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Courage and vulnerability—are these two character traits related? Is it possible to be courageous and vulnerable at the same time?
Brené Brown believes that one has to learn to be vulnerable before reaching the highest peak of courageousness and bravery. In her words, “You have to embrace the suck; courage over comfort.”
This post is a compilation of quotes from Brené Brown, one of the most admired and respected motivational public speakers of today’s generation. We have divided the quotes according to the most recent books she has written.
First, we will share with you the most remarkable quotes from her latest booked, “Dare to Lead.”
Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.
“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…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.”
“At the end of the day, at the end of the week, at the end of my life, I want to say I contributed more than I criticized.” – Brené Brown
“The only thing I know for sure after all of this research is that if you’re going to dare greatly, you’re going to get your ass kicked at some point. If you choose courage, you will absolutely know failure, disappointment, setback, even heartbreak. That’s why we call it courage. That’s why it’s so rare.”
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
“We fail the minute we let someone else define success for us.”
“To be the person who we long to be—we must again be vulnerable. We must take off the armor, put down the weapons, show up, and let ourselves be seen.”
“Daring leaders work to make sure people can be themselves and feel a sense of belonging.”
“In either case, if you come across an explanation of vulnerability that doesn’t include setting boundaries or being clear on intentions, proceed with caution. Vulnerability for vulnerability’s sake is not effective, useful, or smart.”
“We have to be able to take feedback—regardless of how it’s delivered—and apply it productively. We have to do this for a simple reason: Mastery requires feedback. I don’t care what we’re trying to master—and whether we’re trying to develop greatness or proficiency—it always requires feedback.”
Brown says that when we dare to lead, it is okay to ask questions—the right questions. Leaders must stay curious and vulnerable while they direct and lead their followers. They need to share their power with everyone so that authority and accountability may be properly aligned.
Leadership is just not about the title, the status, or the power. A leader should be bold, brave, and daring, but he must also be open, vulnerable, and sensitive in order to be able to lead wisely.
Next, let’s look at some quotes from the book “Braving the Wilderness.” Here, Brown talks about being courageous in the most daring way possible—by being alone.
Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone
“Being ourselves means sometimes having to find the courage to stand alone, totally alone.”
“You are only free when you realize you belong no place—you belong every place—no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.”
“Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.”
“You learn how to plant your damn feet is what you do. You bend and stretch and grow, but you commit to not moving from who you are.”
“A wild heart is not something you can always see—and yet it is our greatest spiritual possession.”
“Belonging so fully to yourself that you're willing to stand alone is a wilderness—an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. The wilderness can often feel unholy because we can't control it, or what people think about our choice of whether to venture into that vastness or not. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it's the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.”
“Every story matters…We are all worthy of telling our stories and having them heard. We all need to be seen and honored in the same way that we all need to breathe.”
“The mark of a wild heart is living out the paradox of love in our lives. It’s the ability to be tough and tender, excited and scared, brave and afraid—all in the same moment. It’s showing up in our vulnerability and our courage, being both fierce and kind.”
“But what we know now is that when we deny our emotion, it owns us. When we own our emotions, we can rebuild and find our way through the pain.”
“We can spend our entire life betraying ourselves and choosing to fit in over standing alone. But once we've stood up for ourselves and our beliefs, the bar is higher. A wild heart fights to fit in and grieves betrayal.”
Brown focuses on the definition of “true belonging” in this book. She explains that there will always be a point in one’s life when he will undergo a spiritual crisis, and feel disconnected and lost. When that time comes, one has to expose himself to every possible feeling that he may encounter in order to find where he truly belongs.
Simply put, Brown indicates that we all need that moment of peace and solitude so we can redefine our lives and get back to ourselves. You are your most valuable companion; no one can please you more than you.
Our third set of quotes is a compilation from Brown’s “Rising Strong.” Here, she enlightens her readers on what it really means to forgive and forget.
