The Art of Vulnerability

The Art of Vulnerability
power of vulnerability

Do you feel drawn to vulnerability, but also kind of scared by it?

Do you find yourself holding back when faced with the choice to go there in your performance or in your life?

Perhaps you’re being ‘real’, but maybe not at ‘real’ as you could be?  


One of my clients has a performance coming up in a few weeks. It’s such an exciting opportunity for her, taking the work we have been creating in our sessions to an audience for the first time. But it’s also really scary for her too.  Vocally she is gifted.  Her connection to music, style, feeling and groove has grown enormously since we’ve been working together. But this particular song we are working on requires a certain depth that she hasn’t quite reached before.  It’s requiring her to connect to a very raw and personal story.  Asking her to find her courage and dive further into her vulnerability.

Social Scientist Dr Brené Brown, has been studying the subject of vulnerability for the past 10 years.

Courage, she discovered, comes from the latin “cor”, meaning heart. The original definition of courage was “to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.”

To feel is to be vulnerable – vulnerability is at the core of all emotions. It opens us up to love, joy, creativity and empathy, she says.

As an artist I have been in the vulnerability conversation for a long time. I remember discovering its power while I was studying acting at NIDA.  It was a huge ‘light bulb’ moment for me.  Peeling back the layers to reach the various levels of my own vulnerability became my new daily ritual.  It would creep into my evenings and my weekends till it became my new way of being. Was it easy? Hell no!  But my passion for finding my truth as an artist was strong, and the growth it gave me in my craft was massive.  Was I able to find the same level of vulnerability in my own personal life?   No, not at first.  But it did get a lot easier.   Now that I had the tools and the experience through my craft I was able to find the courage to go there in my own life too.

The actor you are, is the person you are.

I am constantly nurturing my own vulnerability.  Without it I know I cannot grow to my potential both personally and professionally.  I have discovered that if I truely want to live a creative life, I have to allow myself the opportunity to be vulnerable.

“Vulnerability sounds like truth but feels like courage” -Brené Brown

I have learnt that most people live life with an armour around their vulnerability.  They attempt to shield themselves from the fear, pain and embarrassment that saying ‘the vulnerable thing’ may bring.

It’s the Artists that learn to release this armour so that they can remain free and open in their craft.

But vulnerability is crucial for everyone. Without discovering the art of vulnerability in each of us, and yes it is an art we must relearn, challenges in life become overwhelming, creating further pain and fear for ourselves.  The biggest cost for those of us who ‘don’t do vulnerability’ is never discovering what we are capable of.

So remember, if you want to explore your potential, you need to explore your vulnerability.

Take up a creative discipline and start peeling back the layers.   It can be challenging, and deep but there can be a lot of joy there too.  Remember without it, we cut off all the other wonderful feelings and experiences that are available to us in this life – and we disrupt our human desire to connect and grow.


To watch Brené Brown’s TED Talk on the Power of Vulnerability click here:

MaryAnne 'Mac' McCormack is Creative Director of The Mac Project. A Melbourne-based Soul/Pop outfit and Creative Coaching Studio. MaryAnne is a Vocal, Acting, Dialect & Creative Coach. A graduate from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) she has worked in Theatre & Television in Australia and Internationally. As a coach MaryAnne works with Artists, taking them to the next level in their Acting and Singing craft and career and with Women in Business, reconnecting them to their authentic voices for bigger impact in their business and in life. MaryAnne's Soul/Pop outfit perform regularly at Melbourne's best bars and restaurants and at Melbourne's top events such as Spring Racing Carnival.

1 Comment

  1. Nick 4 years ago

    That was really powerful. The Brene TED talk was so good too. Thanks so much. See you soon for a session

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