What’s stopping you from learning something new?

I have asked that question many times. The answers I often get is a lack of time or money. Sometimes both. Unfortunately, we don’t always have the resources to pursue our interests.

What is often not said are things like I don’t think I can, I am afraid to try, I don’t want to look stupid or I don’t belong there.

My A-Ha Moment

As I watched Brene Brown’s Netflix special a few weeks ago I connected vulnerability with learning. Call it my Oprah moment but this is what my brain screamed at me:

We have to be vulnerable to learn.

Yet, most of us don’t want to be vulnerable.  We don’t want to be judged, ridiculed, or labelled a failure. It’s difficult to ask for help or admit we might not know something. being vulnerable can be a scary place. We would rather sacrifice a precious learning opportunity than to lean into vulnerability.

Have you ever been in a classroom where you didn’t feel like you belonged? I have. Scared shitless, I went back to school after being a stay-at-home mom for many years. Once there I tried to convince myself that I had made a terrible decision. I was ashamed of my lack of experience and believed that I wasn’t smart enough to be there. It would have been easy to quit but I hung in there.

Embrace Vulnerability

I didn’t know it at the time but I began to embrace my vulnerability. I started to believe that I deserved to be there and could confidently show up. I realized that I didn’t have to have all the answers – that is why I was there. With that vulnerability came the opening to learn because I took the risk to be me. It turned out to be the best experience of my life.

“Vulnerability is at the core, the centre, of meaningful human experiences” ~Brene Brown

Instead of letting our vulnerability keep us from learning, we need to shift our thinking. Learning is courageously showing up and being ourselves. It is bravely being present despite any outcome. It is about allowing ourselves the freedom to explore new ideas and not be afraid to fail.

That is what true learning is.

Vulnerability at its best.