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Daring Greatly / (by Brene Brown, 2015) -

Daring Greatly /   (by Brene Brown, 2015) -

Daring Greatly / (by Brene Brown, 2015) -

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Daring Greatly / (by Brene Brown, 2015) -
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2015
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Brene Brown
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Karen White
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upper-intermediate
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08:31:30
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64 kbps
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mp3, pdf, doc

Daring Greatly / :

.doc (Word) brene_brown_-_daring_greatly.doc [1.87 Mb] (c: 11) .
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audiobook (MP3) .


: Daring Greatly

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To Steve You make the world a better place and me a braver person. WHAT IT MEANS TO DARE GREATLY THE phrase Daring Greatly is from Theodore Roosevelts speech Citizenship in a Republic. The speech, sometimes referred to as The Man in the Arena, was delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, on April 23, 1910. This is the passage that made the speech famous: It is 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 high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. The first time I read this quote, I thought, This is vulnerability. Everything Ive learned from over a decade of research on vulnerability has taught me this exact lesson. Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, its understanding the necessity of both; its engaging. Its being all in. Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. 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. When we spend our lives waiting until were perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make. Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they dont exist in the human experience. We must walk into the arena, whatever it may bea new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversationwith courage and the willingness to engage. Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly. Join me as we explore the answers to these questions: What drives our fear of being vulnerable? How are we protecting ourselves from vulnerability? What price are we paying when we shut down and disengage? How do we own and engage with vulnerability so we can start transforming the way we live, love, parent, and lead? INTRODUCTION: MY ADVENTURES IN THE ARENA I looked right at her and said, I frickin hate vulnerability. I figured shes a therapistIm sure shes had tougher cases. Plus, the sooner she knows what shes dealing with, the faster we can get this whole therapy thing wrapped up. I hate uncertainty. I hate not knowing. I cant stand opening myself to getting hurt or being disappointed. Its excruciating. Vulnerability is complicated. And its excruciating. Do you know what I mean? Diana nods. Yes, I know vulnerability. I know it well. Its an exquisite emotion. Then she looks up and kind of smiles, as if shes picturing something really beautiful. Im sure I look confused because I cant imagine what shes picturing. Im suddenly concerned for her well-being and my own. I said it was excruciating, not exquisite, I point out. And let me say this for the record, if my research didnt link being vulnerable with living a Wholehearted life, I wouldnt be here. I hate how it makes me feel. What does it feel like? Like Im coming out of my skin. Like I need to fix whatevers happening and make it better. And if you cant? Then I feel like punching someone in the face. And do you? No. Of course not. So what do you do? Clean the house. Eat peanut butter. Blame people. Make everything around me perfect. Control whatever I canwhatevers not nailed down. When do you feel the most vulnerable? When Im in fear. I look up as Diana responds with that annoying pause and head-nodding done by therapists to draw us out. When Im anxious and unsure about how things are going to go, or if Im having a difficult conversation, or if Im trying something new or doing something that makes me uncomfortable or opens me up to criticism or judgment. Another annoying pause as the empathic nodding continues. When I think about how much I love my kids and Steve, and how my life would be over if something happened to them. When I see the people I care about struggling, and I cant fix it or make it better. All I can do is be with them. I see. I feel it when Im scared that things are too good. Or too scary. Id really like for it to be exquisite, but right now its just excruciating. Can people change that? Yes, I believe they can. Can you give me some homework or something? Should I review the data? No data and no homework. No assignments or gold stars in here. Less thinking. More feeling. Can I get to exquisite without having to feel really vulnerable in the process? No. Well, shit. Thats just awesome. If you dont know anything about me from my other books, my blog, or the TED videos that have gone viral online, let me catch you up. If, on the other hand, youre already a little queasy from the mention of a therapist, skip this chapter entirely and go straight to the appendix about my research process. I have spent my entire life trying to outrun and outsmart vulnerability. Im a fifth-generation Texan with a family motto of lock and load, so I come by my aversion to uncertainty and emotional exposure honestly (and genetically). By middle school, which is the time when most of us begin to wrestle with vulnerability, I began to develop and hone my vulnerability-avoidance skills. Over time I tried everything from the good girl with my perform-perfect-please routine, to