Brené BrownBRENÉ BROWN IS AN AMAZING storyteller, researcher, and expert in social sciences.

I hope you’ve had a chance to see some of Brené’s amazing TED Talks in the area of vulnerability.  They’re insightful and powerful.

I’ve been making the connection between this topic and the clients I’m working with.  Because starting and leading a mission-driven business takes courage.

The Latin root for the word courage is cor, pertaining to the heart.  So courage is bringing your heart forward and taking action.  It always entails a sense of danger or risk, otherwise we wouldn’t need a different word to describe it.

It would just be doing.

But the heart is also vulnerable, and that’s what makes an action courageous.  If you were a superhero and could just walk into a burning building without the possibility of harm, then it wouldn’t be courageous.  The most we could say is that I would be impressed and appreciative, because you have a more impressive body than I do.

But we don’t like being vulnerable.  Especially in this age where we try to surround our entire lives with a cocoon of comfort.

We have to nurture our personal vulnerability before we can grow to do amazing things.  Here’s what it looks like:

  • First, you have to be forgiving of yourself.  You’ll make mistakes.  But there’s something larger at stake, in which you are only a player.
  • Next, you have to work to influence others.  Yes, you’ll be misunderstood.  There will be questions you struggle with.  But the struggle will make you (and your cause) stronger.
  • And, you have to forgive others.  That does not mean you lower your standards of excellence, but that you realize that we’re all human and it takes time and effort to improve.

Your mission is deeply important, right?  Not just a passing fancy you thought up on a drinking binge?  Well, then there’s going to be a struggle getting there.

Let’s not get too depressed, though.  Here’s what makes the struggle fruitful:

  • Clarity.  Work with your mentor or business coach to come up with the right words and images which will sustain you for years to come.
  • Persistence.  Put systems in place so you can stay on track, moving forward toward your compelling vision.
  • Support.  It’s faster go just go on the trip yourself, but you’re going to make more of an impact as a group.  And most critically, you’ll help each other to stay on track.
  • Learn.  If you’re moving forward, you’re always learning.  Even from the failures – especially from the failures.

Life wasn’t meant to be comfortable.  It’s constant growth, learning, and difficulty.  The point is to learn and move toward a goal that matters.