Vulnerability Assignment

As you will note in the talk that you will watch, vulnerability (your ability to be fully seen) allows for and supports connection while shame (a sense of unworthiness and lack of belonging) unravels connection. I want to acknowledge that asking you to be vulnerable may feel scary and I want to also remind you of the Johari Window model. The more you expand that first window pane (that which you know and others know about you), the greater your strength and the strength of your group. I urge you to take the risk to explore and to share.

Here is the assignment…

Watch Brene Brown’s TED talk on the Power of Vulnerability at

Explore one area of your shame or sense of unworthiness. (As Dr. Brown notes, all humans have shame — The only ones who do not are incapable of empathy, otherwise known as sociopaths.)

Think about a leadership situation that challenged your shame or sense of unworthiness

  • You should explore one particular situation in the context of your leadership in family, civic/community, in the classroom (perhaps a group project) or professional work. Context matters and informs our choices, and we may make different choices in different contexts. We want to look at that.

Think about the choices you made in the face of that challenge. Did you face shame and choose to be vulnerable? Did you hide shame and avoid vulnerability?

What were the consequences of your choices? For you? For others?

How was the leadership situation affected by your choices?

Remember, to analyze, not summarize. This is a 50-point critical thinking assignment. Do not merely answer the questions at a superficial level. Answer them with depth, thoroughness and thoughtfulness to achieve maximum points. Use specific examples to avoid abstraction.