I first encountered Brené Brown’s work in 2012 when I was training to become a professional coach. A friend and fellow-trainee recommended her TED Talk: The Power of Vulnerability assuring me it would “rock my world”. She was right. It did. Massively. And continues to do so five years on.
If you haven’t watched it already, I recommend the talk wholeheartedly. With 30 million views and counting, it’s among the most-watched TED Talks to date (I will neither confirm nor deny that 2 million of those views are mine…).
Sharing with great courage and authenticity in ways which are by turns funny, illuminating and deeply poignant, Brown reveals how, far from being weak or shameful (myths our present culture perpetuates), vulnerability is the birthplace of qualities such as: trust, authenticity, integrity, courage, compassion, connection, creativity and service. These are qualities we rightly cherish and celebrate in each other, qualities which progressive workplaces are increasingly asking their leaders to demonstrate and cultivate.
The talk also shines a light on the many harmful thoughts, actions and behaviours which can follow when we live, lead, parent or teach from the ‘shadow’ side of these qualities: from inauthenticity, fear, lack of trust, disconnection, shame, blame and judgement.
Each time I watch it, Brown’s talk fuels the revolution she started in 2012. In my head and - increasingly - in my heart and bones.
I understand at deeper and deeper levels how discomfort with my own vulnerability has lead me to expend a lot of effort and energy denying, covering up or moving away from those parts of myself I believe shouldn’t be seen because they are in some way ‘unworthy’ or ‘not good enough’.
I also increasingly understand how it is in my vulnerability that I connect most meaningfully with my authentic self and with other people. As Brown says, when we allow ourselves to see and be seen - truly seen - we create the potential for the deep levels of connection and belonging each of us needs to live and lead well, as colleagues, partners, leaders, friends - as human beings.
Are you longing to bring greater authenticity, courage and compassion to your leadership?
Through our new Mindful Leadership for Women Programme, my colleague Jo Alcock and I are committed to Brené Brown’s principle of showing up and being truly seen - in service of the growth and learning of the women taking our courses, and in service of our own.
Throughout the Programme, Brown’s TED Talks and wider work inspires and informs some of the key learning we will be sharing. In the first course in the Programme, Overcoming Imposter Syndrome, we will be taking a deep dive into:
- the competing narratives and expectations which lead women to consistently underestimate, overlook and play down their capabilities and talents in the workplace (and beyond).
- why pleasing, proving, performing and perfecting have become too-prevalent female work-styles, and how they lead to exhaustion, burn-out and joylessness
- how a culture of shame, blame and judgement is corrosive for women leaders, their teams and the wider workplace
- how modelling authenticity and vulnerability fosters greater trust, engagement, creativity and innovation in teams and workplaces
Throughout the course we will share practical knowledge, skills, tools, and practices which help women leaders build the healthier, more compassionate and inclusive workplaces we long for.
If this sounds like the leadership learning you've been longing for, please join us for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome, the first course in the Mindful Leadership for Women Programme. This 4-week fully-facilitated online course begins November 14th 2017. Booking will open very soon. To find out more click here. If you're ready to reserve your place, contact me.