clove-smoking poet, angry activist, corporate climber, and out-of-control party girl. At first glance these may seem like reasonable, if not predictable, developmental stages, but they were more than that for me. All of my stages were different suits of armor that kept me from becoming too engaged and too vulnerable. Each strategy was built on the same premise: Keep everyone at a safe distance and always have an exit strategy. Along with my fear of vulnerability, I also inherited a huge heart and ready empathy. So, in my late twenties, I left a management position at ATandT, got a job waiting tables and bartending, and went back to school to become a social worker. When I met with my boss at ATandT to resign, Ill never forget her response: Let me guess. Youre leaving to become a social worker or an MTV VJ on Headbangers Ball? Like many of the folks drawn to social work, I liked the idea of fixing people and systems. By the time I was done with my bachelors degree (BSW) and was finishing my masters degree (MSW), though, I had realized that social work wasnt about fixing. It was and is all about contextualizing and leaning in. Social work is all about leaning into the discomfort of ambiguity and uncertainty, and holding open an empathic space so people can find their own way. In a wordmessy. As I struggled to figure out how I could ever make a career in social work actually work, I was riveted by a statement from one of my research professors: If you cant measure it, it doesnt exist. He explained that unlike our other classes in the program, research was all about prediction and control. I was smitten. You mean that rather than leaning and holding, I could spend my career predicting and controlling? I had found my calling. The surest thing I took away from my BSW, MSW, and Ph.D. in social work is this: Connection is why were here. We are hardwired to connect with others, its what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering. I wanted to develop research that explained the anatomy of connection. Studying connection was a simple idea, but before I knew it, I had been hijacked by my research participants who, when asked to talk about their most important relationships and experiences of connection, kept telling me about heartbreak, betrayal, and shamethe fear of not being worthy of real connection. We humans have a tendency to define things by what they are not. This is especially true of our emotional experiences. By accident, then, I became a shame and empathy researcher, spending six years developing a theory that explains what shame is, how it works, and how we cultivate resilience in the face of believing that were not enoughthat were not worthy of love and belonging. In 2006 I realized that in addition to understanding shame, I had to understand the flip side: What do the people who are the most resilient to shame, who believe in their worthinessI call these people the Wholeheartedhave in common? I hoped like hell that the answer to this question would be: They are shame researchers. To be Wholehearted, you have to know a lot about shame. But I was wrong. Understanding shame is only one variable that contributes to Wholeheartedness, a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness. 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 SelfWorth 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 As I analyzed the data, I realized that I was about two for ten in my own life when in comes to Wholehearted living. That was personally devastating. This happened a few weeks before my fortyfirst birthday and sparked my midlife unraveling. As it turns out, getting an intellectual handle on these issues isnt the same as living and loving with your whole heart. I have written in great detail in The Gifts of Imperfection about what it means to be Wholehearted and about the breakdown spiritual awakening that ensued from this realization. But what I want to do here is to share the definition of Wholehearted living and share the five most important themes that emerged from the data and which led me to the breakthroughs I share in this book. It will give you an idea of whats ahead: Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. Its going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesnt change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging. This definition is based on these fundamental ideals: 1.Love and belonging are irreducible needs of all men, women, and children. Were hardwired for connectionits what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The absence of love, belonging, and connection always leads to suffering. 2.If you roughly divide the men and women Ive interviewed into two groupsthose who feel a deep sense of love and belonging, and those who struggle for ittheres only one variable that separates the groups: Those who feel lovable, who love, and who experience belonging simply believe they are worthy of love and belonging. They dont have better or easier lives, they dont have fewer struggles with addiction or depression, and they havent survived fewer traumas or bankruptcies or divorces, but in the midst of all of these struggles, they have developed practices that enable them to hold on to the belief that they are worthy of love, belonging, and even joy. 3.A strong belief in our worthiness doesnt just happenits cultivated when we understand the guideposts as choices and daily practices. 4.The main concern of Wholehearted men and women is living a life defined by courage, compassion, and connection. 