Butterfly bush July 2013

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
— Excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic” by President Theodore Roosevelt from 1910

Dr. Brene Brown quoted the above passage, often times referred to as “The Man in the Arena” on Oprah’s Lifeclass when reflecting on after her Ted Talk on vulnerability went viral and wasn’t so sure how to react to the popularity nor the negative comments. She continued:

  1. That’s who I want to be. If you want to be brave and show up in your life, you’re going to fail, you’re going to stumble, you’re going to fall – it’s part of showing up.
  2. If you’re not in the arena getting your butt kicked, i’m not interested in your feedback. There are a lot of cheap seats in this community/world where you can sit back and never risk anything and just throw criticism at people who are trying.
  3. Vulnerability is about having the courage to show up and be seen.

You can easily feel alone when you are pulling a full load of insane drive all the time. Sometimes there’s stumbling and success goes up and down, sometimes you doubt and sometimes a tiny comment from someone can beat you down – or the lack of support or praise from yourself or family and friends.  Then you need stuff like this. This is like candy for the soul for a small-business owner like me, and maybe for you too? Maybe this relates as much to Mothers as it does to people following their passion?

This ignites that spark again, it’s that kick-in-the-butt to get you out of a rut, and realize you are (JUST) being vulnerable and the there’s that validation that it will go up and down, and that while I never receive any negative comments, my mind can definitely take that place at times and you can just tell that aspect of self “if you’re not in the arena getting your butt kicked, i’m not interested in your feedback”….

Vulnerability is Courage. And Courage is Vulnerability.  And it is possible to be Afraid and Courageous at the exact same time. While it’s not always easy, I pick it every day of the week over being “with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” I put myself out there, no matter where my confidence level is on that particular day, whether I have recently failed at something or my hopes for something came crashing down. I chose to show up. I chose to be brave, and in all the growing pains and the ups and downs, it’s oh so worth it being who you want to be, and daring greatly.