Let’s Get Ready to Rumble! (Embrace the Suck)

Lorrie kicked off our series on Daring Leadership with her post Braving Trust and Vulnerability. Last week, Jillian discussed How to Be Perfect (Or Not) and the effect it has on Armored vs. Daring Leadership.

This week I have the pleasure of presenting the topic of rumbling with vulnerability. I am going to need you to take a pause, a deep breath and embrace the suck. Wait, did she just say embrace the suck? Why yes, she did. How else can you describe the feeling of being naked in a room full of people while you bare your soul? In my professional as well as personal life, I have had first-hand experience in this department. I have always walked away from the experience as a better human, but at the time it can feel like anything but “better”. Unfortunately, we don’t grow in our comfort zones, so embrace the suck we must. 

In Brené Brown’s book Dare to Lead she says that you can’t get to courage without rumbling with vulnerability.

At the heart of daring is a deeply human truth that is rarely acknowledged: Courage and fear are not mutually exclusive. Most of us feel brave and afraid at the exact same time. We feel vulnerable. Sometimes all day long. During those moments, when we’re pulled between our fear and our call to courage, we need shared language, skills, tools, and daily practices that can support us through the rumble.

To rumble with vulnerability, I will share part of my story (even as my mind gives me a million reasons not to). I am a woman who has entered the world of Human Resources at 39 years old, 17 years after graduating from college. I am 8 years into recovery and I took the road less traveled for many years. There are days when I show up for work and feel like a kindergartner, but nonetheless, I feel the fear and continue to take the action. 

I am fortunate in the fact that I work with a team of women who know my story and have practiced acceptance and non-judgement from the very beginning. As an organization we show up and share the good, bad and ugly. We get in the ring, and we rumble. Since we don’t operate as a traditional 9-5, there are days when I shoot a text and say “for the sake of being vulnerable, I am having a hard time with _______.”

Mary Ila leads us in a way that allows to grow together and to get curious about what could be the “why” underneath our behavior. We are encouraged to lean into our weaknesses and get honest about our struggles. This allows us to feel psychologically safe with one another and to know there is no doubt that we will be supported. Our team has monthly meetings and one on ones where we are led to share honestly about what fits and what doesn’t work for us and how we can grow as a team and invididually.

Is your workplace a safe space that you can be vulnerable and if not, how can your organization embrace the suck and start to rumble? Need some help starting off? Take a look at this Rumble Language from Brené Brown.


Emily Collins