Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dr. Brene Brown: Walking Her Talk

The week in "Deep Waters" we've heard from Pastor Bill Hybels, General Colin Powell and Patrick Lencioni. Each spoke at the Willow Creek Association's Global Leadership Summit, but each shared a different take on leadership.

A common thread among each of them was this: Leadership is not about me. Leadership is about inspiring others towards a passionate vision, and doing that in a way that honors, encourages and blesses them.

It's not about me.


So with that in mind, I move on to my next Summit speaker -- Dr. Brene Brown.

Dr. Brene Brown
Before I share Brene's talk, let me just say - this lady's has some serious chutzpa. She is one of the most courageous women I know. And yet, her courage is a treasure that she earned through some dark days and long nights. 

As a university research professor, Brene has spent many years studying people. And what has she studied primarily?

Vulnerability. Shame. Worthiness. Authenticity. Courage.

Well as fate would have it, Brene morphed from professor to student after completing her first TED Talk. She'd spoken on "The Power of Vulnerability", and afterwards found herself slammed with criticism and scorn by others. 

People criticized not only her talk, but they ridiculed her for her weight and her looks. She was crushed. Devastated. Ashamed.

So she did what most hopeless people do. She burrowed into her cozy comforter and refused to get out bed.

Thankfully, with a healthy dose of love and encouragement from friends and family -- and some amazing inspiration from someone long gone -- Brene stepped one foot out of bed, then two. And she began to live out all the research and truth she'd already discovered. 

She even did another must-see TED Talk.

Through her own vulnerability and authenticity, she learned to overcome shame. She discovered her worthiness. She embraced courage she didn't even know she had.

And she's teaching many others to do the same. I felt privileged to be one of her students at the Summit.

Her three major points were:
  • We all need to be seen and loved
  • We all need to belong
  • We all need to be brave
If you've read my previous Summit posts, you're probably hearing some running themes here. 

When speaking of leadership, Brene encouraged leaders to be vulnerable and authentic with others, even their subordinates. 

Loved this quote from her: "The model of a leader as 'The Great Oz,' all-knowing, all powerful -- that dance is up..."


Earlier I mentioned that during her time wallowing in shame and despair, Brene found inspiration from someone long gone. I want to share that inspiration with you today - from President Theodore Roosevelt:
"It's not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;' but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
And this, my Friend, gave Dr. Brene Brown the courage to get out of her bed of mourning and get back out into the "arena."

So what about you? Will you remain in the stands or get out into the arena? Will you spend yourself on a worthy cause? Will you, at best know triumph in the end, and at worst, "fail while daring greatly?"

Will you?

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