Brené Brown has changed the way we think about vulnerability. She has numerous best-selling books, one of the most popular Ted Talks ever, and even has her own Netflix special.

Almost single-handedly, she has sparked a revolution about how people process painful emotions like shame, grief, sadness, and anger.  She is the modern-day face of vulnerability. People around the world look to her for answers. So, I was a bit surprised after my conversation with Dansby Swanson, starting shortstop for the Atlanta Braves.  He gave me even more perspective than Brené.

From this elite major league baseball player, I learned even more about the power of vulnerability and how to put it into context.  Dansby shared practical tips and stressed the importance of experiencing the full range of human emotions. According to Swanson, experiencing and reflecting upon all emotions is absolutely critical to becoming a better leader—whether on the baseball field in local communities or in the business world.

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Perhaps most surprisingly Dansby helped me realize the most vulnerable human emotion isn’t shame or rejection or pain, as I surmised from Brené Brown. In fact, the most vulnerable emotion isn’t negative at all. It’s joy.

Joy makes people feel vulnerable because they realize at any minute the joy could disappear as fast it came into existence. This is a terrifying feeling.  Especially for a baseball player who may be experiencing a hitting streak but realizes each ‘at bat’ is a totally new experience, with at least a 70% chance of failure that doesn’t result in the batter reaching first base.

Joy is fleeting. What if you get promoted at work, and then fail miserably?  What if your new girlfriend realizes you’re not as great as you seemed on the first few dates? What if your hitting streak doesn’t last and the newspapers turn on you and start calling you a passing fad?  That’s scary.  Many would argue it’s way worse than never having experienced intense joy in the first place.

I’m reminded of George Costanza, the fictional but loveable character on the hit TV show, Seinfeld.  Without exception, Costanza would get the most paranoid when good things started happening to him.  When he got a new job or a new apartment or a new girlfriend, for example, he would have panic attacks.  Odd as it sounds, there some truth to it.  George’s defense mechanisms were protecting him from what his brain perceived as a disaster waiting to happen.  From George’s perspective, despite the initial joy, an inevitable catastrophe was just around the corner.

How does Dansby handle the fragility and terror of joy? Just like every other feeling. He acknowledges it, reflects upon it, and even writes about it. To be sure, he is quick to acknowledge and to be grateful for the joy in his life.  But it’s equally important for him, to reflect on all other emotions as well.

How does Dansby handle the fragility and terror of joy? Just like every other feeling. He acknowledges it, reflects upon it, and even writes about it…

Dansby believes deeply in experiencing the full range of human emotions. “It’s the key to living a full life,” according to Swanson, and there’s very little chance of him being a successful major leaguer without consciously trying, every day, to reflect upon these emotions and life experiences. Otherwise, there’s just too much swirling around in his mind, distracting his focus and inhibiting his ability to live successfully in the moment (important to getting a big hit during a game with thousands of fans rooting for you, or against you).

Practically speaking, Dansby keeps a journal which allows him to transfer all of the information and ‘clutter’ from his head to pen and paper.  “It may not work for everyone, but it works for me,” according to Swanson. It literally frees up space in his mind and makes room for more positive emotions—like joy.  It also ensures that the painful emotions—like fear and shame—hidden beneath the surface won’t rear their ugly head at the worst possible time—like a key ‘at bat.’

Leadership requires people dig beneath the surface and learning to better regulate their emotions.  Most people either don’t know how to deal with their emotions, or they’re afraid. Why? Because our society doesn’t encourage it.  Parents may not have modeled the right behavior, or even shamed children as they were growing up.  How many times have we heard parents say, “boys don’t cry” or “It’s not OK for a man to be more emotional than a woman” or “there’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of?”  Even President Trump makes a point of projecting total confidence, seldom voicing concern, and never showing fear or vulnerability.

Dansby takes a different tack. Pay attention to your feelings—the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Acknowledge each feeling and try to give it a name.  Write it down. Keep a journal. How exactly is it making you feel?  How is impacting your behavior and performance?  Are you learning anything new about yourself? Would you like to try anything new or different?

You’ll be surprised how much more control you have over your emotions. You’ll also increase your confidence, leadership ability, and comfort in your own skin.

*This interview is presented by CEO Fellows in partnership with N2Growth- Request to join our exclusive leadership forum and have conversations with our Culture Champions, here. We invite you to share your story and get feedback from iconic leaders like Dansby Swanson, executive advisors, top leadership professors, and gifted students from around the world.