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Embrace Your Vulnerability to Find Your Resilience and Live Out Your Purpose

By Marie Quintana

“And the day came when the risk to remain in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin.

That day arrived for me in the first grade, in a small Cajun town on the Mississippi River in the early 60’s. An immigrant, I was the only Hispanic in school, not speaking English and desperately trying to fit in to stop the hurtful name-calling from other kids. Then came picture day, a day I hoped would finally help me fit in; I wore an all-white outfit as the teacher had instructed. However, it turned out differently. My limited grasp of the English language led me to misunderstand the instructions, and while I wore all white, the other kids wore the colors of the rainbow. I felt horrified, sick to my stomach, and felt the whole school was laughing at me. But the day marked a turning point for me, a moment of profound significance.

Out of the pain emerged a sense of purpose, a defining moment that would shape my life. It taught me resilience and how to push through pain toward growth, much like Anais Nin’s wisdom. I realized that embracing vulnerability was the key to finding the resilience I needed, a lesson I would revisit repeatedly throughout my life.

Embracing vulnerability isn’t easy.

It means acknowledging our fears, insecurities, and imperfections, and allowing ourselves to be seen authentically. It’s about being open to uncertainty and discomfort, knowing that true strength comes from facing these challenges head-on.

My life story is an ongoing journey, just as yours is. We are not different; we are filled with human emotions, striving to do our best for ourselves, our families, and our communities. Sharing our own experiences of vulnerability and resilience creates a powerful connection with others. It lets each of us know that we are not alone and that vulnerability is a shared human experience.

I have lived a life that I didn’t plan, yet I’ve come to realize that it’s precisely the life that God intended for me. I’ve confronted fear, shock, uncertainty, and doubt repeatedly, and I’ve had to rebuild my life from scratch multiple times.

The painful experiences of losing my home, being forced to leave my country as a young child, enduring a painful divorce and facing the loss of my oldest child brought me to my knees. Yet, amidst the challenges, my life has also been filled with moments of glorious, joy, gratitude, and humility. I’ve chosen to live in gratitude and find blessings in every moment.

I have discovered that embracing vulnerability opens the door to experiencing life’s joys and sorrows fully. It’s about acknowledging the fear, uncertainty, and discomfort we encounter in both small and significant moments. Once we become aware of these feeling, we start experiencing life in a profoundly different way. Often, we hold back from showing up because we feel we don’t belong, or we stay silent because we doubt the value of our words. Imagine waking up each day with the determination to confront the obstacles in our path, embracing discomfort not as an enemy but as a catalyst for discovering our purpose.

Embracing vulnerability teaches us two significant lessons:

  1. First, it empowers us to live authentically – to reconnect with our inner child, show kindness when we stumble, and accept our imperfections with grace.

  2. Second, it reminds us that we have the courage to start over both personally and professionally.

My business career has been a winding journey – I began as a social worker working in a mental health clinic, transitioned into a systems engineer, took roles as Director of Change Management for an outsourcing company and Vice President of Technology for a Fortune 50 company, delved into Multicultural Sales and Marketing as a Senior Vice President, became CEO of my consulting company, led as President of 2 start-ups, served as Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President of Communications of a highly regarded Fortune 500 company and even ventured to a different country to successfully locate a kidnapped child.

Now, as an author, I find courage in vulnerability, sharing my story with readers worldwide.

I hope my journey inspires you to recognize the untapped potential within you. Never give up – the ability to start anew lies within each of us. Prepare to live your legacy and embrace the resilience that comes from embracing your vulnerability.


Marie Quintana, a nationally acclaimed business leader and inspiring speaker, boasts a distinguished 30-year career in Corporate America, holding key positions at renowned companies such as Tenet Healthcare, PepsiCo, Perot Systems, and IBM. Recognized among the Top 50 Hispanic Women in Business by Hispanic Business Magazine, she has also been honored as one of the Top 50 Women in Grocery by Progressive Grocer and named one of the Top 5 Latina Executives by Latina Style Magazine. In 2022, she received the prestigious Latino Leaders Maestro Award for Professional Achievement.

Committed to fostering the growth of future women leaders, Marie actively mentors and co-founded the PepsiCo Women of Color Alliance. A founding board member of the Network of Executive Women, she served on the Board of Directors for Fetch, a leading shopper app, and Catholic Charities of Dallas.

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