How Your Negative Emotions Can Boost Your Career

If you look at a list of the top TED talks of all time, you’ll find this one close to the top.

In this powerful TED talk, research professor Brené Brown discusses the research she’s been doing on two emotions we usually see as negative and suggests we should view them in a different light.

“Vulnerability is not weakness. I define vulnerability as emotional risk, exposure, uncertainty. It fuels our daily lives. And I’ve come to the belief — this is my 12th year doing this research — that vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage — to be vulnerable, to let ourselves be seen, to be honest.”


Brown argues in her talk that we need to change the way we think about vulnerability – it’s not a weakness, but a strength. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we’re exposing ourselves in such an open and honest way and that bravery is a huge strength that we should embrace!

Shame Vs Guilt

Myshkin Ingawale failed 32 times before successfully creating his anemia testing technology. Guilt about this failure prompts Ingawale to keep trying. Shame would have meant giving up.

Brown also argues that vulnerability and guilt are necessary in the workplace – they can be incredibly powerful motivators. They are the biggest motivators for creation and innovation, in her eyes. To create something that’s never been done before you have to be incredibly vulnerable and incredibly brave.

“So let me go on the record and say, vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change. To create is to make something that has never existed before. There’s nothing more vulnerable than that. Adaptability to change is all about vulnerability.”

So next time you are apprehensive or scared about doing something, remember that your vulnerability and weaknesses make you strong, not weak. They make you brave!


Featured photo: Net A Porter

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  1. I love Brene Brown! Her book Daring Greatly is such a fab read and really enlightening. Also, Amy Cuddy talks about body language and the messages we give off in a really fascinating way. Awesome post!

  2. Since I’m always feeling guilty, this post should make me feel better about myself, haha!

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