"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,

because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, …”

Theodore Roosevelt, “Citizenship in a Republic”, 23 April 1910, Sorbonne, Paris

Brené Brown uses this quote to open her fascinating and widely celebrated book “Daring Greatly”. The Roosevelt speech is better know as “The Man in the Arena” and is a historical example to introduce the positive aspect of vulnerability.

A majority believes, vulnerability is synonymous with weakness. Being emotionally exposed and in a situation of uncertainty might prevent us from taking action. We experience the fear of being wrong. In our corporate culture having done something wrong can easily bring rejection. It leads to, one of the most destructive feelings we can experience: shame. This feeling is easily associated with the “I am bad” inner statement. It hits our inner core.

Brené Brown’s research and personal experiences bring forth a different message. Throughout many interviews the power of vulnerability emerges. It illustrates that the willingness to be vulnerable is the single value shared by women and men who were leading a life in wholeness. The writer designates them as the “Wholehearted”. Their ability to accept risk and emotional exposure is included in every aspect of life. At work, in their marriage and as a parent they embrace vulnerability. According to Brené Brown, it is an act of courage and not of weakness. Vulnerability is the source for meaningful human experiences.

The book also shows in detail how we can pave the way for a different life, how we can live fully by accepting risk and uncertainty. The author gives valuable mechanism to develop “shame-resilience” or overcoming the fear of not being complete and perfect.

“Daring Greatly” fully demonstrates the book’s subtitle – “How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead”.

Dr. Ernst Bechinie, MCC - www.solutioncoaching.ch

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