I recently watched the Brene Brown special on Netflix called “The Call To Courage”. If you are unfamiliar with her work let me assure you that she is worth knowing. Brene has a PHD, an MSW and is a Research Professor at the University of Houston. She is also the author of MANY #1 New York Times bestselling books (many of which I have read) and has spent most of her career researching and studying Courage, Vulnerability, Shame and Empathy and she is now the first person to have a filmed talk available on Netflix.
“The Call To Courage” was both witty and exceptional and also proved from start to finish how important and necessary it is for us to choose “courage over comfort” by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. As I sat there listening to her speak I found myself captivated by her truth and honesty and began to see the parallels between what she was saying and my own life because I realized that I have been choosing “courage over comfort” by sharing my story with you.
I’ve been choosing to have conversations about the “uncomfortable” things; I’ve been choosing to communicate about my shame; I’ve been choosing to express my fears and I’ve been choosing to “show up to the arena” which according to Brene is the bravest thing any of us can do. Theodore Roosevelt first coined the phrase “showing up to the arena” during a speech he gave way back in 1910 but Brene has taken it to a whole new level and through to a whole new century by showing her audience how truly important it is to be vulnerable.
I just wanted to share with you a small snippet of his speech. In it he states; “It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood.”
I’ve also been choosing to share my story by owning my truth, by trying not to betray myself for worry that I will be judged or ridiculed by other people and by “having the courage to show up knowing that you can’t control the outcome” but at the same time also understanding that the only true pathway to getting there is by being marred by the dust, sweat and blood while exhibiting your vulnerability.
Just thinking about choosing to show up to the arena is petrifying and filled with so much uncertainty and risk. What if we fail? Or then again, what if we succeed? But as Brene points out, winning the race may not be about coming in first after all but instead it’s more about being brave enough to “just come off the block and get wet”. Something I need to try and do every day by continuing to choose “courage over comfort”.