5.The Wholehearted identify vulnerability as the catalyst for courage, compassion, and connection. In fact, the willingness to be vulnerable emerged as the single clearest value shared by all of the women and men whom I would describe as Wholehearted. They attribute everythingfrom their professional success to their marriages to their proudest parenting momentsto their ability to be vulnerable. I had written about vulnerability in my earlier books; in fact, theres even a chapter on it in my dissertation. From the very beginning of my investigations, embracing vulnerability emerged as an important category. I also understood the relationships between vulnerability and the other emotions that Ive studied. But in those previous books, I assumed that the relationships between vulnerability and different constructs like shame, belonging, and worthiness were coincidence. Only after twelve years of dropping deeper and deeper into this work did I finally understand the role it plays in our lives. Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences. This new information created a major dilemma for me personally: On the one hand, how can you talk about the importance of vulnerability in an honest and meaningful way without being vulnerable? On the other hand, how can you be vulnerable without sacrificing your legitimacy as a researcher? To be honest, I think emotional accessibility is a shame trigger for researchers and academics. Very early in our training, we are taught that a cool distance and inaccessibility contribute to prestige, and that if youre too relatable, your credentials come into question. While being called pedantic is an insult in most settings, in the ivory tower were taught to wear the pedantic label like a suit of armor. How could I risk being really vulnerable and tell stories about my own messy journey through this research without looking like a total flake? What about my professional armor? My moment to dare greatly, as Theodore Roosevelt once urged citizens to do, came in June 2010 when I was invited to speak at TEDxHouston. TEDxHouston is one of many independently organized events modeled after TEDa nonprofit addressing the worlds of Technology, Entertainment, and Design that is devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. TED and TEDx organizers bring together the worlds most fascinating thinkers and doers and challenge them to give the talk of their life in eighteen minutes or less. The TEDxHouston curators were unlike any event organizers Ive known. Bringing in a shameand-vulnerability researcher makes most organizers a little nervous and compels a few to get somewhat prescriptive about the content of the talk. When I asked the TEDx people what they wanted me to talk about, they responded, We love your work. Talk about whatever makes you feel awesome do your thing. Were grateful to share the day with you. Actually, Im not sure how they made the decision to let me do my thing, because before that talk I wasnt aware of having a thing. I loved the freedom of that invitation and I hated it. I was back straddling the tension between leaning into the discomfort and finding refuge in my old friends, prediction and control. I decided to go for it. Truthfully, I had no idea what I was getting into. My decision to dare greatly didnt stem from self-confidence as much as it did from faith in my research. I know Im a good researcher, and I trusted that the conclusions I had drawn from the data were valid and reliable. Vulnerability would take me where I wanted or maybe needed to go. I also convinced myself that it wasnt really a big deal: Its Houston, a hometown crowd. Worst-case scenario, five hundred people plus a few watching the live streaming will think Im a nut. The morning after the talk, I woke up with one of the worst vulnerability hangovers of my life. You know that feeling when you wake up and everything feels fine until the memory of laying yourself open washes over you and you want to hide under the covers? What did I do? Five hundred people officially think Im crazy and it totally sucks. I forgot to mention two important things. Did I actually have a slide with the word breakdown on it to reinforce the story that I shouldnt have told in the first place? I must leave town. But there was nowhere to run. Six months after the talk, I received an e-mail from the curators of TEDxHouston congratulating me because my talk was going to be featured on the main TED website. I knew that was a good thing, a coveted honor even, but I was terrified. First, I was just settling into the idea of only five hundred people thinking Im crazy. Second, in a culture full of critics and cynics, I had always felt safer in my career flying right under the radar. Looking back, Im not sure how I would have responded to that e-mail had I known that having a video go viral on vulnerability and the importance of letting ourselves be seen would leave me feeling so uncomfortably (and ironically) vulnerable and exposed. Today that talk is one of the most viewed on TED.com, with more than five million hits and translation available in thirty-eight languages. Ive never watched it. Im glad I did it, but it still makes me feel really uncomfortable. The way I see it, 2010 was the year of the TEDxHouston talk, and 2011 was the year of walking the talkliterally. I crisscrossed the country speaking to groups ranging from Fortune 500 companies, leadership coaches, and the military, to lawyers, parenting groups, and school districts. In 2012, I was invited to give another talk at the main TED conference in Long Beach, California. For me the 2012 talk was my opportunity to share the work that has literally been the foundation and springboard for all of my researchI talked about shame and how we have to understand it and work through it if we really want to dare greatly. The experience of sharing my research led me to write this book. After discussions with my publisher about the possibility of a business book and/or a parenting book, plus a book for teachers, I realized that there only needed to be one book because no matter where I went or with whom I was speaking, the core issues were the same: fear, disengagement, and yearning for more courage. My corporate talks almost always focus on inspired leadership or creativity and innovation. The most significant problems that everyone from C-level executives to the frontline folks talk to me about stem from disengagement, the lack of feedback, the fear of staying relevant amid rapid change, and the need for clarity of purpose. 