“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.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
In 2010, after research professor and author Brené Brown read the comments on social media about her Ted talk on vulnerability (now at 36,237,007 views) she felt it wasn’t worth the pain to put herself out there. But when she read Roosevelt’s quote (above) she decided to stay in the arena.
In her book, Daring Greatly; How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Brené wrote, “Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”
Sometimes I feel like I’m waiting to be bulletproof before I release my memoir into the world. Other times I feel like it’s an old story I need to let go of. But most of the time I don’t want to have to justify my life to anyone, especially the trolls or haters on social media. But I’ve never given in to fear and I’ve come out of my sabbitacal year ready to transform the way I live. I’m imperfect, vulnerable, and sometimes afraid, but I’ve taken off my bulletproof vest and stepped back into the arena with all the other brave creative souls who put themselves out there everyday.