Vulnerability – this exciting, scary, beautiful and yet somehow oddly misshapen word has been featuring in my mind and work a lot lately. When we think of doing something that makes us feel vulnerable, we typically associate vulnerability with weakness, and when we see someone sharing their vulnerability, we usually associate that with courage. When it comes to vulnerability and how we roll with it, we’re our own worst enemy.
I think vulnerability is an important part of doing authentic work, and as someone who likes to challenge the way people work, and to lead by example in encouraging people to do things differently, I’m familiar with the anxiety it brings. It’s an essential ingredient of creativity, just ask anyone who has stared at a beautiful, pristine sheet of gloriously white, flat, smooth 200 gsm paper with a pencil in hand just prior to bringing the two together, and they’ll give you a sense of what vulnerability feels like. And although it’s nerve racking, vulnerability can be exciting too.
Speaking of exciting – we have a rare opportunity to experience cutting edge thinking on vulnerability today. Dr Brene Brown, who was catapulted into the front line of vulnerability thinking after her 2010 TEDx talk on the subject went viral, is speaking on vulnerability at The RSA today at 1pm UK time. Understandably the auditorium is full, but the good people at The RSA are live streaming the talk. I know where I’ll be at 1pm today, how about you?