Bravery and Vulnerability

Bravery and Vulnerability May 27, 2021

Photo by Archie Binamira from Pexels

In my new book, Being: A Journey Toward Presence and Authenticity, the book closes with a summary of two of the most important words to succeeding at anything.  They are bravery and vulnerability.  They absolutely go together, and you can’t do one without the other.  You cannot be brave without being vulnerable and being vulnerable requires you to be brave.

In the epilogue, I talked about a time when I was trying to overcome my fear of speaking in public.

“I was trying to give an extemporaneous speech in front of a few colleagues.  Just a minute, not a big deal!  After 10-15 seconds, my mind was swimming, my face was flushed, and I felt like I was going to pass out.   Bravery made me vulnerable.  Courage meant the most likely next thing I was going to feel is like I am exposed—and I was!  Most of the stories I told myself were untrue—I was not going to die, they were not laughing at me, I did not sound stupid.  My brain was just off on a rampage, somehow trying to protect me from a danger that was not there.”  ~Being, Karl Forehand p.159

I don’t know all the technical reason why our brain and body react the way they do to being brave.  I just know that any time we are brave and courageous, it makes us feel vulnerable.  Most times we are not in any real danger, but almost every time we will feel like we are.  No one has probably every died from giving a speech, but the first 50 – 100 times I did it, I felt like I surely would.

During my launch party the other night, I stammered and struggled during my initial monologue, but during my closing thoughts. I sounded more like a pro.  It still makes me feel a bit vulnerable to be brave and courageous.  And, in some ways, I hope it always does.

Of course, it helps to have supporters cheering us on, but sometimes no one shows up.  At my last book release, one person showed up on zoom.  It was more like an awkward conversation than a celebration.  But I believe in that book as much I do this one and courage is often related to standing alone.

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”  ~Brene’ Brown[1]

I promised myself I would tell the truth when I wrote this book.  I spoke honestly at the beginning of the book when I talked about my struggles and I told at the end when I summarized what was necessary to overcome my deficiencies.  I had to be brave and by association I also had to be vulnerable.

At the book launch online, most of the speakers talked about the content, but most of them praised me for being authentic and mostly for being vulnerable.  I take both of those things as highest praise and will treasure them forever.

My hope is that you will experience my new book and find the courage to be vulnerable in your own way and on your own journey.  If it accomplishes that, then I will consider myself to have succeeded.  Then, most likely, you will hold someone else’s hand as they take the next courageous step…and so on and so on.

If you like to watch the book launch, find in here.

Find the book online and please review it online and share with others.

But while you are waiting don’t pray for your road to be easy.  Most journeys that are worth taking are where there are not any well-worn paths.  The journeys that are truly adventurous cause you to tremble just a bit and require a guide that knows the way or can at least point you in the right direction.

Take the next step, not when you have peace, but so that you might discover it on the journey.

Be where you are, Be who you are,

Karl Forehand

Order Being: A Journey Toward Presence and Authentic

Karl Forehand is a former pastor, podcaster, and award-winning author. His books include Apparent Faith: What Fatherhood Taught Me About the Father’s Heart and The Tea Shop. He is the creator of The Desert Sanctuary podcast. He is married to his wife Laura of 32 years and has one dog named Winston. His three children are grown and are beginning to multiply!

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