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High achievers who get stuck on the sidelines unable to take that first step forward are often subconsciously trying to protect themselves from failure. When we want to minimize or eliminate failure what we are really trying to do is protect ourselves from being vulnerable. 

 

Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, defines vulnerability in her book, Atlas of the Heart, as a feeling that we experience during times of uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. 

 

When we’re afraid of vulnerability, we hide out. We can’t put ourselves out there before it’s all “perfect.” We fear opening ourselves up to the risk of a mistake, being seen failing at something or appearing to others and ourselves as disappointing in some way. 

 

The only way we can protect ourselves from vulnerability is by controlling our outcome and with that comes the desire to “nail it.” We want to get it perfect right out of the gates. Since moving forward comes with not being in full control of the outcome it feels too scary—so we stay stuck. 

 

The mindset shift here starts with understanding that vulnerability leads us to success because it’s only by being vulnerable that we move forward. In this way vulnerability is about having the courage to take risks and be okay with our mistakes. Throwing your hat in the ring and embracing your vulnerability is what gets you in momentum and productive motion. It leads to congruent choices and action and that leads to results. 

 

Vulnerability doesn’t always feel good in the moment but if we want to explore our potential then vulnerability is an inevitable part of life. We can learn to embrace it if we see it as the pathway to fulfillment over the long run. 

– Coach Liane

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