“The Call to Courage”: Brene Brown

The Call to Courage, Brené Brown‘s new Netflix special, may be more for the uninitiated than those of us who’ve already been reading her books or watching her TED talks. On the other hand, if you are a big fan, why not keep up and keep on by also watching what John Serba, Decider, is calling “a Quadruple-Sized TED Talk Crossed With Standup Comedy“?

What Brown offers about her pre-Netflix background, as relayed by Serba:

 …(S)he’s a smart, grounded self-described introvert, albeit one who found herself unexpectedly shoved in a bright spotlight. She tells the story of her rise to fame, explaining how she didn’t want to give a dry TED Talk, and instead dared to shed her ‘academic armor’ for something more personable. That took two things. What were they again? Oh, right: courage and vulnerability! Her talk went viral. Then she read the nasty online comment section, and retreated inward. Her antidote? ‘Peanut butter and ‘Downton Abbey’,’ she deadpans, to big laughs.

Then Brown gets down to it, notes Alice Field, ReadySteadyCut, offering her now-well-known-to-some take on vulnerability: “(V)ulnerability is not weakness, but the most accurate way we have of measuring courage. Brown’s life provides a series of case studies with lessons learned, but she doesn’t put herself on any pedestal: she’s no show-off about how she’s applied everything she’s learned.”

On the downside, adds Field:

If there is a flaw to this special (and there is), it’s that the case studies, and indeed dialogue with the audience, are very white, middle-class heteronormative: the psychology and lessons may be pretty current, but it doesn’t feel like she relates them to a broad contemporary world. She talks about the current ‘social and political **** storm’, and explains how business people need vulnerability in order to innovate, be creative and hold difficult conversations, but it’s apparent that she sees these issues from a very specific, narrow viewpoint. For example, she assumes everyone she’s talking to works in an office, seemingly forgetting that people with any lifestyle might watch on Netflix.

Other key takeaways from The Call to Courage are provided by Michelle Darrisaw, OprahMag.com. First, in order to “find the same sense of love, joy, and belonging that Brown learned comes from putting yourself out there,” there are three questions to ask yourself.

  1. Am I willing to open myself up for love?
  2. Do I really belong, or am I just fitting in? “…Belonging is belonging to yourself first. Speaking your truth, telling your story, and never betraying yourself for other people. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are. It requires you to be who you are, and that’s vulnerable.”
  3. Deep down, am I scared of being happy?

Second, “six misconceptions she often hears from subjects about vulnerability”:

  1. Vulnerability is weakness. 
  2. I don’t do vulnerability. “You only have two options—you do vulnerability knowingly, or vulnerability does you,” Brown says…
  3. I can go it alone.
  4. You can engineer the uncertainty and discomfort out of vulnerability.
  5. Trust comes before vulnerability.
  6. Vulnerability is disclosure. “…There’s no vulnerability without boundaries.”

You can view the trailer below:

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