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To be vulnerable is to live from the inside out.

This evening a small group of friends and I joined 100+ adoring fans, including Jennifer Beals, to soak up the inspired and empowered words of author Brené Brown. If you’re not familiar with Brené’s work, particularly her research studies in shame and vulnerability, her two TED videos have ranked over her 6 million views. Tonight’s event was in support of her latest book Daring Greatly.

Brené shared stories filled with laughter, sorrow and deep emotional truths as she uncovered the often unspoken meaning of vulnerability. And by the end of the 90 minute presentation she had everyone on their feet in full rousing applause. Below are just of few of my personal observations, lasting impressions and the single most powerful quote from Brené.

Vulnerability is…

…a willingness to let go

…a willingness to be seen

…living inside out

…wearing our heart on our sleeves

…taking the lead

…opening doors which incite criticism

…taking our inner voice to the stage (or arena)

…moving into the unknown

…a test, challenge of strength or will

…an articulation of feeling

…in the asking

…the spoken language and action of courage

…the birthplace of creativity

…necessary for transformation and change

…the beginning of a transformation

…“The single most accurate measurement of courage.”

At the end of the evening Brené graciously signed books for all attendees who patiently waited and as my moment approached the table I decided to step into my own vulnerability. I asked if I could reach out to her personally for insight into the work I am creating on the Visual Language of Emotion. Her reply, a beautiful “yes.” Actually, she said much more than “yes,” she said that I “was Daring Greatly into was sounded like a great topic.”

So today I celebrate vulnerability…of stepping out of my usual wallflower, sit in the back of the room, contemplative self and creating a willingness to be heard.