Confident Vulnerability: The Gateway to Your (and Our) Greatness

What if we authentically embraced our humanity more? You mean, be more vulnerable? Yes. You mean admit I have weaknesses? Yes, admit them and embrace them. You mean accept not only my own shortcomings but those of others as well? Yes. You mean celebrate others’ strengths and inviting their contributions rather than fearing or being jealous of them? Yes.

Many of you may now be thinking, “Are you kidding me! Why would we do this? How do I do this?”

For some, perhaps, you should not. It involves risk and going outside of your comfort zone. You may prefer to remain in the safety of your comfort zone. If this is the case for you, I urge you to reconsider.

Why? Because your greatness exists outside your comfort zone. You cannot see it from your comfort zone. The gateway to your greatness is through your growth zone, where you are likely uncomfortable yet purposefully learning and expanding your self-awareness and your capabilities. Your growth zone requires you to step into confident vulnerability™* as DeAnna Murphy, CEO of People Acuity, a Strengths Strategy Company, teaches us. This is that place of acceptance, one where you know who you are, who you are not, and are okay with both. In this no-judgment zone, you bring all you have to contribute and invite others to do the same, creating the space for strategic interdependence™*. It is at interdependence, where I serve us so that we can serve others, where all human beings experience the highest energy and highest performance producing the best results. Your greatness, and our collective greatness, is revealed when operating from interdependence.

Your greatness is human and born out of service to others through a larger purpose. Your greatness challenges you. It invites you to boldly be you and step into the unimaginable wonder and brilliance of you, not from an ego perspective, but from a soulful one. Your greatness takes you into the unknown and asks you to believe in yourself and your ability to figure things out, especially when your human conditioning might take you to deficit-thinking. It encourages you to reach out for help from others who bring different strengths, perspectives, and contributions than you do.

Your greatness requires operating from non-judgment about self or others. It requires vulnerability and reframing any thoughts of weakness, being less than or “not good enough” to curiosity about what might be possible if you chose to invite others to bring their puzzle pieces in interdependence.

We are at a point in our global human community where more now than ever, we need each person to step into their greatness so we may collectively make the world a better place for all of us. Our humanity is our foundational common ground. We share the same basic human needs of belonging, love, being seen, being heard, and being valued for who we uniquely are. We may not share the same circumstances, history, perspectives, or strengths, but we do share the human capabilities of love, compassion, kindness, and acceptance. We can choose to be grateful and to operate from a spirit of abundance. We can choose to expand our awareness and perspective.

What if we were more intentionally human every day? How might that reveal our greatness?

Each of us has greatness within us. Yet, how often are we either looking outside of ourselves to find it or simply cannot see our own unique, human greatness? Your greatness is within you, yet is revealed when you live from interdependence and with confident vulnerability.

*The Strategic Interdependence model and confident vulnerability come from the work of Strengths Strategy, Inc


Brian Kelly
Brian Kelly
Brian Kelly is a visionary connector, community-builder and human development specialist who helps people and teams unleash their human greatness so they can create better together. Brian believes in each person’s unique human greatness and the power of harnessing this to amplify impact for teams, communities, and organizations. Brian is an ICF Accredited Coach whose three-decade career spans business, technology, finance, and human development. He is co-author of the book Becoming You to be released later this year. Brian’s encouraging energy and relational and strategic approach invite the inclusive business leaders and teams he works with to expand their perspective to strengthen their belief and their ability to create better together. Brian works with clients to understand the conditions that create greater contributions, fulfillment, and success and then works with them, using proven frameworks, to help them create those conditions through the lens of their strengths. The results are greater self-awareness, confidence, connection, teamwork, creativity and innovation producing better human and business results. Brian is the host of the We Can Do Better Conversations series, which invite inclusive conversations on topics relevant to bringing greater humanity to our workplaces, communities, families, and relationships. Brian serves on the Executive Board for Overcoming Odds where he helped the Executive Director with board development, strategic business planning and expanding the reach and impact of the nonprofit’s mission. Brian has also served on the Washington DC metro area chapter Board for several culturally-based National nonprofits focused on professional and leadership development.

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  1. Brian,
    I love this uplifting and power inspiring article. It is within us to see the greatness
    I just said the other day to make it your business to know what a human is.. this includes ourselves, I embrace this and fully get what it means to see myself as a miracle now… I actually say it… this power of revealing what I me …as a miracle ( after a whole lot of historic adversity behind me). I’m fully alert and tuned in .

    This here…

    “our greatness requires operating from non-judgment about self or others. It requires vulnerability and reframing any thoughts of weakness, being less than or “not good enough” to curiosity about what might be possible if you chose to invite others to bring their puzzle pieces in interdependence.”

    That release and vulnerability low me to accept me… opens my mind and allows me to do this for others on a massive scale. We all have a story and reasons for why we do what we do. Judgement corrupts the outcome and we all hope for better. The answer seems so simple really when you think of that. Prison is not meant for vulnerability…but those who are not honouring it.

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I really felt it’s power my friend!

    • Paula, thank you for commenting on this article and sharing how the ideas and messages resonated with you! I have found as I have connected more deeply with my humanness, I have come to better appreciate both my own and others’ greatness and to more expansively see possibilities for our creating better together. I believe in the power within each of us. Creating the conditions for people to open up as you speak to so well, is so important to manifesting fuller self-expression and unleashing individual and collective human greatness. I continue to be excited about the possibilities as we do!

  2. Terrific, Brian! In my coaching with the StrengthsFinder tool, I see embrace the idea of interdependence as a strategy for innovation and improved communication. This is my favorite part: “It invites you to boldly be you and step into the unimaginable wonder and brilliance of you, not from an ego perspective, but from a soulful one.” What is your brilliance worth if you’re not using it in service to others?

    • Thank you, Kimberly! When we connect with and live a purpose beyond ourselves, we create the conditions for unleashing human greatness personally and collectively!