Brené Brown is sounding “The Call To Courage.”
In her Netflix special (streaming Friday) cameras captured the University of Houston research professor firing up attendants of her talk at UCLA’s Royce Hall.
Brown’s research has focused on topics like courage, vulnerability, empathy and shame. The USA TODAY best-selling author also has a celebrity audience, with Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Garner, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tracee Ellis Ross and Katie Couric among her more than 1.3 million Instagram followers.
It might be obvious to those who tune in why Brown has developed such a fan base. Her straight-shooting is even evident in her Twitter bio: “Researcher. Storyteller. Texan.” “Call To Courage” (running just over 75 minutes) feels like a mix of a motivational speech and stand-up comedy special.
She isn’t afraid to offer up moments from her life for laughs, like the time she was so excited to meet Oprah Winfrey for an appearance on “SuperSoul Sunday” she thought she might die in transit.
After exiting the car that was to take her to the airport, Brown went into her home to speak with her husband, Steve Alley. “I said, ‘Steve… the chances of me making it to Chicago are slim, because this is too good to be true,’ ” she recalled. “And I was like, ‘I want you to remarry. I want you to find someone to love. I want you to wait an appropriate amount of time, but I want you to find someone else.’ “
Brown’s special highlights the link between courage and vulnerability, which she describes as “having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome.”
Here are other important lessons about vulnerability from the special.
1. It is not a sign of weakness
Despite what some may think, Brown said, “Vulnerability is our most accurate way to measure courage, and we literally do that as researchers.”
Vulnerability allows them to assess fearlessness, said Brown.
“We can measure how brave you are by how vulnerable you’re willing to be.”
2. There are many benefits to opening up
Brown asserts vulnerability is the “birthplace” of things like love and joy.
Highlighting the risks of love, Brown polled the audience: “Are you 100% sure that person will always love you back, will never leave, will never get sick? How many of you have every buried someone you love? How many of you have lost someone you love?
“To love is to be vulnerable, to give someone your heart and say, ‘I know this could hurt so bad, but I’m willing to do it; I’m willing to be vulnerable and love you,’ ” she added.
Of joy, Brown said, “When we lose our capacity for vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding. It becomes scary to let ourselves feel it.”
3. Being vulnerable at work has advantages as well
Vulnerability was Brown’s recommendation for a company with a “huge creativity and innovation problem” that wanted to hire her to speak.
“No vulnerability, no creativity. No tolerance for failure, no innovation. It is that simple,” she advised. “If you’re not willing to fail, you can’t innovate. If you’re not willing to build a vulnerable culture, you can’t create.”
4. Vulnerability is inescapable
Brown said even those who think they are avoiding being vulnerable are in fact experiencing the emotion.
“You do vulnerability knowingly or vulnerability does you,” she said.
She explained the importance of openness.
“It is so much easier to cause pain than feel pain, and people are taking their pain and they’re working it out on other people,” she said, “and when you don’t acknowledge your vulnerability, you work your (expletive) out on other people. Stop working your (expletive) out on other people.”
5. The choice to embrace exposure is easier in the end
“Vulnerability is hard, and it’s scary, and it feels dangerous, but it’s not as hard, scary or dangerous as getting to the end of our lives and having to ask ourselves, ‘What if I would’ve shown up?’ ‘What if I would’ve said, I love you?’ ” Brown told the crowd. “Show up, be seen, answer the call to courage… ’cause you’re worth it. You’re worth being brave.”
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2019/04/19/brene-brown-call-courage-netflix-vulnerability/3497969002/