Book: “Daring Greatly”

Daring Greatly“Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” by Brené Brown

This book has some deep insights that explains the mechanics of vulnerability and how some people able to respond life challenges in ways that lead to better outcome. If you don’t want to read through 300+ pages, you can watch this TED video and this TED video instead. Below are some of quotes I noted:

  • “Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.”
  • “Connection is why we’re here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering. “
  • “In The Gifts of Imperfection, I defined ten “guideposts” for Wholehearted living that point to what the Wholehearted work to cultivate and what they work to let go of:
    1.Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think
    2.Cultivating Self-Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism
    3.Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
    4.Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
    5.Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
    6.Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison
    7.Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth
    8.Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
    9.Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self-Doubt and “Supposed To”
    10.Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and “Always in Control””
  • “Those who feel lovable, who love, and who experience belonging simply believe they are worthy of love and belonging.”
  • “If we want to reignite innovation and passion, we have to rehumanize work. When shame becomes a management style, engagement dies. When failure is not an option we can forget about learning, creativity, and innovation.”
  • “I’ve found that what makes children happy doesn’t always prepare them to be courageous, engaged adults.”
  • “when I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary”
  • “vulnerability and worthiness: facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough.”
  • “Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.”
  • “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
  • “I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. With that definition in mind, let’s think about love. Waking up every day and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can’t ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moment’s notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow—that’s vulnerability.”
  • “If we want to reclaim the essential emotional part of our lives and reignite our passion and purpose, we have to learn how to own and engage with our vulnerability and how to feel the emotions that come with it.”
  • “Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them.”
  • “What I’ve found through research is that trust is built in very small moments, which I call ‘sliding door’ moments, after the movie Sliding Doors. In any interaction, there is a possibility of connecting with your partner or turning away from your partner.”
  • “Disengagement triggers shame and our greatest fears—the fears of being abandoned, unworthy, and unlovable.”
  • “Only when we’re brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
  • “If we want to be fully engaged, to be connected, we have to be vulnerable. In order to be vulnerable, we need to develop resilience to shame.”
  • “If you want a culture of creativity and innovation, where sensible risks are embraced on both a market and individual level, start by developing the ability of managers to cultivate an openness to vulnerability in their teams. And this, paradoxically perhaps, requires first that they are vulnerable themselves.”
  • “Shame becomes fear. Fear leads to risk aversion. Risk aversion kills innovation.”
  • “If we want to be able to move through the difficult disappointments, the hurt feelings, and the heartbreaks that are inevitable in a fully lived life, we can’t equate defeat with being unworthy of love, belonging, and joy.”
  • “Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.”
  • “Guilt = I did something bad.
    Shame = I am bad.”
  • “We live in a world where most people still subscribe to the belief that shame is a good tool for keeping people in line. Not only is this wrong, but it’s dangerous. Shame is highly correlated with addiction, violence, aggression, depression, eating disorders, and bullying.”
  • Carl Jung said, “I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”
  • “empathy conveys a simple acknowledgment, ‘You’re not alone.'”
  • “We’re hard on each other because we’re using each other as a launching pad out of our own perceived shaming deficiency. It’s hurtful and ineffective”
  • “We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection.”
  • “If we’re going to find our way out of shame and back to each other, vulnerability is the path and courage is the light.”
  • “I am enough (worthiness versus shame).
    • I’ve had enough (boundaries versus one-uping and comparison).
    • Showing up, taking risks, and letting myself be seen is enough (engagement versus disengagement).”
  • “shudder of vulnerability that accompanies joy is an invitation to practice gratitude, to acknowledge how truly grateful we are for the person, the beauty, the connection, or simply the moment before us.”
  • “Participants described happiness as an emotion that’s connected to circumstances, and they described joy as a spiritual way of engaging with the world that’s connected to practicing gratitude.”
  • “Joy comes to us in moments—ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.”
  • “Be grateful for what you have.”
  • “self-compassion has three elements: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.”
    “• Self-kindness: Being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism.
    • Common humanity: Common humanity recognizes that suffering and feelings of personal inadequacy are part of the shared human experience—something we all go through rather than something that happens to “me” alone.
    • Mindfulness: Taking a balanced approach to negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated.”
  • See also
  • “Connection: Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment.
    Belonging: Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us.”
  • “true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
  • “Living a connected life ultimately is about setting boundaries, spending less time and energy hustling and winning over people who don’t matter, and seeing the value of working on cultivating connection with family and close friends.”
  • “When we treat people as objects, we dehumanize them. We do something really terrible to their souls and to our own.”
  • “cultivating trust and connection in relationships as a prerequisite for trying on a less-combative way of engaging with the world.”