Rising Strong: The Reckoning, The Rumble, The Revolution
“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.”
“Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They're compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.”
“We don't have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to.”
“Just because someone isn’t willing or able to love us, it doesn’t mean that we are unlovable.”
“There are too many people today who instead of feeling hurt are acting out their hurt; instead of acknowledging pain, they’re inflicting pain on others. Rather than risking feeling disappointed, they’re choosing to live disappointed. Emotional stoicism is not badassery. Blustery posturing is not badassery. Swagger is not badassery. Perfection is about the furthest thing in the world from badassery.”
“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.”
“Of all the things trauma takes away from us, the worst is our willingness, or even our ability, to be vulnerable. There's a reclaiming that has to happen.”
“I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time. Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”
“Choosing to be curious is choosing to be vulnerable because it requires us to surrender to uncertainty.”
“People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses.”
To learn from your mistakes is what it takes to rise again after a heart-wrenching fall. The process is painful, difficult, and time-consuming, but the outcome will surely be worth it.
Brown teaches us that, through overcoming our failures and actually learning from them, we continuously create the best versions of ourselves. We are not perfect human beings—we are meant to make mistakes that will teach us how to be a lot stronger and tougher.
Next, we share with you quotes from her book “Daring Greatly.” This is the main book that talks about how being vulnerable is a sign of being strong.
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
“Only when we’re brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
“I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. With that definition in mind, let’s think about love. Waking up every day and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can’t ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moment’s notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow—that’s vulnerability.”
“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.”
“To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.”
“Those who feel lovable, who love, and who experience belonging simply believe they are worthy of love and belonging. I often say that Wholeheartedness is like the North Star: We never really arrive, but we certainly know if we're headed in the right direction.”
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
“Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands.”
“Living a connected life ultimately is about setting boundaries, spending less time and energy hustling and winning over people who don’t matter, and seeing the value of working on cultivating a connection with family and close friends.”
There is a common misconception about vulnerability—some people think that when you are vulnerable, you are weak. But vulnerability is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it is the path you need to take and embrace to experience a lifetime of courage.
Our next set of quotes are from Brown’s very notable book “The Gifts of Imperfection.” Here, she teaches her readers to stop trying to be the people they think they should be. Instead, people should start embracing who they really are.
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
“The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It's our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.”
“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
“Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.”
“To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But, I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude, and grace.”
“Here's what is truly at the heart of wholeheartedness: Worthy now, not if, not when, we're worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is.”
“We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”
“When I let go of trying to be everything to everyone, I had much more time, attention, love, and connection for the important people in my life.”
Brown believes that perfectionism is a curse. When you strive to be perfect, you will always feel inadequate, and you will never be content. As a result, you will never be happy with what you have because you will always seek more.
So instead of striving for perfection, learn how to appreciate the gifts of imperfection. When you inevitably fail—as we all do from time to time—it’s okay. That failure is just a step on the way to sweet success.
Our last set of quotes are random, short Brené Brown quotes from her delivered speeches, TED talks, and interviews. As you will notice, they talk about vulnerability, courage, belongingness, compassion, and imperfections—what you actually need to become a better, happier human.
Short Brené Brown Quotes
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.”
“Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we're all in this together.”
“Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart.”
“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.”
“Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have the courage to be imperfect.”
“Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.”
“The willingness to show up changes us, It makes us a little braver each time.”
As we discussed earlier, vulnerability is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it is an essential element of life that we need to go through to reach our maximum potential.
We have to embrace our vulnerable side so we can learn how to be fearless enough to face life and all its challenges.
Did any of the quotes above resonate with you? We’d love to hear which one! Feel free to share it in the comments section below.
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Don’t be afraid to expose yourself to the challenges. Be vulnerable, and open yourself to the endless possibilities life brings!
Finally, if you want to use these quotes to make a lasting change to your life, then check out and recite these 57 affirmations for success.