If there is one thing that many people struggle with it is stepping out on the stage of courage. Most people would rather exit the stage, become apart of the audience, and blend in with everyone else. Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly helped me explore the depths of vulnerability, shame, and authenticity in full liberation. Here are some insights that I’ve drawn from reading the book that I would love to share with you.
Brené’s Aha Moment
Brené has a very extensive authorial career. She has authored five #1 New York TimesBestsellers. In addition to her amazing insights on courage and leadership, she has one of the top five most viewed Ted Talks in the world. Even Oprah enjoyed reading Daring Greatly among other books of Brené and discussed the book in depth on Super Soul Sunday. I loved hearing about her personal struggle with vulnerability and other stories of those that dared greatly despite their own setbacks.
Brené’s aha moment while studying vulnerability was a speech by Theodore Roosevelt titled “Citizenship in a Republic”. The passage below shows vulnerability and the pathway to daring greatly and was what really solidified Brené’s research.
It’s not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly . . . who at best knows the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
This passage came at a crucial point of Brown’s life, where she herself was looking to confront her own vulnerability.
Vulnerability is the Passageway to Courage
One thing is for sure, after reading this book, I am more open to dance with vulnerability. In the past, I’ve kicked vulnerability out of my path in the name of perfectionism. Now, I dance with vulnerability, across the dancefloor until I come to the other side of it into courage.
Because to dare greatly is to have the courage to be vulnerable, to ask for what you need, and to show up and be seen. Out of pride, we may not seek to do these things because we might be seen as week, not resourceful, or inexperienced. However, in hindsight, those that do ask for what they need usually get it, and others that have the courage to be vulnerable and be seen, end up stronger in the long run.
Practice Whole Hearted Authenticity
Whole-hearted authenticity is another area explored in Daring Greatly. Brené talks about authenticity as being a practice that we choose every day. We make a choice on being authentic and how authentic we want to be with those that we interact with. Before reading this book, I never thought of authenticity being a choice. I always thought people were born with a unique gift to be naturally authentic. However, the book showed that when you let go of what other people think, and dodge your need to be perfect, you flex your muscle of authenticity.
This muscle should be flexed often. Many times, perfectionism acts as a shield to being authentic. In an effort to not explore one’s realness, we hide behind being perfect, and blemish-free. However, we all know that this can be the hardest thing of all. Not embracing those not so perfect areas, out of fear that you aren’t good enough. But then, you then are not showing the world who you really are, and when you don’t, you will never measure up. So the need is for us all to be authentic, and when we do, it is totally contagious.
Step Through Vulnerability
Stepping into your vulnerability may feel like weakness. It is perceived as a weakness by many, but in fact, Brené explores that it isn’t weakness at all. Vulnerability can actually be a mirror to show you where you are stronger because when you leverage it, you are operating in what makes you uniquely you. You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.
So many organizations actually view you as weak if you express your vulnerabilities. This is something that we need to find ways to resolve. To me, if someone shows you their vulnerability, then it is up to us to handle it with care. It is a courageous act they did to show up, so we need to be courageous in graceful acknowledgment. Showing a little about who they are, opening themselves up for judgment, which can be seen as a gift. If organizations can see into this gift, then somehow it might allow better choices to be made in hiring talent, and keeping people on. Why wouldn’t you want someone on your team that is courageous?
The Platform of Innovation, Creativity, and Change
I love it when Brené mentioned that vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change. In an industry that is inspired by innovation, and saturated with creativity, you have to think about how vulnerable the creators are. On the other hand, you could also entertain that thought instead of that creativity coming out of vulnerability, it may come from perfectionism, and that presents an opportunity. (Many of us are “type-A” planners and are nodding their heads right now reading this.)
Perfectionism, in this case, restricts us from putting our best, and brightest ideas out there. From creating experiences that haven’t even been seen before. We see the need then for us to put ourselves out there. To stop being perfect and giving the world what we think they want to see, but create and give them something unimaginable.
Let Busy Catch Up
We all have been there. When someone asks you how you are doing, you respond that you are “busy”. It is a typical answer, but really doesn’t help anything, it doesn’t add any context for your life — it just shows you are in a state of not truly living. Brené Brown’s comments on busyness really impacted me because I can be one of those people always saying that they are busy. I’m usually busy with this or busy with that. She mentioned that we are the busiest people here in America more than in any other country. And that we stay so busy that the truth of our lives can’t catch up – which is so very true and it was show-stopping for me.
What if the truth of your life hasn’t caught up to you yet? What if by every additional project that you take on, that it keeps delaying your personal revelation of your own existence? Sometimes I might even further add that we can be running away from a destiny that we were meant to have, but we never take the time to stop and step into it. We need to be less busy.
Grateful & Gratitude
The response to being busy is to be grateful and to practice gratitude. For people that are constantly on the go, this might have to be a scheduled practice. It is a very necessary act and an important step to helping you slow down and appreciate every detail of your life and what it has brought to you. Sit and quietly reflect on your on your life, your ideas, and what direction you take next. As move forward, embrace the vulnerability of each and every moment.
I really did enjoy reading this book, and I appreciate everyone that read it with me and joined me to discuss it in our very first Book Club. For those that did not get a chance to see the book club, I’ve added it below. To order your copy of Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly, click here. (I do get a nominal fee for the referral.) Here’s to being coming more vulnerable, more courageous and more authentic!
Featured photo credit: Armosa Studios