Happy New Month!
It’s September once again….time certainly flies when you are having fun! I love September as it my 🎂🎂birthday month 🎂🎂(hurrah!!) and the this time of year really signifies new seasons, new starts and new horizons!
This post is a little different to my usual beauty features, but I was keen to share about one of the books that I have recently read, that has inspired me to strive to live a full and purpose-filled life!
As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the things that I am proud of completing this year is the Leadership College London course. This is year long course is designed for emerging leaders from every sphere of society: politics, business, fashion, design to name a few. If you have a calling to be influential in your specialty area and are looking to be stretched and sharpened, I would highly recommend it!
Expanding my knowledge base and my resources to develop my leadership skills and over all potential was a key draw to signing up for the course and we did indeed receive an extensive reading list! One author that was on the list was Dr. Brené Brown and I am mighty glad to have been introduced to her work!
Brown gave a TEDx talk in her home town of Houston in 2010 – a talk that catapulted her into the limelight. Entitled ‘The Power of Vulnerability‘, it is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world, with over 25 million viewers.
After watching her TEDx talk, I went on to read her New York Times #1 bestselling book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead in March of this year and I believe that it is an ideal read for the new season.
The phrase “daring greatly” refers to a speech that US President Theodore Roosevelt gave in 1910.
Brown unpacks this quote eloquently throughout the book, which is backed up by her ten plus years of research. There are a number of themes and insights that I found impactful, especially the themes of ‘Becoming Real, the ‘Tightrope and the Safety Net‘ and ‘Normalising Discomfort‘ – all of which have challenged me to lead and live better.
1. Becoming Real
‘Being Real’ or leading/living out of who you authentically are seems to be a prerequisite for a successful and purpose filled life and I loved this excerpt from Brown’s book that quotes a passage from the children’s book The Velveteen Rabbit:
This resonated with me so much. Becoming ‘real’ and at peace with oneself will be at times be painful, but the love and support of those who are your champions will ensure that you feel valued even if the ‘you’ you are is often misunderstood by others.
2. The tight rope/safety net
In the her book, Brown also encourages the reader to bring their ‘whole selves’ to any situation and to ‘be present’. However, this does come with a risk, as opening up and showcasing who you are leaves you open to the variety of responses from those around you. I found this excerpt to be really helpful in navigating theese responses and managing relationships with others:
Mastering the tightrope/safety net balance is key. We are worth this. It is only when we are whole that we can then give wholeheartedly to others.
3. Normalising discomfort
I was under no illusion that stepping out to lead is uncomfortable prior to reading this book….
….but as the above excerpt states, the absence of discomfort often leads to a lack of drive and success and can be a good indicator that one’s leadership/potential is not being stretched. “In our culture,” teaches Brown, “we associate vulnerability with emotions we want to avoid such as fear, shame, and uncertainty. Yet we too often lose sight of the fact that vulnerability is also the birthplace of joy, belonging, creativity, authenticity, and love”.
Brown talks about the importance of ‘normalising discomfort’ below:
It turns out discomfort is not about instability, it’s about learning.
I am sure that we have all felt it at some point; a fear of trying something new that turns out to be awesomely fun or a fear of saying something honest that, when you finally do, unburdens your heart and leads to deeper intimacy.
So here’s to discomfort and the courage to be vulnerable and to becoming our better selves for the remainder of the year!