Vulnerability: not the soppy stuff


Creativity, innovation and powerful, sustainable change begins with the willingness to be vulnerable. The word vulnerability has such a soppy stigma, but a few years ago I saw a TED Talk that had left me thinking differently. It was of Texan Researcher Brené Brown and her experiences as she began to see how profound her findings were. She says it all when she says that ‘vulnerability is to risk, to be present and unafraid of emotional exposure in the face of uncertainty’.

I know firsthand and have heard all too often about the fear of failure and how it looms over us at the beginning of anything, and Brown’s research offers an option that is the ultimate kind of brave; to not only acknowledge self-doubt and the possibility of failure and criticism, but invite them to take a seat. To create is to risk and the best risks I took were when I understood that failure was just another possibility, not a reflection on my working role or identity. The substance I search for comes with mustering up the courage to be okay with looking foolish, to be willing to do something that isn’t perfect or even good. I have learnt to choose to risk letting even the ridiculous ideas loose on my way to thinking up something right and real.

From this place, it is much easier to be inspired and see clearly what I initially felt vaguely towards a given project. True courage sparks innovation and the modern customer seeks the authenticity that only vulnerability can bring about. As our visual intelligence and desire for honest interaction grows, it is clear that personable depth is the goal. It will only come if the grass roots of the ideation process are from a place of truth.

Take a squiz at Brene’s TED Talk here:

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