I met Brene Brown in the summer of 2011, when I was a panelist at a Women Create Media conference where she was the keynote speaker. Having viewed her TEDx talk earlier that year, I was excited to hear her in person. Research data has never connected with me in the same way personal stories do, so I was captivated by her storytelling.

The tears poured out of me as I resonated with some of her motherhood moments and choices for being courageously vulnerable in her career. These pieces triggered me because at that time I was only a few years into my journey of transformation, but had already risked so much to brave the wide-open vastness of the unknown — personally and professionally. When I watched her Netflix special, I again enjoyed her storytelling, which resulted in some laughter and tears. Seeking and absorbing her wisdom this month has been timely as I am about to step into what feels like the most vulnerable part of my journey thus far… and I’ve done some major vulnerability work already.

While watching the special, I found myself wanting to find out Brene’s age, mainly due to the fact that I was about to celebrate another 40-something birthday. In my Google search, I discovered most of what we’ve seen of Brene’s journey — her unguarded emergence visible to the public eye — occurred after she turned 40, with her wings fully soaring by her mid/late-40s into her 50s. How fabulous!

Awareness of her age is particularly interesting and inspiring to me, because she’s yet another wise warrior woman lighting the way for all of us. In a time when some people, women included, carry an imprinted belief that women over 40 “age out,” Brene and many others prove that’s so not the case. In fact, many women aged 40+ are just getting started with illuminating the most authentically rich season of their lives with fulfillment-fueled forward momentum. The lives of countless women, in the public eye and not, easily dispel the aging-out notion. I applaud them. I’m inspired by them. I glean wisdom from them. I’m magnetized to them. I carry the torch of transformation with them.

And above all else, I’m braving the arena with them — Brene’s teachings! — even when my voice cracks, my knees shake and the tears roll. I’m in. All in.

I hope you are, too.

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