Monday, June 3, 2013

Are You Brave Enough to Fail?


  “They fully embraced vulnerability. They believed
that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful.
They didn’t talk about vulnerability being comfortable,
nor did they really talk about it being excruciating.
They just talked about it being necessary.”

~Brené Brown, from her Ted Talk,
The Power of Vulnerability

(watch it HERE)


(Virginia Woolf at Monks House, her home in Sussex, England, undated. Via.)


Vulnerability is the key to everything.

It's being willing to let go of who you think you should be and be who you are.

It's putting yourself out there.
Despite the odds.
Despite the discomfort.
And despite the voice in your head.

It's doing what scares you not because the process is necessarily enjoyable  (It's hard. I'm tired. I don't know how. They'll say no.) but because you don't want to leave this earth not having tried.

It's being brave enough to fail.

On Saturday I went to a memorial service for a neighbor. He was 91 years young and had a great life. One by one, his oldest and dearest friends stood up and gave the most beautiful, heartfelt and erudite speeches. I sat in the back and felt this growing nagging feeling that I should go up there and say something too. Because he was the coolest guy. He knew everything. He'd been everywhere. The week before he died, he was studying German verbs and advanced physics for fun. 

But I hadn't prepared anything. And speaking in public makes me nervous. Because who I want to be isn't necessarily who I am.

Writing from your sweet spot is one thing. You can edit. You can delete. You can go over every word with a fine-tooth comb. Speaking from your sweet spot is entirely another.

So I sat there. 
And sat there.
And my heart was pounding.

And then finally when it was asked if anyone else wanted to speak, I raised my hand few inches and somebody saw it. So I went up to the podium.

And I was super nervous but I took a deep breath and plunged ahead. And I stumbled over my words a few times but thought of how much I admired Oliver and kept going. And I told a couple of stories about how funny and brilliant he was and how proud he was of his three children and how much I was going to miss just sitting in his kitchen listening to him. 

I think I got my point across. I hope so.

And then last night I discovered Brené Brown's TED talk. (If you have time, watch it. It's really that good.)

My admiration for my friend Oliver gave me the courage to be vulnerable.

What about you?
Is there anything you're brave enough to fail at? 
If you're lucky, there is.

x/Lisa

47 comments:

Coulda shoulda woulda said...

So glad you went up there and said something. If you hadn't I think you might have regretted that for a long time coming...Living in a city and always having lived in huge cities, I tended to be "cool" and reserved in an urban way but now I make sure I try and say a nice thing or a little comment because those things can mean so much to someone. It doesn't always go planned as intended. Sometimes people think I want something from them( I don't!) and am a little out there but when it works it's great.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Coulda Shoulda Woulda:

Thank you so much. :) xx

Frances said...

Someone who is a good listener can be attentive to more than just the speaker's words. Whenever I've taken that leap to express myself in public, I do look out to try to meet the eye of someone I think truly is listening.

That has usually helped me to be more brave. It's as if speaker and listener give each other gifts that meet in the middle.

Your friend Oliver must surely have been a very fine friend. Best wishes to you and to him.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, good for you, Lisa. I have no doubt Oliver was there, listening and appreciating.
Having just returned from Monk's House myself, that photograph of Virginia, which I've never seen, thrills me no end. You simply must go there if you haven't. Truly a lifetime favourite experience.
xo

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Frances:
That's a wonderful tip that I never would have thought of -- I will try that next time. xx

Pamela Terry and Edward:
Oh! Was it really that wonderful?! I'm so happy you went there -- it's on my list of places to go. The World of Interiors spread on it has permanent residence in a special corner of my brain. xx

Thérèse said...

Wonderful link!

Nataša Dolenc said...

I saw that Ted talk recently, and loved it. It's so true.. I'm glad you went up there and said something. You would have regretted if you didn't... and it's so.. when even I'm in such a situation, if I feel my heart racing and my head foggy, I know I have to do that, go through whatever is making me uncomfortable, because it matters.. that this matters to me and I should do it. and be comfortable enough in my skin to show vulnerability.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Natasa Dolenc:

Yes to everything you said. And knowing I'm not alone in feeling this way gives me even more courage for next time. Thanks so much for your comment! xx

Chinwags and Tittle-Tattles said...

Dear Lisa,

It's been awhile since I've listened to a motivational speaker, so thanks for sharing this.

Is there anything I'm brave enough to fail at? In fact, I'm brave enough to be recovering from some of them--a failed marriage and rejections from career paths I thought I really wanted. But I find that every time I allow myself to be vulnerable, I bounce back stronger and wiser.

Hats off to you for speaking about Oliver. Though I have some sort of talent in public speaking or at least facing an audience (I used to be a professional singer so it came with the job), giving a eulogy would tear me into pieces--which will show vulnerable I can be. So well done to you!

Ms Brown says we are imperfect and wired for struggle. We are very lucky then if we go through life braving through our struggles.

Have a good evening x

MsMadge

Tara Dillard said...

"The birds may land in my neighbor's gardens but they are still my birds." Tara Dillard

At my neighbor's memorial service someone got up and spoke about the birds in her garden.

Almost got whiplash looking at my friend in the pew.

Managed to keep my mouth shut.

Still live across from her house & my birds still go visit her garden.

