Can courage and vulnerability work together?

Courage vs. Vulnerability

Courage vs. Vulnerability – are these opposites or do they work together? Maybe they could be the two key elements of Psychological Safety. I think it depends how you choose to look at them. This is what I do know: Growing up, I always thought courage was being strong and vulnerability was being weak. I was wrong! I have learned that courage is about taking action, persevering, and withstanding danger, fear or difficulty. Vulnerability is opening yourself up to attack or harm. These definitions are not opposites. In fact, they are mutually dependent and need each other to exist. Don’t believe me? Try to think of one act of:

  1. Vulnerability that did not take courage?
  2. Courage that did not have an element of vulnerability?

If you have an example, please leave it in the comments!

Psych Safety

To refresh your memory, Psych Safety is defined as a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes.

As we continue on our journey together to learn about Psych Safety, look for opportunities where you can take a chance. Use your courage to show vulnerability (e.g. fears, mistakes, needing help, asking for ideas, asking for feedback, saying you don’t know, etc.). This will continue the culture of Psych Safety for your team, which will lead to deep trust and great performance.

Keep leading the Interstates way!


Scott Peterson, Interstates CEO