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Practicing Vulnerability: Are We Wholehearted?
April 4, 2012 - 8:37pm


In June of 2010, Brené Brown gave an amazing TED talk on vulnerability. When I first watched her talk, I realized that she had articulated the way that I try to live my life -- professionally and personally. Brown emphasized the concept of "wholeheartedness" and how it relates to vulnerability. Themes of love, belonging, connectedness, compassion and courage resonated immensely during my initial viewing. Since that time, I've watched this video several times. It gets me thinking in ways that force me to look within for insight. How does vulnerability impact the work that we do? It's present in so many ways.

For me, vulnerability is a necessity. Being comfortable with not knowing everything about technology requires a commitment to being okay with uncertainty. People often engage in shaming and judging when working with those who aren't as competent with technology. I've always been the one in various cohorts of my life who was the "techie." If there's one thing that I know about technology, it's that I don't know that much. Existing in a constant state of vulnerability and unknowns is my normal. What would happen if we were more accepting of non-techies who were trying to be vulnerable with us techie folk? I think we would all be building, creating, and innovating in ways that we can't even currently imagine. We silence people when we don't cherish their vulnerability. Technology is all too often the centerpiece of communication breakdowns. Dissonance, as a learning strategy, only works when people are not shamed or judged. I agree with Brown when she says that it takes courage to be imperfect. Learning new technologies often requires a sense of bravery that starts with being okay with messing up.

The concept of wholeheartedness seems so important to me for professionals and professionalism. Are we willing to connect our heartstrings to our cerebral processes? Feelings and relationships are at the core of teaching/learning technology. Vulnerability is like a secret benefit that we all know about but choose to ignore. What would happen if we brought vulnerability to the table when we're "talking tech?" Perhaps we would actually get closer to actualizing the ideals of "high tech, high touch."

How are you practicing vulnerability?


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