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. When it comes to parenting, the practice of framing mothers and fathers as good or bad is both rampant and corrosiveit turns parenting into a shame minefield. The real questions for parents should be: Are you engaged? Are you paying attention? If so, plan to make lots of mistakes and bad decisions. Imperfect parenting moments turn into gifts as our children watch us try to figure out what went wrong and how we can do better next time. The mandate is not to be perfect and raise happy children. Perfection doesnt exist, and Ive found that what makes children happy doesnt always prepare them to be courageous, engaged adults. The same is true for schools. I havent encountered a single problem that isnt attributed to some combination of parental, teacher, administrative, and/or student disengagement and the clash of competing stakeholders vying to define one purpose. I have found that the most difficult and most rewarding challenge of my work is how to be both a mapmaker and a traveler. My maps, or theories, on shame resilience, Wholeheartedness, and vulnerability have not been drawn from the experiences of my own travels, but from the data Ive collected over the past dozen yearsthe experiences of thousands of men and women who are forging paths in the direction that I, and many others, want to take our lives. Over the years Ive learned that a surefooted and confident mapmaker does not a swift traveler make. I stumble and fall, and I constantly find myself needing to change course. And even though Im trying to follow a map that Ive drawn, there are many times when frustration and self-doubt take over, and I wad up that map and shove it into the junk drawer in my kitchen. Its not an easy journey from excruciating to exquisite, but for me its been worth every step. What we all share in commonwhat Ive spent the past several years talking to leaders, parents, and educators aboutis the truth that forms the very core of this book: What we know matters, but who we are matters more. Being rather than knowing requires showing up and letting ourselves be seen. It requires us to dare greatly, to be vulnerable. The first step of that journey is understanding where we are, what were up against, and where we need to go. I think we can best do that by examining our pervasive Never Enough culture. CHAPTER 1 SCARCITY: LOOKING INSIDE OUR CULTURE OF NEVER ENOUGH After doing this work for the past twelve years and watching scarcity ride roughshod over our families, organizations, and communities, Id say the one thing we have in common is that were sick of feeling afraid. We want to dare greatly. Were tired of the national conversation centering on What should we fear? and Who should we blame? We all want to be brave. YOU cant swing a cat without hitting a narcissist. Granted, it wasnt my most eloquent moment onstage. It also wasnt my intention to offend anyone, but when Im really fired up or frustrated, I tend to revert back to the language instilled in me by the generations of Texans who came before me. I swing cats, things get stuck in my craw, and Im frequently fixin to come undone. These regressions normally happen at home or when Im with family and friends, but occasionally, when Im feeling ornery, they slip out onstage. Ive heard and used the swinging-cat expression my entire life, and it didnt dawn on me that more than a few of the thousand members of the audience were picturing me knocking over self-important folks with an actual feline. In my defense, while responding to numerous e-mails sent by audience members who thought animal cruelty was inconsistent with my message of vulnerability and connection, I did learn that the expression has nothing to do with animals. Its actually a British Navy reference to the difficulty of using a cat-o-nine-tails in the tight quarters of a ship. I know. Not so great either. In this particular instance, the cat-swinging was triggered when a woman from the audience shouted out, The kids today think theyre so special. Whats turning so many people into narcissists? My less-than-stellar response verged on smart-alecky: Yeah. You cant swing a cat without hitting a narcissist. But it stemmed from a frustration that I still feel when I hear the term narcissism thrown around. Facebook is so narcissistic. Why do people think what theyre doing is so important? The kids today are all narcissists. Its always me, me, me. My boss is such a narcissist. She thinks shes better than everyone and is always putting other people down. And while laypeople are using narcissism as a catchall diagnosis for everything from arrogance to rude behavior, researchers and helping professionals are testing the concepts elasticity in every way imaginable. Recently a group of researchers conducted a computer analysis of three decades of hit songs. The researchers reported a statistically significant trend toward narcissism and hostility in popular music. In line with their hypothesis, they found a decrease in usages such as we and us and an increase in I and me. The researchers also reported a decline in words related to social connection and positive emotions, and an increase in words related to anger and antisocial behavior, such as hate or kill. Two of the researchers from that study, Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell, authors of the book