To Dare Greatly

I coincidentally was turned on to the brilliance that is Brené Brown, PH.D. while listening to On Being on NPR this past Sunday.  I enjoyed the conversation so much I refused all pit-stops on my road trip back from DFW to Oklahoma City so I could finish the program. Actually, at one point I was parked outside of a Shamrock station waiting for a commercial break so I could run inside. Classy, eh?

When I finally made it home I looked up her TED talks and wah-lah.

I rarely find something this compelling. She covers so many truths. Not too heavy, not too light, just inspirational. Granted, it’s a deep conversation. But it’s a good conversation. One of those reinforcing, soul-reminding conversations that only happens randomly, with chance and perfect-timing. Could I have conversations like this daily? Mmmm maybe with enough coffee… Truthfully, I’d be lucky enough to hear something so provoking every day, yet alone every month. Did I mention she’s a fellow Texan? Okay irrelevant, but still.

Keep in mind Brown has spent 6+  years and  has combed through thousands of pieces of data to reach the conclusions in her talks. First we have this gem from 2010:

Then we have this more recent insight:

However, if you don’t have 40+ minutes to share. I’ve hit what I believe to be the high points. Yeah, there are a few:

  • Storytelling, of any and every kind takes courage. But it’s universally desired – it connects us.
  • Connection is why we’re here. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.
  • The ability to feel connected is neurobiologically how we are wired and why we’re here.
  • What unravels connection? Shame.
  • Shame is the fear of disconnection, is there something about me that I won’t be worthy of connection.
  • Vulnerability can be excruciating. We fear that our true selves are not worthy of connection.
  • Shame boils down to a sense of worthiness . There are people who have a strong sense of belonging and low shame and then people who struggle for that belonging.
  • The one variable that separates people who have a strong sense of love and belonging from those who don’t is that those who have it, believe they are worthy of it.
  • In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen. Really seen.
  • Whole hearted people live from a deep sense of worthiness.
  • Courage is the ability to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.
  • It takes courage to be openly imperfect.
  • Compassion is being kind to yourself and then to others.
  • To gain an authentic connection  you must be willing to let go of who you think you should be, in order to be who you really are, by embracing vulnerability.
  • Those who live whole heartily believe what makes them vulnerable is what makes them beautiful.
  • Being vulnerable is the willingness to say “I love you” first.
  • Being vulnerable is to do something where there are no guarantees.
  • Being vulnerable is to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out.
  • The wrong way to success and connection is to pretend that what you’re doing doesn’t have an impact on other people.
  • People pick up on authenticity.
  • Let yourself be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen, love with your whole heart. Practice gratitude and joy, to feel this vulnerable is to feel alive.
  • Come from a place that says, “I’m enough.”
  • Vulnerability is no weakness.
  • Staying under the radar is easy, some people just do enough to remain there.
  • Emotional risk, exposure, uncertainty is our most accurate measurement of courage.
  • Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.
  • To create is to make something that has never existed before. There is nothing more vulnerable than that .
  • Adaptability to change is  vulnerability at it’s  best.
  • Shame is the swampland of the soul. The purpose is to walk through it.
  • When people start talking about privilege they get paralyzed by shame. So talk about it.
  • Sometimes the conversation is as simple as, “I’m sorry.”
  • Don’t be afraid to fail. There is no shame in it. The best have failed.
  • You won’t know whole-hearted success, unless you take the risk of  whole-hearted failure.
  • Vulnerability is the most accurate portrayal of courage.
  • Even when you see vulnerability in action, it comes off as pure courage.
  • Emotional risk, uncertainty = vulnerability.
  • Dare greatly, be in the arena.
  • As Theodore Roosevelt said:

It is 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 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 errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.

  • When you’re “going in” –  shame is the gremlin that says, “You’re not good enough. You’re not good enough because…”
  • Quiet it down and say “I’m going to do this.”
  • Shame drives in two ways, by evoking you to think, “I’m never good enough,” or  to  evoke you to reflect as, “Who do you think you are?”
  • Shame is different from guilt.
  • Shame is ‘I am bad” a focus on self  as in, “I’m sorry, I am a mistake.”
  • Guilt is behavior as in, “I’m sorry I made a mistake.”
  • Shame is an epidemic.
  • Secrecy, silence and judgement grow shame.
  • People who don’t experience shame are people who have no compassion or empathy for others.
  • You have to understand shame to know empathy.
  • Empathy trumps shame.
  • The ability to  hold something you’ve done or failed to do up against who you want to be is incredibly adaptive.
  • Shame for women is, do it all, do it perfectly, and never let them see you sweat.
  • For women shame is a web of unattainable, conflicting expectations of who we are supposed to be.
  • For men shame is, do not be perceived as weak.
  • We must sit with each other in real vulnerability and fear.
  • Vulnerability is the path to finding our way back to each other.
  • The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle are, “me too.”
  • That bulletproof, perfect you, never happens.
  • If it did happen, that’s not what “we” want to see. It’s not how “we” connect.
  • “We” want to be with you and to be across from you.
  • We just want, for ourselves and for the people we care about, to dare greatly.

In true Texan style her website even hasdownloadable, snackable badges and posters. (A Texan never lets you leave their house w/out giving you something for the road first.)

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