Entering the arena of vulnerability.

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It’s not the critic who counts; it’s not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles; or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

re-enactment of a gladiator fight in the arena...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The credit goes to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly and who errs and fails, and is sometimes victorious.  But when he fails, at least he does so daring greatly.

The above is an abbreviated quote from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech, Citizenship in a Republic a/k/a The Man in the Arena, delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, on April 23, 1910.

Brené Brown, PhD, paraphrased the above when appearing on Oprah Winfrey’s show, Super Soul Sunday.  I admit – I’m addicted to the types of shows that challenge the way I think, and/or that validate the way I think.  This particular show that aired on OWN March 17, 2013, floored me.  I needed it because I’m in the arena right now while in the midst of writing my first novel.

  • What if I don’t get representation by an agent?
  • What if I secure an agent, but the agency can’t sell it to a publisher?
  • What if my novel gets published, but it gets panned by book critics everywhere?

I guess if that happens I will need to be glad that I had the confidence to try; to dare to think that I could get published in the very competitive world of writing.  The following is what Brené Brown said to herself – and perhaps to others – after she was severely criticized after delivering a speech at a conference a few years ago:

If you’re not in the arena getting your butt kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.

I like her spunk because with that statement she’s basically telling her critics to suck it if they don’t care for her work – because at least she put herself out there; she showed up; she tried.  Ms. Brown says that there is no innovation and creativity without failure.  We all must take the risk to fail when we’re doing something that we know without a shadow of a doubt we were meant to be doing.

How ridiculous of me to be so concerned about what might happen, when I’ve yet to even finish my manuscript.  I believe in what I’m doing.  I’m proud of my motivation/mission statement for writing my book.  Oh my God  – I’m writing a book!  I don’t know if it will get published but that’s a concern for which I don’t have time right now.  I am only half way through writing the manuscript so I guess I’ll just have to keep showing up at my computer and get the darn thing done!

What about you?  What brings you to the arena in which you are now standing?  Or what prevents you from entering the arena?  In the very same second that you decide to enter the arena, it’s okay to be both brave and scared.

Maybe your arena is changing your career path; or getting into – or out of – a relationship.  Perhaps your arena is standing up for what you believe in and daring to express those beliefs.

You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.  Don’t wallow in regrets – walk into the arena without fearing failure or success.