The Narcissism Epidemic, argue that the incidence of narcissistic personality disorder has more than doubled in the United States in the last ten years. Relying on yet another fine saying from my grandmother, it feels like the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Or is it? Are we surrounded by narcissists? Have we turned into a culture of self-absorbed, grandiose people who are only interested in power, success, beauty, and being special? Are we so entitled that we actually believe that were superior even when were not really contributing or achieving anything of value? Is it true that we lack the necessary empathy to be compassionate, connected people? If youre like me, youre probably wincing a bit and thinking, Yes. This is exactly the problem. Not with me, of course. But in generalthis sounds about right! It feels good to have an explanation, especially one that conveniently makes us feel better about ourselves and places the blame on those people. In fact, whenever I hear people making the narcissism argument, its normally served with a side of contempt, anger, and judgment. Ill be honest, I even felt those emotions when I was writing that paragraph. Our first inclination is to cure the narcissists by cutting them down to size. It doesnt matter if Im talking to teachers, parents, CEOs, or my neighbors, the response is the same: These egomaniacs need to know that theyre not special, theyre not that great, theyre not entitled to jack, and they need to get over themselves. No one cares. (This is the G-rated version.) Heres where it gets tricky. And frustrating. And maybe even a little heartbreaking. The topic of narcissism has penetrated the social consciousness enough that most people correctly associate it with a pattern of behaviors that include grandiosity, a pervasive need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. What almost no one understands is how every level of severity in this diagnosis is underpinned by shame. Which means we dont fix it by cutting people down to size and reminding folks of their inadequacies and smallness. Shame is more likely to be the cause of these behaviors, not the cure. LOOKING AT NARCISSISM THROUGH THE LENS OF VULNERABILITY Diagnosing and labeling people whose struggles are more environmental or learned than genetic or organic is often far more detrimental to healing and change than it is helpful. And when we have an epidemic on our hands, unless were talking about something physically contagious, the cause is much more likely to be environmental than a hardwiring issue. Labeling the problem in a way that makes it about who people are rather than the choices theyre making lets all of us off the hook: Too bad. Thats who I am. Im a huge believer in holding people accountable for their behaviors, so Im not talking about blaming the system here. Im talking about understanding the root cause so we can address the problems. Its often helpful to recognize patterns of behaviors and to understand what those patterns may indicate, but thats far different from becoming defined by a diagnosis, which is something I believe, and that the research shows, often exacerbates shame and prevents people from seeking help. We need to understand these trends and influences, but I find it far more helpful, and even transformative in many instances, to look at the patterns of behaviors through the lens of vulnerability. For example, when I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shamebased fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose. Sometimes the simple act of humanizing problems sheds an important light on them, a light that often goes out the minute a stigmatizing label is applied. This new definition of narcissism offers clarity and it illuminates both the source of the problem and possible solutions. I can see exactly how and why more people are wrestling with how to believe they are enough. I see the cultural messaging everywhere that says that an ordinary life is a meaningless life. And I see how kids that grow up on a steady diet of reality television, celebrity culture, and unsupervised social media can absorb this messaging and develop a completely skewed sense of the world. I am only as good as the number of likes I get on Facebook or Instagram. Because we are all vulnerable to the messaging that drives these behaviors, this new lens takes away the us-versus-those-damn-narcissists element. I know the yearning to believe that what Im doing matters and how easy it is to confuse that with the drive to be extraordinary. I know how seductive it is to use the celebrity culture yardstick to measure the smallness of our lives. And I also understand how grandiosity, entitlement, and admiration-seeking feel like just the right balm to soothe the ache of being too ordinary and inadequate. Yes, these thoughts and behaviors ultimately cause more pain and lead to more disconnection, but when were hurting and when love and belonging are hanging in the balance, we reach for what we think will offer us the most protection. There are certainly instances when a diagnosis might be necessary if we are to find the right treatment, but I cant think of one example where we dont benefit by also examining the struggle through the lens of vulnerability. Something can always be learned when we consider these questions: 1.What are the messages and expectations that define our culture and how does culture influence our behaviors? 2.How are our struggles and behaviors related to protecting ourselves? 