Getting in the Arena

So, there I am sitting through an e-Marketing introductory lecture and I am told that one of the requirements for the course is to create a blog. When I heard this, my chest tightened. At that moment I thought I was doomed because I consider myself an introverted person and I would definitely like to have as minimal digital footprint as I can. After a few days, I decided to log on to Vula and go through the instructions on how to set up a blog. The little gremlin inside of me started to speak louder and louder in my ear. Yes people, I have gremlins living inside of me, they usually fight with each other, snatching each other’s weaves off =)  Immediately, fear, self-doubt, uncertainty and anxiety started to kick in.  I thought to myself, what on earth am I going to blog about? What are people going to think of me? Is my work going to be good enough? Am I cut out for this? Am I really going to put myself out there and be vulnerable in front of my peers and those who will stumble on my blog? Am I creative enough to attract readers? I thought to myself, well, this is for academic purposes, therefore I should not care about what other people think. I mean I can deal with academic criticism but social media is a different story. So, I tried to convince myself that this is all going to be over soon, just three e-tivities then I am done with this part of the course.


And then I thought of a video I came across last semester while searching for a video on the Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander. I just typed “vulnerability talk video” and Dr Brené Brown’s videos came up. Thanks Google!!


In this video Dr Brené Brown shares a quote from President Theodore Roosevelt’s speech famously known as ‘The Man in the Arena’.

“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.”

This sincerely resonated with me. She went on to say that if you want to be in the arena, it is not about winning or losing, it is about showing up. The only certainty you will get when you show up and being seen is that you will have to take some punches and you might break a rib or two. Therefore, you will have to decide then, if courage is your value then you will have to take those punches. Dr Brené Brown states that when you put on an amour before you get into the arena, you shut yourself off. This means when you protect yourself against vulnerability which is a birthplace of fear and self-doubt, you shut yourself off from everything. This includes creativity, trust, empathy and innovation.


She goes further and states that when we put ourselves out there, specifically our work, we tend to focus on the critics. In order to protect ourselves, we often say that we do not care what other people think. This can be a struggle because “we are hardwired for connection and when we stop caring about what people think, we lose our capacity for connection. When we become defined by what people think, we lose our capacity to be vulnerable”. So, instead of shutting the critics out, including your biggest critic, yourself, rather reserve seats for them, acknowledge their presence and show up any way.

I am going to be honest, it is scary and daunting, but I am putting myself out there, I’m getting in the arena and daring greatly. So…there goes my first post =)