development, leadership, Women



A few weeks ago, I was speaking with a Millennial about some team building training she was receiving.  She said, “part of the team building training was to share your core lie.”  “Core Lie, what do you mean,” I said. The moment spurred some research on my part, which led to the definition of Core Truths.  As stated in Psychology Today, Core Truths, Core Beliefs and Obstacles to Progress, Pt. 2, our Core Truths are repeating pattern of thought and behavior defined by our various assumptions and expectations, as well as our ideas about the way the world works, collected over time. (1)  In contrast, our Core Lies are Core Truths that we have found to be false.

Hmmm … What is my Core Lie?  After a few days of deliberating and digging into my beliefs, I came back to a Core Truth/Belief that has haunted me intermittently in the past ten years.  Most recently, I have found I needed to push my way through this Core Truth again.  My Core Truth, which I have found to be a Core Lie is: Vulnerability is a weakness.



In my typical pattern, I began to look for thoughts on vulnerability, and where best to go but the internet.  I know this is not always the best location to start, but it has become so convenient.

The top searches were cybersecurity, home security, and Brené Brown.  It probably is not a surprise that many of us shy away from vulnerability. The majority of us are electronically connected, and according to CVE Details (a list of common vulnerabilities and exposures for cybersecurity), the number of vulnerabilities has more than doubled since 2016, amounting to an increase of 120% from that year to the next. (2)  The cybersecurity industry is capitalizing on the opportunity with the expectation of the Threat Intelligence Market to have a CAGR of 14% from 2019 through 2025. (3)  Our home security is at risk, and we feel we need to keep 24/7 watch.  But when I arrived at Brené’s material, I found what I needed.



In the past years, I’ve seen my openness to be vulnerable vary.  As we get older, we seem to become less willing to take risks and be vulnerable.  In a simple moment, this slapped me in the face.  I was walking along a Minnesota highway with my children, who are now in their teens.  When we would see cars come over a hill, I would head off the pavement and into the rocks.  They wouldn’t hesitate to hug the white line.  What is wrong with them?  Then it dawned on me.  Are they more willing to take a risk, and do they trust others more?  Trust and vulnerability began to flip flop in my head.

Why is it that my willingness to trust and be vulnerable lessen in the last years?

Why do I feel this has affected my performance at work?

Why do I feel this has kept me from being as happy as possible?



In Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly, she quotes a 1910 Theodore Roosevelt Speech “Citizenship in a Republic.”

“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 enthusiasm, 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…”

When I read this, I felt a need to understand how my questions about vulnerability would align with this quote and what Brené’s research would tell me.  As I read her material, I found themes sneak out at me:

Connection – We hardwired to connect with others.
Mutual Trust – Vulnerability is about sharing with people who have earned the right to receive it.
Risk vs. Reward – The risk of Daring Greatly (being Vulnerable) is worth it.



Connection and mutual trust go together for me.  I know that I perform at a much higher level when I am connecting with a trusting team.  A trusting team supports me and allow me to be creative, to experiment, and to even fail.  Reflecting on these ideas, some actions that came to mind were:

  • Identify those whom a connection is worthy
  • Evaluate the need to change your circle of connections
  • Isolate those actions/projects/goals that you would pursue now that you have these connections to support you

Risk vs. Reward is something that has not often stopped me from reaching out.  I have usually been willing to take the risk because risks can produce large volumes of progress.  Although, the lack of connection in my recent past has centered around trust.  Trust has been broken in my work environment so many times that I just cut it off.  As Brené reminds us, trust is not automatic.  It is a build of instances, a feeling…

a word of support
a hit of encouragement
a moment of mutual laughter
a glimmer of hope
a flash of empathy
a smile

Trust may also need to be given to be returned. While considering these thoughts, some actions came to mind:

  • Journal instances of these indicators of trust every week
  • Journal “wins” from the week and identify your co-winners
  • Identify words of support and encouragement to be given out
  • Laugh more

Connection, Trust, and Risk will all play into improving your likeliness to allow yourself to be vulnerable.  My experience says that I have experienced my highest level of work performance and personal life happiness when I have been most vulnerable.  By beginning to dip my toe back into this world, I’m pushing to thrive again. But I know it is only a start.


Consider these thoughts on vulnerability.  I challenge you to identify your Core Lie and take action on it.  If inclined, please share. An interactive audience enables learning for us all.





(4) Brown, B. (2012). Daring Greatly. New York: Penguin Random House.

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