Brené Brown’s new Netflix special, The Call to Courage, is the 76 minutes of inspiration you’re looking for this week

It’s pretty likely you’re one of the millions of people who have seen Brené Brown’s TedTalk from 2010. If you haven’t (or if you want a fresher), you can find it here (complete with a transcript for those of us who like to read along).

Her books, five of which are New York Times bestsellers, have made a huge splash in the self-improvement reading world. (I have read the Blinkist version of a few of her books as well.)

This inspiring Texan woman is back with her own Netflix special. “The Call to Courage” has more to say about vulnerability and its relationship to courage as well as some fun behind the scene glimpses into her life and experiences after that TedTalk video went viral (she thought only 500 or so people would see it!). It’s a snug 76 minutes and I enjoyed the heck out of it. I recommend you check it out (and I would love for you to come back and share your thoughts in the comments below or on my Facebook page)! I love having the chance to discuss inspiring videos with others (and my attempt to create a virtual-TedTalk-inspired-by-bookclubs-club never really took off) – I truly mean it when I say I want to hear your thoughts!

I took some notes for myself during my watch-party-of-one but am putting them after a bit down the page so you don’t have to read any spoilers. Ok, so self-improvement flick “spoilers” don’t have the same intensity as spoilers of the final season of “Game of Thrones,” but I’m still careful not to share spoilers. (I’m looking at you, friends who are sharing funny-but-STILL-SPOILERS images right now.)

My notes & thoughts on the show are below. These are just notes I jotted down when watching the Netflix special, so they may not all make total sense out of context. I recommend you watch the show now, then come back to read my thoughts (and comment with your own).

UPDATE: I have a LOT of notes, it turns out, but writing them all out was helpful for me, personally. That said, it’s a TON to read through so I have no hard feelings if you don’t read through them all, as they are a personal recap of the takeaways I wanted to remember from the show.

Screenshot 2019-04-22 at 8.30.16 PM

For those of you who like your spoilers in the form of trailers, here you go:


And here are the  notes that I took when watching “The Call to Courage.” Some of these are quotes and some are paraphrases. My notes to self are in italics.

Time is a big, precious, unrenewable resource.
keep on keeping on with the time management work! 

Vulnerability is KEY for wholehearted living and loving

It’s not the critic who counts.

Be brave with your life. You ARE going to fall.

Today we choose courage over comfort.

Comfort is so easy…but courage feels so good when we have it, especially looking back. I’m most proud of my moments of courage, not my moments curled up in front of the tv.

It’s not that you’re going to RISK failure. It’s that you ARE going to fail. Courage is showing up when you can’t control the outcome. Be in the arena

Love the perspective shift of accepting that failure is simply part of the experience. Need to work on that! 🙂 

Vulnerability is the most accurate way of measuring courage. If you aren’t getting in the arena and getting your butt kicked occasionally, Brene isn’t interested or open to your feedback about her work.

Don’t read the comments, like they say. But when you do read the comments, remember this. Reminds me of a few people who are a lot of talk but not much action on social media.

On feedback that isn’t helpful, isn’t from people who wish you well, and people who are not in the arena: step over it and keep going. Don’t take feedback from people who aren’t being brave with their lives.

KD add to that thought: Unless you’re hurting them or their group. If you’re hurting others, stop it. You can accept feedback and there are MANY ways to “be in the arena.” 

“Neurologically hardwired” – great language!

Listen to feedback from people who love you for who you are, including your imperfections. Listen to their feedback and ask questions.

I think my notes, and perhaps her delivery, are a bit simplistic here. It’s VERY important to listen to the feedback of others when you are affecting them personally and negatively. Even if they aren’t “in the arena.” I think her advice more applies to things such as trolling comments about your art or comments that have nothing to do with your work, like the body shaming posts people shared in the comments of her TedTalk video.  Ignore those jerks FOR SURE.

“The story I’m telling myself” – this is great language to use in relationship communication! I might see what Brandon thinks about adding this to our relationship lexicon. I can see this being HUGE in helping us all interrupt unhelpful negative thought patterns such as “I’m stupid” or “I can’t” or “I never…” I love helping my hypnotherapy clients break their negative self-talk habits and find this phrase incredibly useful.

