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The Courage to Show Up and Be Seen

By: Lian Conrad, Case Management Intern

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen” –says Brené Brown, public speaker and author of four #1 New York Times bestsellers on empathy, vulnerability, and courage.

As a case manager at Daily Work who works with job seekers to set goals to gain self-sufficiency, I can see Brown’s sentiment reflected in the job seekers who come to Daily Work every day. Brown sees vulnerability as an act of courage, not as a sign of weakness and she encourages people to truly think about how we turn our feelings of vulnerability in to acts of courage.  For example, courage is demonstrated by being present with uncomfortable feelings of uncertainty and risk.  When we are aware of our uncomfortable feelings, we can slow down, ask for support, and make choices that ring true to ourselves and our beliefs. 

At Daily Work, our job seekers display courage every time they show up and share their stories, hopes, frustrations, successes, barriers, and goals.  From the chime of Daily Work’s door as a job seeker walks in, is greeted, and settles at the waiting area, I see courage.  As Brown would say, they are “showing up and letting themselves be seen.” This is both a vulnerable and courageous act. 

For some jobseekers, whether it’s their first or twentieth time, arriving at Daily Work may stir up anxieties surrounding what to expect, wonder about how we can help, and worries about judgment, building trust, or feeling lost and overwhelmed.  At Daily Work, many jobseekers are able and willing to work, but struggle with finding sustaining, living-wage employment or obtaining skills and resources on their own.  Realities such as limited income, beginning English language skills, inadequate access to critical technology, and dependence on public transportation, legal violations, or limited work-ready skills pose challenges to job seekers. These financial and emotional stressors take a toll on many job seekers’ self-esteem, feelings of self-efficacy, and outlook on life. 

By engaging in person-centered, individual mentoring that respects the dignity of our job seekers, Daily Work recognizes and supports the courage that job seekers need to ask for help and pursue better job opportunities.  Further, developing a trusting and collaborative relationship with job seekers shows that Daily Work “begins where the job seeker is” no matter the conditions of their situation.  As a case manager, I acknowledge that life at times is messy and confusing—but this inspires me to mentor and coach job seekers to uncover their strengths and talents and help them see their potential and not just the obstacles in their lives. Each job seeker that walks through Daily Work’s doors brings unique and rich life experiences and gifts that we seek to discover, honor and embrace.

Have you had an experience in your own life that required courage to show up and be seen? If so, please share it with us. To hear more from Brené Brown, check out her TED Talk here: https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability


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