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Welcome to Day 15 of the IN AWE 21-Day Challenge! Today we spark inspiration, meaning and joy with VULNERABILITY.

CHALLENGE: Accept yourself… flaws and all! Being our most authentic self takes courage + strength, and it can lead to a more fulfilled + happier life.

INSPIRATION: Brené Brown is a five-time New York Times bestselling author, a favorite on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday and you guessed it — vulnerability expert.

Brené joined me on my Live Inspired Podcast to share tips to becoming a better leader by embracing vulnerability, identify what might be holding us back and what she views as the biggest barrier to courageous leadership. You’re sure to leave this conversation motivated + inspired!

ACTION: Speak truthfully about your challenges. Try answering honestly when a loved one asks the typical, “How are you today?” Being honest + open will strengthen your relationship.

How are you courageously dropping your guard? Inspire me by commenting below or by sharing on social media, tagging me with #inawe.

My friends, today is your day! Live IN AWE.
John O’Leary

Did you know? 
The 21-Day IN AWE Challenge is inspired by John’s book IN AWE. Order your copy + see all the fun behind the scenes at ReadInAwe.com.



15 replies on “In Awe 21-Day Challenge – Day 15”

Since I attended a military school back in 1986, I have been living with 3 words which are Honor Courage and Conquer and about 5 years ago I added Love Serve Care. By following these 6 words I manage my life in a way that I am always truthful to my wife and kids, my business and my team at work.

It is my habit to tell the truth about how my life is going. Being honest with myself and others give me feeling that I’m strong and can overcome anything. I understand that every challenge is temporary and soon will finished, so it isn’t hard to tell what I have to deal with.

Vulnerability – Being able to admit to other that I am not as strong as I appear. Having dear friends encourage me to continue to be ME and to know that I am AOK.

My challenge is that I am pivoting in my career right now after 20 years. The fire is not there any more, but I am supporting 4 kids and my wife who is going back to work eventually. I feel guilt as the easy and responsible path would be to stick with it for 5 more years and do the ‘right’ thing. My heart knows the right thing is to expand and grow and live my most authentic and vulnerable self. I know the gifts I have to offer, but the road is very uncertain. I am learning and challenged with not believing my thoughts and when they take over, knowing they are not permanent or real. I am learning to lean in for support with other courageous men and people. My podcast has been a deep dive into my own vulnerability and a huge step. Biggest challenges are not believing my limiting beliefs and continuing to live in discomfort and expand my life and serve.

Had a great conversation with my wife as she can always tell when something is bothering me. I told her I’m worried about the future, specifically next school year. Our state budget in Michigan is taking a hard hit – like every other state, like our country too, heck the entire world it seems. I know there are going to be changes and at times I feel overwhelmed by the prospects about them and then I try and remember – I can’t let the worries about the future interfere with my living I have to do today. Things I have control with, I’ll try my best at. Things I can’t control – I’ll try and control my response to them. Plus the fact just about everyone is in the same boat as I am – some even worse off – so I need to help others out as I’m helping myself and my family. 😉

As a child I was a worrier. I stressed over things that “might” happen. That improved a bit as I grew up but it was always an underlying stressor. In my adult life I read a quote that said, “Most of the things we worry about never happen.” This spoke to me. I realized that this had been true my entire life. I have since lived by that quote. I try to think about the things that are within my control and not worry about the “might” or “what if”. This is especially helpful now.

Listen to what God wants you to do! Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, then all of the other things will be added unto you. Matthew 6:33.

When I tried to speak truly about my challenge to my loved one, I felt like He had no compassion. We live totally different lives right now. Talking about my work stress and challenges was not interesting for him. The kids and him are fully relaxed, chilling and watching movies, while I work for the so called “emergencies” to keep the business rolling. I felt alone.
During my night walk, I called a friend, and we both exchange on how we felt these days and how we adapt to our new situation. This was the talk I needed. I really felt understood and it was liberating! I was energized after that and felt wonderful!

I like this one because I feel like I’m more in tune with what’s happening, it means a lot to me to be a listener and to understand better and help where I can. When asked how you’re doing I mostly answer honestly but I am a big fan of not saying the usual response of “good” I like to add something interesting in to make it a more meaningful conversation instead of a “going through the motions”. My challenge today is being in physical pain from not being able to attend my regular 6 day a week gym class, craniosacral therapy and massage. One of those was mandated close the others were personal and that’s okay, I completely understand it and know I’ll be okay. I definitely don’t like it and didn’t see the physical pain coming my way. During acupuncture today I had to mentally calm myself (not something that I regularly need to do but happened today) and talk myself off a ledge of freak out. I did share with the therapist my needs without a guilty feeling. She’s so wonderful about helping me through things and being an understanding person. This in turn helps me help others. Admitting pain on this website is something that is also a challenge/vulnerable moment for me. Any tip would be don’t be whiny, be authentic and use your words. Also listen to others when the opportunity comes forth!

Really appreciate the vulnerable share, Jill. Hang in there my friend and stay authentic with those in your circle.

This may not seem like a big deal to all of you, but I have turned off my phone and silenced notifications on my Apple Watch during the day. I have been feeling very anxious lately. I realized the notifications and constant input from the outside world were pulling me away from my 4 girls during the day. Social media was making me feel very imperfect. Now I am fully present for my girls to help them with school work and play with them. My phone was taking so much time away from them as I’d get sucked in to the black hole of endless information. Why does this make me vulnerable? FOMO of course! But, at least I’m not missing out on what’s most important, my family. I’m loving this 21 day challenge, by the way.

Since early adulthood, I’ve been struggling with finding my place in the world… Still struggling now so it seems. I am in my 3rd year, building my speaking business and find myself once again, ready to leave. I’ve enjoyed some good success and see my skill and fees go up, but the emotional cost just might be too great.
I keep toying with the idea of going back to life as a personal trainer. In that role and industry, I was at the top, knew the business, had plenty of social interaction, and was able to be me, fully me.
Currently, as a speaker, I feel that I am held back from expressing myself how I would like to, in the name of not wanting to “offend” would-be clients. However, when I was training people, I was in my element.
I need to make a decision that is true to me and go with it. I’ve spend so many years trying to impress other people and be what I thought I was supposed to be.
With God’s help, I am getting there.

It is very impressive how you admit the truth to yourself. You feel you are not exactly where you need to be, and just to admit it it’s a big step I think. So often, we stay where we are because it is the “correct” thing to do.

Listen to what God wants you to do! Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, then all of the other things will be added unto you. Matthew 6:33.

Tips on Being Vulnerable
I am a big fan of Brene Brown. In fact, she has been part of my journey along with you, John. Through my journey I have been searching for meaning, purpose and how to allow myself to be me. When I came across Brene Brown, I made a list of wholehearted living, laminated it and placed it on my mirror. It reminds me each day to be the best me and reminds me I am enough.

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