She says most of the people who contact her want her to discuss innovation, creativity and change. These are indeed buzzwords circulating in the business field today. She says that vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.
Brown studies shame as a research area. She discusses how discussion of race inevitably leads to question of privilege which leads to inevitably to issues of shame. Discussing embracing failure and not listening to the critic but instead fearlessly continuing to engage in life, she shares a great quote by Theodore Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
She goes on to discuss the difference between shame and guilt. Shame is “I am bad; I am not good enough; or who do you think you are” whereas guilt is “I did something bad”. Interestingly, shame correlates with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, and eating disorders. Guilt is inversely correlated with those. Guilt can be adaptive.
She goes on to divide how shame is expressed differently between genders which is quite fascinating. Empathy is the greatest antidote to shame. What causes shame to thrive is secrecy, silence and judgement.