Vulnerability: A Surprising Strength?

An unexpected brush with an international sporting hero sparks deep insight into the transformational power of vulnerability.

Occasionally life stops us in our tracks with a powerful message.

During one of our regular beach-walks this weekend, my wife and I paused to watch the 2017 World Adaptive Surfing Championships. In this sport, so-called “disabled athletes” deny their physical limits, competing for international medals.

Watching these acts of great courage and persistence brought tears to my eyes.

One particular moment caught my attention.

A young man in his mid-20s was preparing to surf in the championship heat. He was paraplegic, with no control of his flaccid legs.

His coach bent over, and scooped him up like a child to carry him into the water.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel to be this young man. But I know that I would probably struggle with a deep sense of inadequacy—having to be carried like a child!

How sad … not for him … but for me!

This young hero had embraced his vulnerability, graciously accepting the loving help of his coach.

Through his “weakness”, he was strong.

Without this vulnerability, this elite athlete wouldn’t be competing at the highest level, and he wouldn’t be wearing the gold medal and the champion’s title that is rightfully his today.

In contrast, how often has “strength” been my own weakness? How many victories have I denied myself by hiding behind false strength or frail ego, instead of asking for and accepting help?

As we walked home, I reflected on his accomplishment with deep respect, and the certainty that my admiration for him was a reward reward when compared against his own immense pride in his world-beating achievement.

Have fun,





Dr. Roddy Carter is an internationally recognized Executive Coach and Performance Expert. Through his proprietary Neurocentric Coaching Method, he guides his clients to Personal Mastery … an evolved state in which we are able to harness the immense power of our brains to achieve the success we deserve.

Dr. Roddy Carter, MD, has over 30 years of experience working across a range of medical disciplines and corporate settings. 

At the height of his successful career, Roddy experienced a personal health and happiness awakening. During this profoundly transformative time, he began applying his deep knowledge of performance neuroscience to his everyday life. He discovered that, in moments of stress, the brain develops intricate psycho-protective adaptations to ensure our short-term survival; however, these adaptations often impose substantial residual limitations, create profound (and often hidden) distress, and prevent us from reaching our innate potential.

Today, Roddy is an executive coach and author dedicated to helping others unlock their full potential throughout their lives by applying compassionate neuroscience and sharing his unique approach to Personal Mastery™.

To learn more about Roddy and his coaching services, and to follow his blog, visit You can find his books, BodyWHealth and Sunset Lessons, on Amazon.