I must start by pointing out that although the title suggests past tense, I am still very much learning from these lessons. And finding the courage to be vulnerable is one lesson that I frequently revisit. For instance, just writing this post I ummed and ahhed “is it the right kind of content to be sharing? Is this what people expect of sport psychology? Will I be perceived as soft?”. But without taking these chances and putting ourselves out there we will never know what could be.
In sport we are often told to be tough, to be strong and to be brave. And for many of us we assume, or have been told that means hiding our emotions. Vulnerability is about owning and leaning into out emotions. And to do that we definitely have to be tough and strong and brave. Because my gosh it’s terrifying being vulnerable. Whether it’s putting yourself out there applying for jobs, speaking up against something you don’t agree with or just being deeply honest about how you feel.
When we see acts of vulnerability in sport we are shocked. Because suddenly we are reminded that professional athletes are human. They make mistakes and have feelings too.
As lovers of sport we owe it to ourselves and to those around us to find the courage to be vulnerable and to be accepting and supportive of others when they have the courage to do the same. Only when we are willing to be vulnerable and let down our guard can we truly experience greatness.
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing. It’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.” - Brene Brown