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

noreen said...

Good for you! After all, what you had to say was not about YOU, it was about Oliver. Folks needed to hear your stories.

This topic is one I'm thinking about - not vulnerability, but the beauty of people - and old people can be just stunning. Thank you for sharing Oliver with us. I also went to a visitation this week. People are precious.

Now I'll think about being vulnerable, and check out that Ted talk. Thanks!

jakubowski said...

wow, that post arrived at a moment of doubt, brought me back around: Thanks...

:)

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Chinwags and Tittle-Tattle:
I envy your your ability to speak effortlessly in public. And I applaud you for your feistiness in life. Onward and upward! xx

Tara Dillard:
WOW. xx

Noreen:
I so agree with you about old people. If I'm lucky enough to be one some day, I hope to radiate a little of the grace that my friend Oliver did. xx

jakubowski:
I would never have thought someone as brilliant as you would EVER have a moment of doubt. Rock on, dude.

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Emily said...

Wish we were all lucky enough to have an Oliver in our lives. I'm sure you don't regret getting up!

I was recently sent a link to a Brene Brown interview on Oprah's SuperSoul Sundays. I watched it first, then the TED talk. Do yourself a big favor, and go watch it too!

Lisa Thomson said...

Being vulnerable is one of the hardest things to do and it sounds like you did it with panache. Oliver would be oh so proud of you, too. I make myself vulnerable in my writing but like you say, I can always edit and delete. My writing has gotten me in hot water and I guess that's evidence 'putting it out there'. But I have never had to deliver a eulogy and I'm not sure I could. It would have to come from a deep love.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Emily:
I will do just that -- thanks for the heads up! xx

Lisa Thomson:
Isn't it nice to be able to edit and delete?! I appreciate it so much more now! :) xx

www.mysoulfulhome.com said...

I bet Oliver enjoyed 'listening' to you.
Glad you stepped up.
Will listen to the talk..looking forward to it.
Thanks,
Kelly

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Kelly:
Apparently, I'm the last of my friends to discover Brene Brown. Check out her books -- I want to read them all now! xx

A Well Styled Life said...

I'm so glad you were able to speak up for, and about, your friend Oliver. I've seen this talk before and was grateful for the reminder. It motivated me to visit her website and purchase her newest book! Very timely for me. Thank you.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

A Well Styled Life:
I've just ordered mine too. :) xx

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helen tilston said...

Hello Lisa

Brava, well done. You stepped up to the plate/podium. Oliver sounded like a rare and beautiful character and how wonderful your paths crossed.
Like you, I have gone up and spoken at funerals and blushed and forgot to breathe but somehow managed to say a kind word and ran back to my pew. Who said "the forest would be boring if only the best song birds sang"

Helen xx

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

helen tilston:
I absolutely LOVE that quote. Thoreau? xx

home before dark said...

When I started being a fundraiser, I had a courtly man who was quite legendary in our community tell me that when I walked in to make a proposal (never a request) that I simply push my ego aside and let my cause walk in. Being propelled to listen to one's heart and not one's fears is that terrifying free fall that often defines us. Oliver sounds like he was totally worth the anxiety.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

home before dark:
Your courtly gentleman sounds quite incredible as well. xx

onlinephduk said...

Speaking in public, at least for me, was extremely difficult at first. I spoke at my grandfather’s funeral when I was younger. It was hard, I stumbled and stuttered a lot but I did it. I am now much more comfortable than most people with public speaking, all because I failed and grew.

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Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

onlinephduk:
I LOVE hearing that! xx

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Anne Hucker said...

Wonderful post. Many people have recommended this TED talk to me, but I finally took the time to do so today. Finally at a point in my life where I've started surrendering to vulnerability. All the best.

pve design said...

I took a public speaking class when I was in college and one thing the prof. reiterated over and over, speaking is a gift. You are the giver.

Being equipped with good solid gifts, the ability to look another in the eyes, to greet another with a firm handshake, to show kindness is far braver than standing behind some curtain like the Great OZ -

Good for you for speaking, for paying homage to a life
well lived. I often wonder who will do that for me, who will stand up and speak. I'd like to think I already know who the brave ones are hiding behind thick skin.
pve

teamgloria said...

love the video.

love Virginia.

love your blog.

*wavingfromwesthollywood*

with a #britishAccent

_teamgloria x

dervla kelly said...

ooh good for you. What a nice way to remember a friend. i love that tip in the comments about meeting a listeners eye. I do try to find a friend who can help me out with a kind nod or smile. I'm not sure what i'm brave enough to fail at, running perhaps? I get up and keep trying because once in a while you have that perfect run, and all those other awful runs fade away on that one glorious morning when your legs and lungs work in unison.

vicki archer said...

Well done you LIsa... and how wonderful that your feelings for Oliver and what you wanted to share trumped your nerves..
Thank you for the Ted recommendation... off for a listen... I do enjoy those...
Happy weekend... xv

katy gilmore said...

That wonderful photo of VW near a discussion of vulnerability seemed perfect! And to add one more thought about a visit to Monk's House -- can be so easily combined with a visit to Charleston!

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Maryl said...

I just love TED Talks. Haven't heard an uninspiring one yet. Oliver sounds like someone to be missed who must have practiced vulnerability. Thanks.

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