Our brains look for narrative patterns so it can protect us. We make up stories.

If you make a bid in a relationship and feel pushed away, you can feel shame or rejection. This connects to some things the Gottmans talk about in their work.

We usually reserve using vulnerability against people for people we love the most because we’re scared. ( Does this ring true to others? I’m wondering if it’s true for me. I would say some people, like some politicians we know, don’t save this for the people closest to them. That said, I have no idea how terrible they are to people they love.)

We want to be SEEN and KNOWN.  Vulnerability is the patch back to each other. We’re often so afraid to get on the path of vulnerability that we end up hurting each other a lot. We’re so afraid to let ourselves be seen. Vulnerability is the center of hard emotions: shame, scarcity, fear, anxiety, uncertainty. We want to armor up.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of Love, Belonging, and Joy. this might end up on a post-it note at my desk when I’m working on an extra-vulnerable project in the future 🙂 

Many people choose to not feel love so they don’t have to feel grief. Some people feel it’s too high a price to pay.

The opposite of belonging is fitting in. Belonging is being who you are, being yourself. Fitting in is assessing and acclimating to others.

Joy is the most vulnerable of all human emotions. Something might come along and take it away. Yes.

We rehearse tragedy. (We sure do. I’ve had many conversations with friends about the crazy thoughts that pop up when I’m feeling so much love and happiness in my life!)

We need to focus on GRATITUDE when we notice we are rehearsing tragedy. Gratitude for the win! So many studies out there on the benefits of having a gratitude practice – let me know if you want to hear my favorite one!

Vulnerability has a true physical reaction. Use it as a reminder to be grateful not to disaster plan. Experiencing gratitude is also being vulnerable.

“When you are grateful for what you have, I understand that you understand how much I’ve lost.” – Brene says this is what people feel when they experience tragedy. I had mixed emotions about this message. I’m interested in hearing other’s opinions about this particular part in connection to loss and how we communicate with those who are grieving.

Gratitude is healing for people. People often miss the simple ordinary moments more than anything.

I love the way she describes her daughter’s “picture memory” moment. Let’s do more of this! I often say “I’m taking a photo with my mind!” (Though a few times I wish I HAD pulled out that camera too! ha)

MYTHS of vulnerability:

MYTH #1: vulnerability is weakness. NOPE! There is no courage without vulnerability. Vulnerability is the feeling we get when there is uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.

MYTH #2: I don’t do vulnerability. Everyone does. You either do it knowingly or vulnerability does you. I wanted to hear more about this concept.

MYTH #3: I can go it alone. NOPE. We’re neurobiologically hardwired for connection with other people. Without connection, love, and belonging there is suffering.

MYTH #4 You can engineer uncomfortability out of being vulnerable. HA

MYTH #5 Trust comes before vulnerability. Actually, trust and vulnerability stack over each other in small amounts, both building up over time. Share your story with people who earn the right to hear it.

MYTH #6: Vunerability is disclosure. I wish she had talked a bit more about this – maybe she does in one of her books? She’s saying, don’t just complain about your day. Vulnerability is measured by the amount of courage to show up and be seen when you can’t control the outcome, she says.

Ha – almost at the end! I don’t think I quite realized just how many notes I took! Well, at least this exercise is good for my memory on the subject. 🙂 

Winning isn’t always coming in first, sometimes “winning” is doing the brave thing swim meet example.

“But I was brave and I won.”

Vulnerability is hard, scary, and feels dangerous. But it’s not as hard scary or dangerous as getting to the end of your life and having to ask WHAT IF I would have shown up.

Show up, be seen. Answer the call to courage. You’re worth being brave.

Last note: I rarely laugh out loud when watching TV by myself, but I couldn’t help but chuckle at some of those terrible book cover choices! “Do you know Johnny Depp?!” 



  1. Hi Keridwyn, thanks a lot for sharing this. I was looking for a transcript of Brene’s talk at Netflix and instead found your notes. Great job and such inspiring quotes!


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