Some years ago, I encountered Brené Brown somewhere. Maybe on Oprah, or maybe via her incredible TED Talk on vulnerability. I picked up a copy of Daring Greatly and found it utterly compelling.
The sort of compelling that I would read a page, underline almost every sentence, and then have to stop for a day to try to digest what I’d read.
There was so much resonance there, so many things that she talked about that I thought were all in my head. Part of my own personal crazy.
Things that I should be ashamed of.
That’s her work; the incredible power of shame, and how we can rise above the crippling effects of shame by leaning into vulnerability. The last decade of my life have been the most transformative for me, in terms of making peace with who I am, how I am, and where I am. This notion of vulnerability and trust is key for me; beliefs I’ve held for my entire life about these things have shaped me. Shifting the paradigm ever so slightly has led to freedom, growth and peace.
I recommend her books and talks, without reservation. Because shame is not a good thing. Shame is not of God. But it is oh-so-common…
So here are a few notes from her talk at this year’s GLS. I confess to some serious fangirl adoration; I was hanging on every word.
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When we reach out and are rebuffed, we feel shame.
The #1 shame trigger for women is body and appearance; the #1 shame trigger for men is appearance of weakness.
In moments of conflict, stalemates, heightened emotions – stop and finish this question for yourself:
“The story I am telling myself right now is….”
To be able to sit with another in their shame demonstrates good work on your own inner stuff.
The #1 perpetrator of shame for men is women. We tend to throw things back at them, particularly areas of weakness and vulnerability.
It is an incredibly unholy act to receive something vulnerable from another person
and then turn around and use it on them.
The stories we tell ourselves put us at risk – on either side of a relationship – when they are not grounded in truth.
Think about what we want in our lives: We want more love, intimacy, belonging, joy. The only path to those things is more vulnerability. We have to show up and allow ourselves to be seen, to be known, to be connected.
Our brain is hard-wired – in the instant something happens – to make up a story about what’s happening, to create the narrative power of story. If we give our brain a story, we get a chemical reward. It is satisfying. It rewards us whether the story is accurate or not. The story with limited data points is called a conspiracy in research. We make up stories with bad guys / good guys, winners / losers.
(Check out ‘Fast Company’ magazine….)
The middle space – where you are in the dark, the “Point of No Return” – you can only go forward…
there is a little bit of grace that whispers, “You’ve done this before – you can do this…”
Act 1 – Characters and inciting incident
Act 2 – character tries to resolves the challenge, realizes what it takes to overcome the challenge Act 3 – character gets it done
Three stages of any ‘inciting incident’:
The Reckoning :: Reckon with the emotion you are feeling. Get curious. Examine your feelings.
The Rumble With Emotion :: Be willing to walk in and get brave about talking with discomfort.
(“In our culture, we clap for the truth.”)
We have to rumble with what’s true and hard.
As leaders you can choose courage or you can choose comfort; you cannot have both.
Deal with truth and shame.
The Revolution ::
Our worthiness as people live inside these stories. When we deny the stories, we are defined by them. When we own the stories, we get to write the ending. Courage is rare – and it is uncomfortable.
The bravest among us will always be the most broken-hearted, because we have the most courage to love.
Transformational leaders do discomfort.
Transformational leaders have emotional awareness – their own, and that of those around them.
(we are emotional people that sometimes think; emotion dictates behavior)…..