Monday, November 5, 2012

The Birthplace of Innovation

"Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change." -  Brené Brown

I am probably late to the Brené Brown craze.  If you aren't familiar with Brown she became an "overnight" sensation in December 2010 when a Ted talk she gave on vulnerability went viral and millions of people saw it.  Since then she has written a new book and added another Ted talk on shame earlier this year.  Brown is a researcher/story teller who discovered that one of the secrets of people who live "wholehearted" lives is their willingess to be vulnerable and have the courage to be authentic.

In her new book, Daring Greatly, Brown writes:  "And the answer that appeared over and over in all of our efforts to better understand vulnerability?  Naked."  If I had any doubt about whether or not Brown is a calltrepreneur that sentence confirmed it.  She is.  If you have read any of my previous posts you know that one of the inspirations for calltreprenuership is the fresco in Assisi of St. Francis standing naked before God.  For me, the decision to follow one's calling is akin to standing naked before our beloved for the first time - both terrifying and exhilarating.  Or to say it another way, to be vulnerable - everyday.

Brown has found that vulnerability, the ability/willingness to risk being the first to say "I love you" or to try something new, is foundational to innovation, creativity and change.  It makes sense on so many levels and yet it isn't so easy to master.  I recommend Brown's books and videos to learn about her experiences and recommendations.  They have me wondering how to cultivate more authenticity in my life and in those around me.

As a recovering compulsive gambler I know about risk.  Even though I haven't made a bet in over 32 years my capacity for trying new things is still high.  But trying new things isn't always an act of vulnerability, especially if trying new things is something one does all the time.   To create, to connect with someone, to change ourselves and the world, often starts with stepping outside of our comfort zone. Especially when our deepest selves - inner wisdom, life and/or God - challenges and invites us to do so.

How do we do it?  Faith is one element.  Faith in that still small voice, in what we cannot control and faith that when we move towards our hopes and dreams good things will happen.  Hanging around people who practice vulnerabilty is another.  People who are willing to share themselves emotionally and creatively and who realize the goal isn't perfection but authenticity.  Getting help.  Many of us didn't grow up getting gold stars for being authentic.  I got them for getting straight A's and 100% on tests.  Therapists, spiritual directors, coaches, mentors, colleagues, friends and family have helped me learn and remember that being real is much more important than being perfect.  It is a lesson I suspect I'll never fully master but one that is important to keep studying and practicing.

Innovation, creativity and change.  These are the tools of calltrepreneurship.  If vulnerability is where these are born may we be born again and again.

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