The Gifts of Rising Strong

Photo credit: Maile Wilson

I was first introduced to Brené Brown by a friend last summer when I was having a particularly difficult time. She recommended the book The Gifts of Imperfection and recommended that I learn more about this woman who bills herself as a researcher-storyteller (in fact if you google those two words together you come up with her website).

With an introduction like that, how could I refuse?

When the opportunity arose to learn more about a thought leader whose style I wanted not only to learn more about, but to share, I immediately thought of Brené. After reading Gifts I had continued to watch several of her videos (she has done many TED talks) and to explore many of the things that she teaches – including wholehearted living, and embracing vulnerability.

For this assignment I am reading Rising Strong, published in 2017, which deals with familiar themes for Brené, including handling shame, building self-awareness in the face of stressful situations, and dealing with the stories that we tell ourselves.

In this book, as with her others, and her TED talks Brené draws from her research and filters that insight through personal and relatable stories from her own life, and the lives of those with whom she has worked over the years. She makes the material approachable, not scary, and helpful. The aim of the books is to help people who need to find a way to reset and renew their approach to their lives, and emerge from the process stronger and with a new conviction that will allow them to lead wholehearted, productive lives.

Brené does not shy away from more difficult subjects that are important to all individuals including shame, vulnerability, and self-doubt. She teaches simple and effective methods to handle each of these, through increased self-awareness, open conversation, and trust. She talks about her own struggles and how she worked through them, and offers tools for her to, notably, not avoid these same struggles, but to push through them and learn from them and even use them to emerge from them stronger than if you’d never been down those challenging paths.

Brené is an Oprah and Melinda Gates recommended leadership consultant who continues to claim that she doesn’t like the spotlight in spite of how well she does in it.

As I continue to explore her research, methods, and teachings, I hope to learn more about how to be a better leader. How to reset from challenges and emerge stronger than before. And how to rumble (her term) with the stories I tell myself and experience the revolutionary change she promises in Rising Strong.

Have you read anything by Brené Brown? If so, what did you think of it? What were your takeaways? Or, if you haven’t, what do you think about the idea of leaning into vulnerability rather than away from it as an effective tool of leadership? I’d love to hear your take.

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