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Brené Brown And The Art Of Vulnerability

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.

- Dr. Brené Brown

I’ve recently heard a few podcasts and read some interviews with Dr. Brené Brown. It’s easy to see why people are drawn to her. She is very down to earth, funny, passionate, compassionate, engaging, and knowledgeable. For those who don’t know, she has focused her research studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. The one area that I wanted to highlight are her thoughts on perfectionism.

Dr. Brown describes perfectionism as:

a. The belief that if we do things perfectly and look perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame.

b. At its core, perfectionism is about trying to earn approval and being praised for achievements and performance.

c. Perfectionism is not the key to success. Her research has shown that it actually hampers achievement. It also has a strong correlation with depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.

d. It’s a form of shame, not a way of avoiding shame.

e. Perfectionists can view criticism as personal attacks.

On the other hand, here are some of her thoughts on healthy striving for excellence and being vulnerable so that you can be brave:

  1. Healthy striving is self-focused, like asking the question, “How can I improve?”

  2. “Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.”

  3. Failure is just another word for education. "If you take the time and have the patience to learn from your failures, then they aren’t failures any longer - they’re lessons. And once you’ve gone through the ringer, and learned your lessons - good and bad - it’s highly likely that you’re a better bet for the next time around.”

  4. Criticism is not personal if you look at it objectively. Criticism is something to learn from.

As an athlete, take a look at how you train and compete. Are you more of a perfectionist? Or, do you strive for excellence? To strive for excellence and mastery involves making yourself vulnerable, being true to who you are, and putting in the hard work.


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