Brené Brown: The Call to Courage is refreshingly funny, honest, and highly inspiring


In 2010, Brené Brown gave a TedXHouston talk about vulnerability. The talk ended up reaching over ten million views and became one of the most watched Ted Talks in the world. Its rapid growth was unexpected and left Brown herself shocked.

She knew it was an ill-advised decision to dive into the battlefield that is so often the comments section, but Brown nonetheless ventured further. The vile combinations of destructive words left her feeling gutted. She turned to the comfort of Downton Abbey and peanut butter by the spoonful.

But Brown’s post-binge research of the show led her to a speech that Theodore Roosevelt gave in 1910. Within this speech was a quote—a quote that changed her life and sparked a number of realizations.

“It’s not the critic who counts. It’s not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done it different. The credit belongs to the person . . . who, in the end, while he may know the triumph of high achievement, at least when he fails, he does so daring greatly.” – Theodore Roosevelt

With witty humor and infectious self-confidence, Brown shares this very human story—this piece of herself—with the audience in her special Netflix documentary, Brené Brown: The Call to Courage.

I knew very little about Brené Brown when the audience applause announced the start of the documentary. I wasn’t really sure that I would be able to sit through the whole hour and sixteen minutes, especially considering how tired I was. But by the end, I was thoroughly acquainted with the infectiously confident and happy woman who had just spoken so much truth into my life. And somehow, I was still eager to learn more.

Brown used the first fifteen minutes to warm up the audience and allow them to get to know her. She told stories and shared jokes. She was funny, honest, and well-versed in most aspects of life.

Failure is more than just a possibility, it’s a guarantee.”

Once she really dove into her real message, Brown began to preach the importance of honesty, self-confidence, and vulnerability through the entire documentary. She reminds the audience again and again that neither vulnerability or courage is possible without the other. She also tirelessly reiterated that in being courageous, you are certain to fail. Failure is more than just a possibility, it’s a guarantee.

Brown urged the audience to embrace and lean into the uncomfortable aspects of everyday life. She explained that while vulnerability is far from easy, it’s the key to “wholehearted living and loving”. Her positive, yet honest and real attitude shone through in every minor word and movement.

One of my favorite aspects of The Call to Courage was not something I expected. Brown peppered cleverly placed anecdotes and humorous comments throughout the entire documentary, spicing up the overall quality. As I am easily bored and distracted, I found that this tactic to be highly effective. I was less often drawn to pick up my phone and was rather captivated by Brown’s technique.

Brown incorporated strong emotion, clever humor, and blunt honesty into a talk that left me feeling confident and inspired. Her words and ideas stuck with me long after the credits rolled. Most importantly, she helped me understand that failure is not only unavoidable but healthy.

She reminded me to run headfirst towards what scares me and not let a crippling fear of failure keep me from becoming who I want to be—who I could become.