I watched an incredible TED Talk this morning from Caroline Casey that had an extraordinary effect on me. I’m fairly sure I got a few looks on the GO Train as I alternated between wiping tears from my eyes to chuckling out loud, but the message struck a core nerve for me. I won’t spoil the talk, but Caroline makes a stunning admission to open the story and then discusses how her life and parents taught her the power of believing in looking past and defeating limits that might be placed in our way.

The message though that really hit home for me was the power of two things she used to both succeed in her life and deliver her compelling message to the world – vulnerability and authenticity. In watching Caroline speak one can’t help but realize that you are seeing the core of her being, that she is putting herself out there completely to the world despite the risks to her of being hurt or ridiculed. That she is truly one with herself and open to experiencing the power of her own life both in its ups and downs.

I am a strong believer in authenticity, in staying true to one’s own beliefs and expectations regardless of the situation or environment. I haven’t always been successful in that pursuit, but it has always been my goal. What Caroline’s talk highlighted to me though is that any failures I’ve had in delivering on my commitment to true authenticity have not been caused by some fatal flaw, but rather from a hesitation to allow myself to be truly vulnerable. When I have allowed myself to cede my vulnerability to fear, I have lost my ability to be truly authentic (whether it has been obvious to those around me or not).

Caroline has empowered me today to take on the challenge of uniting my vulnerability and my authenticity. If she can have the confidence to stand in front of hundreds to give a talk that will be consumed by possibly millions of people and be her truest self, then surely in the much narrower and less viewed context of my own life I can manage to do the same.

I’m going to take more chances, be willing to cry more, accept when my failures aren’t just a bad business decision but might also cause me emotional pain, and break down my own walls that have sometimes prevented me from truly experience life to its fullest. In short, I’m going to live bigger.

I challenge you all to watch Caroline’s talk and not be inspired to look at your own life and how you are experiencing it. Are you living behind limits? Are you willing to put yourself out there as openly as Caroline has and break past them using the power of a united authenticity and vulnerability?

About Tim Empringham, MBA
Tim Empringham is a passionate advocate for Innovation in organizations of all sizes as a mechanism to drive growth, create uncontested market space, create new customer value, and drive efficiency into the internal organization. His focus is on disruption of thinking and markets through integrative thinking, structured Innovation frameworks, and leadership development of Innovation and Change leaders within the organization.

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