3.How are our behaviors, thoughts, and emotions related to vulnerability and the need for a strong sense of worthiness? If we go back to the earlier question of whether or not were surrounded by people with narcissistic personality disorder, my answer is no. There is a powerful cultural influence at play right now, and I think the fear of being ordinary is a part of it, but I also think it goes deeper than that. To find the source, we have to pan out past the name-calling and labeling. Weve had the vulnerability lens zoomed in here on a few specific behaviors, but if we pull out as wide as we can, the view changes. We dont lose sight of the problems weve been discussing, but we see them as part of a larger landscape. This allows us to accurately identify the greatest cultural influence of our timethe environment that not only explains what everyone is calling a narcissism epidemic, but also provides a panoramic view of the thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that are slowly changing who we are and how we live, love, work, lead, parent, govern, teach, and connect with one another. This environment Im talking about is our culture of scarcity. SCARCITY: THE NEVER-ENOUGH PROBLEM A critical aspect of my work is finding language that accurately represents the data and deeply resonates with participants. I know Im off when people look as if theyre pretending to get it, or if they respond to my terms and definitions with huh or sounds interesting. Given the topics I study, I know that Im onto something when folks look away, quickly cover their faces with their hands, or respond with ouch, shut up, or get out of my head. The last is normally how people respond when they hear or see the phrase: Never ________________ enough. It only takes a few seconds before people fill in the blanks with their own tapes: Never good enough Never perfect enough Never thin enough Never powerful enough Never successful enough Never smart enough Never certain enough Never safe enough Never extraordinary enough We get scarcity because we live it. One of my very favorite writers on scarcity is global activist and fund-raiser Lynne Twist. In her book The Soul of Money, she refers to scarcity as the great lie. She writes: For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is I didnt get enough sleep. The next one is I dont have enough time. Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we dont have enough of.Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, were already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds are racing with a litany of what we didnt get, or didnt get done, that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to that reverie of lack.This internal condition of scarcity, this mind-set of scarcity, lives at the very heart of our jealousies, our greed, our prejudice, and our arguments with life.(4345). Scarcity is the never enough problem. The word scarce is from the Old Norman French scars, meaning restricted in quantity (c. 1300). Scarcity thrives in a culture where everyone is hyperaware of lack. Everything from safety and love to money and resources feels restricted or lacking. We spend inordinate amounts of time calculating how much we have, want, and dont have, and how much everyone else has, needs, and wants. What makes this constant assessing and comparing so self-defeating is that we are often comparing our lives, our marriages, our families, and our communities to unattainable, media-driven visions of perfection, or were holding up our reality against our own fictional account of how great someone else has it. Nostalgia is also a dangerous form of comparison. Think about how often we compare ourselves and our lives to a memory that nostalgia has so completely edited that it never really existed: Remember when? Those were the days THE SOURCE OF SCARCITY Scarcity doesnt take hold in a culture overnight. But the feeling of scarcity does thrive in shameprone cultures that are deeply steeped in comparison and fractured by disengagement. (By a shameprone culture, I dont mean that were ashamed of our collective identity, but that there are enough of us struggling with the issue of worthiness that its shaping the culture.) Over the past decade, Ive witnessed major shifts in the zeitgeist of our country. Ive seen it in the data, and honestly, Ive seen it in the faces of the people I meet, interview, and talk to. The world has never been an easy place, but the past decade has been traumatic for so many people that its made changes in our culture. From 9/11, multiple wars, and the recession, to catastrophic natural disasters and the increase in random violence and school shootings, weve survived and are surviving events that have torn at our sense of safety with such force that weve experienced them as trauma even if we werent directly involved. And when it comes to the staggering numbers of those now unemployed and underemployed, I think every single one of us has been directly affected or is close to someone who has been directly affected. Worrying about scarcity is our cultures version of post-traumatic stress. It happens when weve been through too much, and rather than coming together to heal (which requires vulnerability), were angry and scared and at each others throats. Its not just the larger culture thats suffering: I found the same dynamics playing out in family culture, work culture, school culture, and community culture. And they all share the same formula of shame, comparison, and disengagement. Scarcity bubbles up from these conditions and perpetuates them until a critical mass of people start making different choices and reshaping the smaller cultures they belong to. One way to think about the three components of scarcity and how they influence culture is to reflect upon the following questions. As youre reading the questions, its helpful to keep in mind any culture or social system that youre a part of, whether your classroom, your family, your community, or maybe your work team: 1.Shame: Is fear of ridicule and belittling used to manage people and/or to keep people in line? Is self-worth tied to achievement, productivity, or compliance? Are blaming and finger-pointing norms? Are put-downs and name-calling rampant? What about favoritism? Is perfectionism an issue? 