This 180 degree turn I am making at the midpoint of my life, to move back to a city I love while at the same time making the not inexpensive investment to go back to school, is terrifying and exciting at the same time. Mostly terrifying. I consider myself lucky to have found the books by Brené Brown, because throughout all her books she writes that in order to live a whole-hearted life, one has to be vulnerable - take risks – and engage in life. This time in my life I feel like I am vulnerable every moment of every day, which is why this quote in particular is so life-changing for me. In her recent book Daring Greatly, here is what she writes:
“Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.
Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our own vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.
When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.
Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience. We must walk into the arena, whatever it may be – a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation – with courage and willingness to engage. Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly.”
Brown, Brené. Daring Greatly. New York: Penguin Group (USA), Inc., 2012.