I recently came across a talk that Brené Brown did for a 99U conference in 2013 about vulnerability and how to deal with your critics.
Theodore Roosevelt gave in Paris, France on April 23, 1910, often referred to as “The Man in the Arena” speech, which is the basis for this particular talk as well as Brené’s book Daring Greatly.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Art is: Bravery. Courage. Vulnerability. Love. Art is about all of those things and it’s also about showing up and being seen. But when we’re creating we get scared because we know the moment we put ourselves out there, we’re going to see and hear things that make us question why we made the art in the first place. We don’t want to be seen if we have to deal with the critics.
Do it anyway, make art anyway. “Tell them [critics], I see you, I hear you, but I’m going to do this anyway.” Because vulnerability is also the birthplace of all the things we crave, love, belonging, joy, trust, empathy, creativity, innovation.
“When you armor up [against vulnerability] you shut yourself off from everything that you do and love.”
Brené encourages her audience to shed their armor so that you can create what it is that you are meant to create and reach the audience that you are looking to reach.
“Without vulnerability you cannot create.”
This is why I admire her message so much, when we get down to the vulnerability in art (writing) that’s when we really reach other people. And all that means is that YOU write what YOU want to write, even if it makes you vulnerable to critics, to readers, to anyone, even yourself. When you are authentic and vulnerable and real…that’s when you reach the people you need to reach, that’s when you will be heard.
Make your art, fail at your art and remember, it’s not the critic who counts. It’s you, because even when you fail you do it while daring greatly.
❤ ❤ ❤