And Now, A Word on Vulnerability

Posted June 4, 2013 by Katherine Toll in Women's Issues

I am currently reading Brene Brown’s latest book, Daring Greatly. Brown is a social scientist and researcher at Houston University who specializes in shame, vulnerability, and wholehearted living. Brown shares her work and her personal vulnerabilities with such humor and authenticity, that it makes even the prickliest of cynics (me) set down my armor and connect with her message.

She is in a word: relatable. I find her supremely relatable because she is a self-admitted cynic and control freak who became a researcher because everything could be measured and explained in the research world. However, she drove herself  to a nervous breakdown (her therapist refers to it as a spiritual awakening) when her own research findings pointed to a distressing answer on how to live wholeheartedly,

I could not believe I had pledged allegiance to research where our job…[as] a researcher  is to study phenomena for the explicit reason to control and predict. My mission to control and predict turned up the answer that the way to live [wholeheartedly] is with vulnerability and to stop controlling and predicting. This led to a little breakdown.

I get that. I hate revealing a soft spot, or admitting I don’t know something. It irks me– especially when I perceive an eye-roll from others around me. I hear those familiar tapes play in my head,  I’m not smart enough, I’m not successful enough, I’m not ambitious enough. Blah, Blah, BLAH!!

I find this crisis of confidence arriving at a rather tricky time because this week we have five college interns starting at CGN — five impressional young women who expect a successful, accomplished career woman to appear in my form. How the hell do I break it to them THAT I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING! NOT EVEN CLOSE! I’M ONE DOSE AWAY FROM CRAZY, for Christ Sake! 

Talk about feeling vulnerable! No wonder I was compelled to spend the day with Brene Brown. Her heartfelt Ted Talks and her books bring me comfort during these times. It helps to know the human condition can be statistically validated!

About the Author

Katherine Toll

Katherine (Kathi) Toll possesses more than 20 years of management and consulting experience within the retail and beauty industry. Her industry experience combined with her special brand of irreverence fuels her mission to find the ‘must-have’ beauty products for Career Girls of all ages. She aspires to remind women the airbrushed perfection of the beauty industry must be tempered with a healthy dose of humor. Kathi holds a general management certification from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, along with an undergraduate degree from Northwestern’s School of Communications.