Brene’ Brown’s powerful new book Daring Greatly is written for people who are imperfect perfectionists. People who kind of hate vulnerability. People who would rather please others (or go numb) than to admit they need help, they’re afraid, they’re wrong, and/or to disappoint anyone in the process. It’s written for me.
I met Brene’ four years ago through a mutual friend in Houston. We went to lunch. I asked her about what she was daring to dream…what she really wanted to do. Without skipping a beat, she said, “Speak at TED,” as nonchalantly as I’d say, “Bush my teeth.” Just like that. She put it out there. Boldly. Bravely. Ballsy. I thought, “Awesome, good luck with that. I want to be an astronaut ballerina.” But then, a couple of years later she did this (and 6 million people watched), and then this year, she closed TED to a standing ovation.
Oh yes she did.
She dared greatly.
And her latest put-it-all-out-there exercise…well, it just debuted at #2 on the New York Times Best Seller List. Oh yes it did.
So I’m open to what she has to say about all the daring, greatly. Because she hates it, and she does it, and I respect that.
She talks about how it takes courage to be vulnerable…and that vulnerability transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead.
She starts off by getting right to it and right to heart of it…
I looked right at her and said, “I frickin’ hate vulnerability.” I figured she’s a therapist–I’m sure she’s had tougher cases. Plus, the sooner she knows what she’s dealing with, the faster we can get this whole therapy thing wrapped up. “I hate uncertainty, I hate not knowing. I can’t stand opening myself to getting hurt or being disappointed. It’s excruciating. Vulnerability is complicated. And it’s excruciating. Do you know what I mean? ….
“What does it feel like?”
“Like I’m coming out of my skin. Like I need to fix whatever’s happening and make it better.”
“And if you can’t?”
“Then I feel like punching someone in the face.”
“So what do you do?”
“Clean the house. Eat peanut butter. Blame people. Make everything around me perfect. Control whatever I can–whatever’s not nailed down.”
I think a lot of us get this.
I got this book a few weeks ago, and I’m reading it, devouring it, so slowly. Like my favorite cookie (or a Downton Abbey episode), I want to save it, make it last, really enjoy every page. And that’s pretty possible with this book, because even though Brene’ writes in a completely relatable, down-to-earth way, the content itself is a blend of densely challenging and surprisingly simple truths. Truths you want to consume and absorb.
She talks about scarcity. About our fears of not being enough… not smart enough, not successful enough, not thin enough. Not having enough time. Not having enough money. Andonandonandon. She talks about the sources of that scarcity (shame, comparison, disengagement) and what we can do to overcome them.
She talks about our shields…cynicism, criticism, cool and cruelty…and what we can do to transform them.
And she talks about strategies and what we can do to cultivate change and close the disengagement divide.
She also has a chapter on wholehearted parenting that broke my heart and gave me hope about 400 times over.
Because, as Brene’ so wonderfully says, “Daring greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage. In a world where scarcity and shame dominate and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. … But as I look back on my own life and what daring greatly has meant to me, I can honestly say that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous and hurtful as believing that I’m standing on the outside of my life looking in and wondering what it would be like if I had the courage to show up and let myself be seen.”
You need to read this book. You can get it here.
Or you can win one right here.
Because right here, right now, I’m giving away a signed copy that I picked up at her (packed) Austin book signing.
Just leave a comment stating what you’d like to do to dare greatly (or what daring greatly means to you) or anything really between now and Friday, Sept 28 at midnight. (Again, the contest closes next Friday night (9/28) at midnight EST).
Good luck. Dare greatly. You can do it.
Now for the fine print: Please only leave one comment here, because it’s the nice thing to do, and also because multiple entries will be disqualified. I’ll use random.org to select the winner, and I’ll announce who won at the top of this post and in a separate post next Monday (Oct. 1). Offer eligible only to U.S. and Canada.