  • “When we stop caring about what people think, we lose our capacity for connection. When we become defined by what people think, we lose our willingness to be vulnerable. If we dismiss all the criticism, we lose out on important feedback, but if we subject ourselves to the hatefulness, our spirits get crushed. It’s a tightrope, shame resilience is the balance bar, and the safety net below is the one or two people in our lives who can help us reality-check the criticism and cynicism.”
  • “Culture is the way we do things around here.”
  • To find out culture of an organization:
    “1.What behaviors are rewarded? Punished?
    2.Where and how are people actually spending their resources (time, money, attention)?
    3.What rules and expectations are followed, enforced, and ignored?
    4.Do people feel safe and supported talking about how they feel and asking for what they need?
    5.What are the sacred cows? Who is most likely to tip them? Who stands the cows back up?
    6.What stories are legend and what values do they convey?
    7.What happens when someone fails, disappoints, or makes a mistake?
    8.How is vulnerability (uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure) perceived?
    9.How prevalent are shame and blame and how are they showing up?
    10.What’s the collective tolerance for discomfort? Is the discomfort of learning, trying new things, and giving and receiving feedback normalized, or is there a high premium put on comfort (and how does that look)?”
  • “a leader is anyone who holds her- or himself accountable for finding potential in people and processes.”
  • “What’s the most significant barrier to creativity and innovation?
  • “Kevin thought about it for a minute and said, ‘I don’t know if it has a name, but honestly, it’s the fear of introducing an idea and being ridiculed, laughed at, and belittled. If you’re willing to subject yourself to that experience, and if you survive it, then it becomes the fear of failure and the fear of being wrong. People believe they’re only as good as their ideas and that their ideas can’t seem too ‘out there’ and they can’t ‘not know’ everything. The problem is that innovative ideas often sound crazy and failure and learning are part of revolution. Evolution and incremental change is important and we need it, but we’re desperate for real revolution and that requires a different type of courage and creativity.'”
  • “Shame can only rise so far in any system before people disengage to protect themselves. When we’re disengaged, we don’t show up, we don’t contribute, and we stop caring.”
  • “The four best strategies for building shame-resilient organizations are:
    1.Supporting leaders who are willing to dare greatly and facilitate honest conversations about shame and cultivate shame-resilient cultures.
    2.Facilitating a conscientious effort to see where shame might be functioning in the organization and how it might even be creeping into the way we engage with our co-workers and students.
    3.Normalizing is a critical shame-resilience strategy. Leaders and managers can cultivate engagement by helping people know what to expect. What are common struggles? How have other people dealt with them? What have your experiences been?
    4.Training all employees on the differences between shame and guilt, and teaching them how to give and receive feedback in a way that fosters growth and engagement.”
  • “Without feedback there can be no transformative change.”
  • “Engaged Feedback Checklist:
    I know I’m ready to give feedback when:
    I’m ready to sit next to you rather than across from you;
    I’m willing to put the problem in front of us rather than between us (or sliding it toward you);
    I’m ready to listen, ask questions, and accept that I may not fully understand the issue;
    I want to acknowledge what you do well instead of picking apart your mistakes;
    I recognize your strengths and how you can use them to address your challenges;
    I can hold you accountable without shaming or blaming you;
    I’m willing to own my part;
    I can genuinely thank you for your efforts rather than criticize you for your failings;
    I can talk about how resolving these challenges will lead to your growth and opportunity; and
    I can model the vulnerability and openness that I expect to see from you.
    You can find a printed copy of this checklist on my website (”
  • “When you shut down vulnerability, you shut down opportunity.”
  • “By definition, entrepreneurship is vulnerable. It’s all about the ability to handle and manage uncertainty. People are constantly changing, budgets change, boards change, and competition means you have to stay nimble and innovative. You have to create a vision and live up to that vision. There is no vision without vulnerability.”
  • “Success requires entrepreneurs to cultivate strong support networks and good mentors. You need to learn how to shut out the noise so you can get clear on how you feel and what you think, and then you do the hard work. No question—it’s all about vulnerability.”
  • “Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead. This scarcity makes leadership valuable.…It’s uncomfortable to stand up in front of strangers. It’s uncomfortable to propose an idea that might fail. It’s uncomfortable to challenge the status quo. It’s uncomfortable to resist the urge to settle. When you identify the discomfort, you’ve found the place where a leader is needed. If you’re not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader.”
  • “When we shame and label our children, we take away their opportunity to grow and try on new behaviors. If a child tells a lie, she can change that behavior. If she is a liar—where’s the potential for change in that?”
  • “Basically, we can’t raise children who are more shame resilient than we are.”
  • “You can’t claim to care about the welfare of children if you’re shaming other parents for the choices they’re making.”
  • “one of the best ways to show our children that our love for them is unconditional is to make sure they know they belong in our families.”
  • “Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be in order to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”
  • “quote about darkness and compassion from Pema Chödrön, who writes: ‘Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.'”
  • “Hope is a function of struggle. If we want our children to develop high levels of hopefulness, we have to let them struggle.”
  • “hope isn’t an emotion; it’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process.”
  • “hope happens when:
    • We have the ability to set realistic goals (I know where I want to go).
    • We are able to figure out how to achieve those goals, including the ability to stay flexible and develop alternative routes (I know how to get there, I’m persistent, and I can tolerate disappointment and try again).
    • We believe in ourselves (I can do this!).”

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