Embracing Vulnerability

I have recently been doing some thinking around vulnerability, limitations and strengths. So I thought I would share a short story and couple of thoughts. 
— Josh Bruce



Inspirational Speaker

My story starts with an inspirational speaker named Cam Calkoen. I recently had the privilege of hearing Cam speak at KEA INSPIRE 2015. 

Cam is a very talented speaker in his own right and was a finalist for young New Zealander of the year in 2010.

However, what struck me most about Cam, was not the fact that he had Cerebral Palsy or the fact that he had gone on to achieve NZ representative status in Athletics.

I was struck by the fact that he had successfully turned almost every limitation or vulnerability he faced into a tool, story or point of difference to help him convey his message and connect with his audience. 

I recently had a discussion about this with a good friend of mine, who has faced more than her fair share of challenges. Her comments were, that although it seems counter intuitive…

“...often when we express our vulnerabilities we gain, rather than loose the respect of others.”

The more authentic and confident in who we are, the more easily we can connect with others. 

I believe this to be true. Our natural talents only become true strengths when we add character and skill. It is in the process of accepting and expressing our vulnerabilities that we often gain the self-awareness and character needed to grow in our strengths. 

Cam was an amazing example of this. Being comfortable with who he was, allowed him to own the stage and connect on a much deeper level with his audience than other might have done. 

Which left me thinking how can I do this in my own life. Can I turn my limitations into a tool for good? Can I embrace my vulnerabilities like Cam Calkoen? 

Thanks to Cam for his inspiring message and also for approving my use of his image and this small part of his story. If you wish to be inspired check out Cam on you tube or visit his website and book him for your next event


If you are keen for another perspective on either limitations or vulnerabilities being embraced to their full potential, then check out these TED talks. They are two of my favorites.


Embrace the shake. 10min
The story of an obsessive artist who develops a hand tremor condition that means he can no longer do the thing he loves. His message is that creativity is enhanced by limitations not lack of them.

I agree. Our own Kiwi number eight wire culture of innovation is due to limitations and creatively making do.


The power of vulnerability. 20min

Brene share an interesting perspective of vulnerability.

She refers to those who live life fully, as the whole hearted and her core message is this:

"Those who live whole heartedly, had the courage to be imperfect. They had compassion first for themselves and then for others. They had connection as a result of authenticity – they were willing to let go of who they thought they should be and embrace who they are. They fully embraced vulnerability and saw the things that made them imperfect, were also the things that made them beautiful."