Vulnerability is a word that is synonymous with soft, timid, and apprehensive for many people. However, this could not be further from the truth. In reality, demonstrating vulnerability is actually more aligned with grit, courage, and bravery than weakness. When someone makes the choice to chase a dream, speak publicly, or confront an addiction, it is often met with praise because the person is demonstrating courage. In addition to courage, these acts also require vulnerability in order to face fears, risk failure, or overcome adversity. I personally believe that not many people would describe the endeavors mentioned above as "soft" or "apprehensive". In order to dare greatly, we must embrace vulnerability.
Daring greatly requires vulnerability, and with vulnerability comes the fear of failure or rejection. In her book "Daring Greatly, Brene Brown gives a great example of courage and vulnerability. She discusses how a young man was interested in a girl that was way out of his league. He pondered for weeks about asking her out but was apprehensive because he was afraid of being rejected. After reading Brown’s book, he became invigorated and mustered up the courage to ask her out. However, this story does not have a fairytale ending, as he was brutally rejected. At first, he was embarrassed by the outcome, but once he realized the object was not to get the girl but instead to dare greatly, he actually experienced a sense of pride. When his roommates asked about the outcome, his experience was met with laughter and jokes of, “you should have known better, she was way out of your league”. When he was asked why he even wasted his time, his response was, “because I was daring greatly”. In that very moment, there was a paradigm shift from shame to courage which resulted in instant respect from this young man’s peers.
In reality, vulnerability and daring greatly have little to do with the outcome and everything to do with the process. Brown summed it up perfectly when she states, “vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness” (37). If we can begin to love the process as much as the prize by believing that our intrinsic value comes from who we are and not what we do, we will be free to dare greatly by demonstrating the courage to be vulnerable.