It takes a lot for a leader to be a great and inspirational one. One of the traits such leaders share is… vulnerability. However, when we come to think of what vulnerability really is it may be hard to actually put our finger on its components.

The researcher-storyteller Brene Brown has attempted to measure and define vulnerability, and her efforts have been appreciated by more than 9 million viewers so far.

Take a look:



  • sweet-talk – to use cajoling words on in order to persuade
  • bento box – a thin box, made of plastic or lacquered wood, divided into compartments which contain small separate dishes comprising a Japanese meal, esp. lunch
  • underpin – to prop up or support from below; strengthen, as by reinforcing a foundation
  • excruciating – extremely painful; causing intense suffering
  • vulnerable – capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon
  • outsmart – to get the better of (someone)
  • worthiness – having worth, value
  • slugfest – an intense conflict or combat
  • numb – unable to move; paralysed


Think about it

As you listem to the talk pause at the times indicated in brackets and answer the questions below.

  • Why was Brene worried about being called a storyteller? (pause @ 1:47)
  • What do you think it means to “lean into discomfort of your work?” (pause @ 2:43)
  • What analogy did Brene see between her results and evaluation from your boss? (pause @ 4:19)
  • What variable separated people who have strong sense of love and belonging and the people who struggle for it? (pause @ 7:52)
  • What qualities are characteristic of the whole-hearted have? Discuss them briefly. (pause @ 10:44)
  • Why did Brene experience a breakdown? (pause @ 11:49)
  • Did Brene initially accept the fact that vulnerability was a crucial component of life? (pause @ 14:16)
  • What does Brene say about human ability to numb feelings/emotions. (pause @ 16:46)
  • Why is perfecting children dangerous, according to Brene? (pause @ 18:59)
  • What does Brene say about “I am enough.” (lisen to the end)


Practice makes perfect

What word is missing in the pairs of sentences below? Can you explain the grammar rules?

  • At one point, people were sending me journal pages and sending me their stories — thousands of ______ (plural) of data in six years.
  • So I’m a researcher-storyteller, [. . .] and so I want to talk to you and tell some stories about a ______ (singular) of my research that fundamentally expanded my perception and really actually changed the way that I live and love and work and parent.


  • No one wants to talk about it, and the less you talk about it the ______ you have it.
  • The ______ afraid we are, the more vulnerable we are the more afraid we are.


Fill in the blank spaces with the correct form of the words in CAPS.

Courage, the original definition of courage, when it first came into the English language — it’s from the Latin word cor, meaning heart –- and the original ______ DEFINE was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. And so these folks had, very simply, the courage to be _______ PERFECT. They had the ______ COMPASSIONATE to be kind to themselves first and then to others, because, as it turns out, we can’t practice compassion with other people if we can’t treat ______ SELF kindly. And the last was they had ______ CONNECT, and — this was the hard part — as a result of ______ AUTHENTIC, they were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were, which you have to absolutely do that for connection.


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