in your arena.  They will remind you that people are listening.  But also let them know that unless they are willing to be vulnerable and fight in the arena too, their sly comments will not stop you from daring greatly.

Because they do not matter.

By the way, sometimes the biggest critic is yourself.  But we know how to destroy the critic within. Don’t let that be the reason you give up.

Your story is too important not to share.

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