The Power of Being Vulnerable

I’ve been recommending Brene Brown’s wonderful book, Daring Greatly, to many people. She suggests that living “whole-heartedly” requires being vulnerable. People in her research groups defined vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” Pursuing work/life dreams always involves all three. Whether you’re searching for work you will love, asking for a promotion, or starting a business, you’re putting your heart on the table. And, that’s being vulnerable.

I’ve had the opportunity to witness how many clients have benefited from being courageously vulnerable. Here’s one example.

Taking a risk

Marie is in her mid-thirties. Several years ago she completed a masters degree in art but left school feeling confused about a career direction. She floundered for several years before she requested my help. From our work together she clarified what she wanted to do and began “writing the next chapter” in her life by enrolling again in school to complete a second advanced degree. It was a supreme act of courage and faith to take on more debt but she believed she would make up for it in the future.

Close to graduation, many companies expressed interest in hiring her but there was only one job she considered a great fit. After interviewing for it she was optimistic but then she received the proposed job description and was shocked and deeply disappointed. It was not what they had discussed. The work she wanted to do was not even mentioned and the low job title positioned her badly in the organization.

Speaking up

After urging her to communicate her concerns fully, Marie spoke up. In fact, she wrote her own job description based on what she thought the organization needed and what she wanted to do. She also suggested a different job title. It changed the trajectory of her future. Her description was accepted and she was offered a title that positioned her as a leader. It was a huge win for both Marie and her employer.

It would have been easy for Marie to capitulate and say yes to the original job description because she was hungry to work, especially after investing so much in her education. Instead, she prepared herself to walk away if they did not meet her request. It was risky to speak up, the outcome was uncertain and she felt emotionally exposed but I’m convinced she was successful because she had the strength to be vulnerable. Instead of taking the easy way out she stepped into the unknown and made clear requests. Now, she’s primed to blossom in her work.

How about you?

Are you “daring greatly” in your work/life? Or, are you settling? Are you allowing yourself to be vulnerable? Or, opting for comfort? I encourage you to take a risk and step into the unknown. It’s the space where vitality lives and where dreams can be fulfilled.

If you need support in this heroic journey of writing your next chapter, contact me.

Keep thriving,


Providing career and professional development coaching for professionals in work-related transitions for thirty-five years…


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