Being Vulnerable Connects Us

2 min read
4 May 2015

Today and tomorrow we are at the Old Convent of Boadilla outside Madrid, in a Team Coaching Session for our Senior Management Team led by Silvia Damiano.

As you know, Silvia Damiano is one of the greatest NeuroLeadership Spanish speaking experts. Author of Engage Me and Leadership is Upside Down, she was one of the pioneers in NeuroLeadership studies (a term coined by David Rock).

Her i4 ModelInspirational, Integrator, Imaginative and Intuitive Leadership) is at the forefront of the 21st Century Leadership in the VUCA environment. 

 Among the many things we can learn from Silvia is the concept of Vulnerability. We have seen a piece of Brene Brown’s “The Power of Vulnerability” (Tedx Houston 2010), one of the 10 most watched TED, with more than 19 million visits.

Brene Brown teaches at the University of Houston. She has spent a dozen years investigating Vulnerability, Courage, Worthiness and Shame, and has published several books: I Thought It Was Just Me, 2007; Connections, 2009; The Gifts of Imperfection, 2010 and Daring in Style: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead.

Brene Brown is a brilliant researcher and her most famous TED Talk can be seen here. Born in 1965, she has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and in CNN.

For Professor Brown, "Vulnerability is the key to Innovation, Creativity and Change". Therefore, it is good for all of us to feel it. Narcissism, so common in our society, is the fear of "being normal" to be imperfect. When we dare to show our love, to care for others, to be ourselves, we take a leap forward.

The root of the culture of scarcity (instead of abundance) is fear. Opposite to it, Vulnerability is the glue that binds intimate relationships, allowing us to really connect.

In her long experience, enjoyment is the hardest emotion. We do not usually give ourselves permission to experience it. And yet, it is the key to Talent (Enjoy, Diversity, Dedication, and Domain).

It's hard to enjoy because we protect ourselves too much. When we lose tolerance towards vulnerability, we lose the courage to enjoy.

Brene has created a powerful concept: "the betrayal of disengagement". When she interviewed thousands of people about their connections, she spoke to them about their "disconnection", of what had failed in love or in all types of connections. "We have such a fear of suffering that we get voluntarily unhooked".

Shame keeps us from vulnerability, which is the ability to show us as we are, imperfect. Since we are little, we are born with the ability to connect and learn what shame is through secrecy, silence and judgment.

My thanks to two great researchers, who are breaking new ground: Brene Brown and Silvia Damiano.

Originally Published in Spanish by


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