Dr. Brené Brown has an excellent new book out, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, and I have been given one copy by the promotion team to give to one of you.
Book Give Away:So this is how it works: Everyone who is interested just needs to comment with "Pick Me" or some similar statement either here or at Facebook. After 48 hours, I will put all of the names into a bowl and pick one. I will try to contact the winner and get your snail-mail address and send it to you.
I have been reading Daring Greatly and enjoying it quite a lot. It is every bit as good as The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, a book that I found personally relevant, and her 2007 book, I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Making the Journey from "What Will People Think?" to "I Am Enough", which also was personally useful in light of my social anxiety and hyperactive inner critic.
I was going to offer a brief review of the book, but the promotion folks sent me this Q and A with Dr. Brown in which she talks about Daring Greatly. In it she discusses some of the major ideas and does so far better than could I.
I particularly like the "never _________ enough" part below. In every one of my clients (not so mention my own life), there is some sense of not enough that came from parents, siblings, peers, teachers, and coaches. When that sense of not being enough remains an unconscious part of our psyche, we will live through our defenses (erected to avoid that feeling) and never quite know why we are not happy.
Here are some useful links for those of you who would like to read Dr. Brown's blog or see any of the TED Talks you may have missed.
DARING GREATLY BY BRENÉ BROWN, PH. D., LMSW
Q&A WITH BRENÉ
1. What does it mean to “Dare Greatly?”
The phrase ‘Daring Greatly’ is from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech, Citizenship in a Republic. This is the passage that made the speech famous:
“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 them better.The first time I read this quote, I thought, “This is vulnerability. Everything I’ve learned from over a decade of research on vulnerability has taught me this exact lesson. Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.”
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, who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in 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 fails while daring greatly . . .”
Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose.
2. Why do you think we’re living in a culture of “never enough?”
Scarcity thrives in a culture where everyone is hyper-aware of lack. Everything from safety and love to money and resources feels restricted or lacking. We spend inordinate amounts of time calculating how much we have, want, and don’t have, and how much everyone else has, needs, and wants. The greatest casualties of a scarcity culture are our willingness to own our vulnerabilities and our ability to engage with the world from a place of worthiness.
After doing this work for the past twelve years and watching scarcity ride roughshod over our families, organizations, and communities, I’d say the one thing we have in common is that we’re sick of feeling afraid. We want to dare greatly. We’re tired of the national conversation centering on “What should we fear?” and “Who should we blame?” We all want to brave.
Our culture of scarcity is defined by this sentence:
It only takes a few seconds before people fill in the blanks with their own version:
• Never good enough.The three components of scarcity are shame, comparison, and disengagement. To transform scarcity we need to Dare Greatly; we need to cultivate worthiness, a clear sense of purpose, and we need to re-engage.
• Never perfect enough.
• Never thin enough.
• Never powerful enough.
• Never successful enough.
• Never smart enough.
• Never certain enough.
• Never safe enough.
• Never extraordinary enough.
3. What are the greatest myths about vulnerability?
I define vulnerability as exposure, uncertainty, and emotional risk. Yes, feeling vulnerable is at the core of difficult emotions like fear, grief, and disappointment, but it’s also the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, empathy, innovation, and creativity. When we shut ourselves off from vulnerability, we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives.
Myth #1: Vulnerability is weakness.
The perception that vulnerability is weakness is the most widely accepted myth about vulnerability and the most dangerous. We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we’re afraid to let them see it in us. We’re afraid that our truth isn’t enough – that what we have to offer isn’t enough without the bells and whistles, without editing, and impressing.
Myth #2: “I Don’t Do Vulnerability”
Regardless of our willingness to do vulnerability, it does us. When we pretend that we can avoid vulnerability we engage in behaviors that are often inconsistent with who we want to be. Experiencing vulnerability isn’t a choice - the only choice we have is how we’re going to respond when we are confronted with uncertainty, risk, and emotional disclosure.
Myth #3: We Can Go It Alone
Going it alone is a value we hold in high esteem in our culture, ironically even when it comes to cultivating connection. The vulnerability journey is not the kind of journey we can make alone. We need support. We need folks who will let us try on new ways of being without judging us.Myth #4: Trust Comes Before Vulnerability
There is no trust test, no scoring system, no green light that tells us that it’s safe to let ourselves be seen. Trust is a product of vulnerability that grows over time and requires work, attention, and full engagement. The research participants described trust as a slow-building, layered process that happens over time.
4. What do you think the key to combating vulnerability is?
The courage to be vulnerable means taking off the armor we use to protect ourselves, putting down the weapons that we use to keep people at a distance, showing up, and letting ourselves be seen.
As children we found ways to protect ourselves from vulnerability, from being hurt, diminished, and disappointed. We put on armor; we used our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors as weapons; and we learned how to make ourselves scarce, even to disappear. Now as adults we realize that to live with courage, purpose, and connection —to be the person whom we long to be—we must again be vulnerable. We must take off the armor, put down the weapons, show up, and let ourselves be seen. In Daring Greatly I talk about going inside the armory to identify the shields we use to protect ourselves and provide some strategies that can help transform the way we live, love, parent and lead.
5. What is one of your favorite examples of how you or someone you know has “Dared Greatly?”
I hear and see examples of daring greatly everyday. Sometimes people think that “daring greatly” means parachuting from a plane or climbing a mountain. Practicing vulnerability is about raising your hand at a PTO meeting and asking a tough question. It’s sharing an innovative (and seemingly strange) idea at work. It’s setting a boundary, asking for help, or offering support to someone who is struggling. If we want to change our lives, our families, or our community, we need a critical mass of ordinary courage. We need to dare to show up and be seen.
There is also a Reader's Guide for the book - which is especially useful for reading groups who want to read and discuss the book together.
Daring Greatly book trailer and purchasing options:
More information on the online Daring Greatly Read-Along:
The TEDx Houston “Power of Vulnerability”
TED 2012 “Listening to Shame”
The Daring Greatly t-shirts (benefiting charity: water)
Download the Daring Greatly Manifestos