34 Ways You Can Rumble with Vulnerability
so you can Lead with Courage
Over the past two weeks, I’ve listened to countless people talk about courage.
While at a conference, I listened to deeply personal stories of women leading with courage. I’ve read Facebook posts of people struggling to show up in authentic ways. And I watched a video pointing to courage as a distinguishing mark of entrepreneurs.
That’s just a sampling of where courage has crept into my days.
But, there’s something looming on the other side of courage. You might call it paralysis, imposter syndrome or doubt. There’s also an emotion we don’t like to wrestle with in the public arena.
What emotion am I talking about?
Wrestling With Fear
What most often gets in the way of courage is fear.
That’s normal. The reality is fear keeps us safe. Fear stops us from running into traffic as a child and doing stupid things as a teenager (even though there are plenty of stupid things we all do as teenagers that have nothing to do with fear!).
We’re hardwired to protect ourselves from danger. It’s the fight or flight response we learned about in middle school science class. Fear prompts a signal in our bodies to send out cortisol, adrenaline and release glucose into our system to help us run for our lives. And, that’s a good thing when we’re being chased by a bear.
The reality is, for most of us, we’re not being chased by a bear over a hill. There is no immediate threat to our lives. Fear shows up in much more ordinary ways in daily life and work.
When Fear Gets in the Way
Fear gets in the way when we do not see it as part of the human experience. When we don’t talk about it or seek to get to the root cause of our fears, we’re avoiding a moment to practice courage. If we attempt to banish fear as feeling, we’re missing out on an opportunity to embrace the power of fear.
I’m not convincing you am I?
Maybe fear is holding you back from making a dentist appointment or sending an inquiry to a leader you met last week. Or maybe fear is holding you back from a lifestyle change you need to make. Is fear stopping you from addressing the challenge someone launched your direction last week? Or do you need to find the courage to speak up about an issue on your team?
I’ll confess, there is nothing I like about fear: sweaty palms, racing heart, feeling like momma bear is about to emerge from the depths of my soul and counter with an attack.
That’s what fear does to me.
While you may respond to fear differently, we all have fears. It’s a part of being human. The degree of fear I’m facing determines the degree of fear response I experience. The same is true for you.
Be Brave and Afraid at the Same Time
Here’s the thing: fear gets in the way when we allow it to dictate whether we’ll make a bold move as a leader, speak out loud what we’re thinking, or ask for feedback. It can stop us from pursuing our ideas, challenging the status quo, or taking a leap of faith with the business or non-profit you’re starting.
To develop courage, we have to name all the feelings that go along with being courageous. By now, you’ve likely guessed, the one we often miss is fear. Being brave and afraid all at the same time is what it means to be courageous. Being brave and afraid at the same time is what it means to be alive.
Brene Brown notes in Dare to Lead that courage is developed with four, distinct skill sets. These four skill sets can be learned and are as follows:
- Rumbling with Vulnerability
- Living our Values
- Braving Trust
- Learning to Rise
As I began to explore courage-building, I considered how each of the 34 CliftonStrengths talent themes demonstrates courage.
To get there, first, we’ll consider how each talent theme rumbles with vulnerability. I’ll also share an example of how this talent theme seeks self-protection or wears armor to protect against fears. In future posts, we’ll look at values, trust, and learning to rise to help you map your strengths to courage.
CliftonStrengths and Courage
If you want to be courageous, you’re going to need to learn to rumble with vulnerability. If you want to be courageous, you’re going to need to recognize when you’re operating out of fear and self-protection.
Here are five examples from my top five CliftonStrengths talent themes. Download this PDF to see how your CliftonStrengths slay fear by rumbling with vulnerability. I’ve noted two things following each talent theme. First, how this talent theme may self protect, or wear armor. Second, how this talent theme practices courage by rumbling with vulnerability.
My Top 5 CliftonStrengths
- may self-protect by not fully explaining the thought process you’re using to make decisions.
- can rumble with vulnerability by trusting your intuition and peering around the corner. Ask “What’s possible?” as you practice speaking up about the patterns you see and what might be holding you and/or the team back.
- may self-protect through busyness or appear as tasks or projects are more important than people.
- can rumble with vulnerability by leading by example and doing the hard stuff first. Channel your tireless work ethic toward accomplishing milestones and find a partner who shares your work ethic.
- may self-protect by never finishing a project/task because it’s not perfect.
- can rumble with vulnerability by seeking the opinion of experts and high performers. State your standards of excellence, mastery, and success out loud.
- may self-protect by forming exclusive cliques and not venturing into new relationships.
- can rumble with vulnerability through a willingness to take conversations and relationships to a deeper level.
- may self-protect by appearing to “know it all”
- can rumble with vulnerability by trying new things and embracing the process of moving from ignorance to mastery.
Know your top five talent themes? Download Your Free PDF Today: How the 34 CliftonStrengths Can Slay Fear By Rumbling with Vulnerability