Researcher, Storyteller and TED star

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We've been recording every SXSW keynote for 6 years--nearly 350 talks. Brené Brown's was the best keynote we have EVER heard.

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Keynote Speaker Brené Brown is one of the most sought-after speakers in America.  Her TED talks on Shame and Vulnerability have been watched by millions and her research on raw human emotions like Trust, Shame and Scarcity have benefited all who have been lucky enough to hear her speak. In fact, her TED talk – The Power of Vulnerability – has over 30 Million views and is one of the top five most viewed TED talks ever.

Dr. Brown considers herself a researcher/storyteller and she starts each one of her compelling keynote speeches with a personal story.  Her work is based on human connection.  That work on connection led her to spend ten years studying shame – otherwise known as the fear of dis-connection. She wrote a book on it, but didn’t quite feel she’d really understood it.  As a result, she decided to look closer at her own personal psychology and went off to see a therapist (a specialist who counsels therapists like herself).

She since learned that the people who have a strong sense of worthiness, of love and  belonging are only separated from those who don’t by one idea – those that have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they’re worthy of it.  And, if we’re not connected, she feels it’s due to our own lack of worthiness.

Career wise, Brené Brown is a researcher and the fundamentals of researching are to control and to predict, but her research has taught her that the way to live a life filled with joy is with vulnerability which, it turns out, is the very opposite of controlling and predicting. She explains that to live with vulnerability is to be open to any possibility. Thus, her research eventually taught her the fundamental error at the very heart of her career and she made a decision to become more vulnerable and to try to stop being so controlling and predictive.

What are some of the characteristics of those willing to be vulnerable?  From years of interviews and her own ability to connect the dots, she learned that sharing one’s vulnerability is the greatest form of courage. The courage to be imperfect and the willingness to honor one’s own authenticity. In real life, vulnerability means things like the willingness to say ‘I love you’ first or investing in something with no guarantees - like a relationship that may or may not work out.

In Brené Brown’s remarkable keynote speech, she demonstrates that she practices what she preaches, as she’s totally willing to be allow herself to be vulnerable with her audiences. While she refers to vulnerability as the birthplace of joy, belonging and love - she’s certainly not above any of us, but more, is one of us. As such, she shares her own struggles to come to terms with the very things she’s sharing and teaching audiences.

And that message is a universal one: To let ourselves be deeply seen and to love with our whole hearts even when it hurts. To practice love and joy and to be grateful and lastly, to believe that we’re enough. That simple idea of knowing we’re enough helps us to start listening better and to be kinder to others and to ourselves.

Speech Topics:

The Anatomy of Trust, The Power of Vulnerability

 

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