Often it’s far harder to take on emotional challenges like telling someone you love them, saying sorry or changing careers. Which is the main thrust of Brené Brown‘s book Daring Greatly.
You may well have heard of Brené Brown. Her TED presentation about the Power of Vulnerability has had over 3.5 million views on YouTube. You can watch it here if you want to find out more about vulnerability and have 20 minutes to invest in learning more about how being vulnerable can help you dare more.
But here I want to focus on Brown’s book Daring Greatly and its full title: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.
Because we all need courage in order to achieve our travel and adventure dreams. So how can we be more courageous? And how can being vulnerable transform our lives?
Here are some notes and quotes I jotted down from Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.
I hope these thoughts help you think about being more courageous and inspire you to read the whole book if you think it would help you more.
How to Have the Courage to be Vulnerable and Transform Your Life
1. Deal with (don’t deny) shame – We’re going to have to deal with and overcome feelings of shame if we want to dare greatly. Because shame holds a powerful hold over us and can stop us moving forward with our true values and towards our highest goals.
Just because you’ve had past failures doesn’t mean that you can’t take on new adventures.
2. “What we know matters, but who we are matters more.” – In order to be courageous we have to show our true selves. The courage to pursue physical and travel adventures won’t come until we have the courage to be vulnerable and show who we really are.
“The first step of that journey is understanding where we are, what we’re up against, and where we need to go.”
3. Expect to feel uncomfortable as you take emotional risks – It’s not easy to be honest with yourself and with other people. But dealing with feelings of discomfort, whether physical or emotional, will get easier the more we do it. And moments of discomfort will bring with them huge gains.
4. Leaders should be vulnerable too – If you’re a mother or you work you probably feel that you have to be the strong one. You may feel that you should lead the way and present an impenetrable front. But great leaders lead best when they admit that they aren’t always in charge and don’t know all the answers.
5. Don’t let shame drive your life – Feelings of shame can lead us to self-destructive behavior, from addiction to work or alcohol, to helicopter parenting or disengagement from the family. Shameful feelings, like thinking you’re a bad mother because you haven’t managed to get your daughter to eat any vegetables, or feeling like you’re a business failure because you lost one client can eat away at us.
“The expectations and messages that fuel shame keep us form fully realizing who we are as people.”
Around midlife the role playing and effort to be who we think other people want us to be becomes unbearable which is why so many people breakdown around that time.
6. Practice self-compassion – Mindfulness can help us become more aware of thoughts about shame or actions fueled by feelings of shame. You could try regular body scans, create your own mantra or read books on mindfulness to become aware of these thoughts.
If you notice that shame, pain or critical thoughts are a problem then you need to be kind to yourself and vigilant about practicing self-compassion. Sounds like you? Then find out more about self-compassion or test how self-compassionate you are.
7. Beware perfectionism – It’s exhausting. The word authentic is over-used but being true to yourself will bring inner peace and power and physical health. Remember people don’t want perfect, they want real.
8. Don’t play the shame game – If you feel ashamed yourself it’s likely that you criticize or unwittingly shame others. Be wary of that, whether it’s commonplace shaming of entire professions (teachers and lawyers are particularly vulnerable to this) or shaming a child into doing/saying or wearing something you want them to. Don’t add to the pool of shame.
9. Everyone wants to grow – So we have to be able to give and take feedback from each other. We have to normalize discomfort because growth and learning are uncomfortable. We have to learn how to give feedback in a way that inspires growth and engagement.
10. Being adventurous, creative or entrepreneurial is about being vulnerable – It’s about having a vision and daring to take charge of your life and you can’t do that without being vulnerable.
Are you daring greatly already? Have you dared greatly in the past? If you were daring greatly what would you do?
Check out Brené Brown’s books on Amazon.
Find out more about Brené Brown and her other books on her website or download a free Brené Brown manifesto or badge like the one here to help you stay on track.
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