I have been slightly obsessed with Brené Brown for some time.

Don’t be concerned if you haven’t heard of her before, she isn’t quite a household name yet but this may be about to change thanks to Netflix.

Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston and has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy. She is the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers including her most recent book Dare to Lead. Brown gave a TED Talk in 2010 on The Power of Vulnerability when she was relatively unknown outside the world of academia, and it is now the most watched TED Talk with more than 40 million views.

What I like about Brown is that most of what she says is evidence-based given her academic background. She also uses humour, relatable personal stories and layman’s terms to convey often complex messages, always complimented by her enchanting Texan drawl.

The good news is that Brown has recently released a one hour special on Netflix, The Call to Courage, which is a great alternative to her books and is now streaming in 190 countries and 29 languages. If you are put off at the thought of watching a documentary for an hour then think of this feature as a mix between stand-up comedy and a super-sized Ted Talk. And it is a must watch!

During the special, Brown dispels the misconception that courage and vulnerability are mutually exclusive – “you can’t be brave without vulnerability”. She shares insights from her research and studies, and provides stories from her own life with strong comic timing to demonstrate that you have to walk through vulnerability to get to courage – yes even experts feel vulnerable. Brown reassures us that despite it seeming hard or scary, we should choose courage over comfort as it is more than worth it in the end.

Vulnerability is having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome

Brene Brown

To me, the most important message is that vulnerability should not be seen as a weakness but the most accurate way we have of measuring courage. I think this should be important to leaders, who often believe that the skills that make up courage are ‘soft’ when they are anything but. These days, there still seems to be a cultural preference for invulnerability within our leaders. Yet this can lead to mistrust and disengagement within organisations. Regardless of whether you are a leader or not, it is time we move on from these outdated traits and start showing up as our authentic selves in all contexts.

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.

Teddy Roosevelt, 1910

But rather than me giving all Brown’s messages away, have a watch yourself and please let me know how you found it.

And if you are or become (or are) a little obsessed with Brown, she is coming to Melbourne and Sydney to speak soon and you can access tickets here.