Vulnerability with Brene Brown

Apr 18, 2022

Micheal Gervais interviewed Brene Brown, a thought leader who is a highly published author. She has 5 #1 NY Times best-selling books. Additionally, she bases her ideologies on a 7-year study on courage and leadership. Brene comes from a middle-class upbringing of 4 children. Her parents got a divorce when she was 20. Nonetheless, her dad taught her values about self-agency and encouraged her to adopt a growth mindset. Brene would describe herself as a risk-taker and has always been one since she can recall. She believed curiosity and risk is the ultimate indication of mastery. Furthermore, Brene has a strong character value about being courageous and believes courage always trumps comfort. She mentioned that when she doubts herself or feels she’s not doing enough, she remembers God and turns to him for strength. Additionally, she remembers to simply practice the same values she teaches, and this helps ground her. Moreover, she states that there are 4 skillsets of courage which are: 1) Rumbling with vulnerability 2) Living into your values 3) Creating trust in yourself and your capabilities 4) Learning how to rise from failure.

Some highlight moment for me was when Micheal introduced the idea of FOPO, which means fear of other people’s opinions. Brene shared her opinion on this and relates, “FOPO to me is exactly about the cheap seat feedback…so many people today that will never set foot in the arena…yet they’re so free with their opinion about other people’s real arena moments (20.09).” To me, this reiterated the idea that many people that we allow to negatively affect us act like hypocrites, and often fail to put into practice what they preach. Thus, her question to us is essential, why do we care so much about other people’s opinions? Her suggestion to relieve ourselves from this default behavior is to list 3-5 people whose opinion actually matters to us and that we’d be willing to welcome in, in order to get the right feedback loops. Another highlight to me is when Brene mentioned, “Sign up to be brave, you’re going to fall. It’s the physics of courage (23:23).” This hit home for me because as an adult, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I must accept failure as a potential consequence of being vulnerable and courageous. Nonetheless, more often than not, the risk will prove to be more rewarding than discouraging. Additionally, it’s the idea that if we resist being brave, we resist growth. Finally, my favorite idea was when Brene speaks on vulnerability and relates that, “…it’s about not tapping out when things get hard, uncomfortable and awkward (32:10).” This is a value I uphold highly in my life and also teach my clients. I come from a perspective where everything is all mental. Thus, building mental resilience is crucial in order to overcome limiting beliefs and the challenges that ultimately lead to optimal growth.

One strategy from the gym setting that strongly relates to Brene’s ideology is willpower. Doing things we don’t want to do, but doing it anyway is a big part of what Brene teaches. She emphasizes that being comfortable will suppress growth. Consequently,  she encourages us to take the more uncomfortable path and to welcome challenges by being courageous and vulnerable. Similarly, we must push our limits in the gym and move away from our comfort zone in order to evolve as an athlete. Moreover, she encourages us to tap into our internal locus of control and find ways to enjoy being a risk-taker. She tells us to think about risk as being curious to know how far we can push our limits and then going forward with that risk in order to build mastery of new skills and self (being able to have confidence in our own capabilities). In the gym, this idea translates into putting our fears aside and preparing to attack the weights with confidence during heavy lifts and PRs. We have to become curious about our strengths in order to embrace being in alignment with our strongest and most empowered selves. Then, it all comes down to precise execution and focusing on what your body needs to do, not what’s on the bar.

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