2.Comparison: Healthy competition can be beneficial, but is there constant overt or covert comparing and ranking? Has creativity been suffocated? Are people held to one narrow standard rather than acknowledged for their unique gifts and contributions? Is there an ideal way of being or one form of talent that is used as measurement of everyone elses worth? 3.Disengagement: Are people afraid to take risks or try new things? Is it easier to stay quiet than to share stories, experiences, and ideas? Does it feel as if no one is really paying attention or listening? Is everyone struggling to be seen and heard? When I look at these questions and think about our larger culture, the media, and the socialeconomic-political landscape, my answers are YES, YES, and YES! When I think about my family in the context of these questions, I know that these are the exact issues that my husband, Steve, and I work to overcome every single day. I use the word overcome because to grow a relationship or raise a family or create an organizational culture or run a school or nurture a faith community, all in a way that is fundamentally opposite to the cultural norms driven by scarcity, it takes awareness, commitment, and workevery single day. The larger culture is always applying pressure, and unless were willing to push back and fight for what we believe in, the default becomes a state of scarcity. Were called to dare greatly every time we make choices that challenge the social climate of scarcity. The counterapproach to living in scarcity is not about abundance. In fact, I think abundance and scarcity are two sides of the same coin. The opposite of never enough isnt abundance or more than you could ever imagine. The opposite of scarcity is enough, or what I call Wholeheartedness. As I explained in the Introduction, there are many tenets of Wholeheartedness, but at its very core is vulnerability and worthiness: facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough. If you go back to the three sets of questions about scarcity that I just posed and ask yourself if youd be willing to be vulnerable or to dare greatly in any setting defined by these values, the answer for most of us is a resounding no. If you ask yourself if these are conditions conducive to cultivating worthiness, the answer is again no. The greatest casualties of a scarcity culture are our willingness to own our vulnerabilities and our ability to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. After doing this work for the past twelve years and watching scarcity ride roughshod over our families, organizations, and communities, Id say the one thing we have in common is that were sick of feeling afraid. We all want to be brave. We want to dare greatly. Were tired of the national conversation centering on What should we fear? and Who should we blame? In the next chapter well talk about the vulnerability myths that fuel scarcity and how courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen. CHAPTER 2 DEBUNKING THE VULNERABILITY MYTHS Yes, we are totally exposed when we are vulnerable. Yes, we are in the torture chamber that we call uncertainty. And, yes, were taking a huge emotional risk when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. But theres no equation where taking risks, braving uncertainty, and opening ourselves up to emotional exposure equals weakness. MYTH N1: VULNERABILITY IS WEAKNESS. The perception that vulnerability is weakness is the most widely accepted myth about vulnerability and the most dangerous. When we spend our lives pushing away and protecting ourselves from feeling vulnerable or from being perceived as too emotional, we feel contempt when others are less capable or willing to mask feelings, suck it up, and soldier on. Weve come to the point where, rather than respecting and appreciating the courage and daring behind vulnerability, we let our fear and discomfort become judgment and criticism. Vulnerability isnt good or bad: Its not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light, positive experience. 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. Our rejection of vulnerability often stems from our associating it with dark emotions like fear, shame, grief, sadness, and disappointmentemotions that we dont want to discuss, even when they profoundly affect the way we live, love, work, and even lead. What most of us fail to understand and what took me a decade of research to learn is that vulnerability is also the cradle of the emotions and experiences that we crave. 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 know this is hard to believe, especially when weve spent our lives thinking that vulnerability and weakness are synonymous, but its true. I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. With that definition in mind, lets think about love. Waking up every day and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we cant ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moments notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow thats vulnerability. Love is uncertain. Its incredibly risky. And loving someone leaves us emotionally exposed. Yes, its scary and yes, were open to being hurt, but can you imagine your life without loving or being loved? To put our art, our writing, our photography, our ideas out into the world with no assurance of acceptance or appreciationthats also vulnerability. To let ourselves sink into the joyful moments of our lives even though we know that they are fleeting, even though the world tells us not to be too happy lest we invite disasterthats an intense form of vulnerability. The profound danger is that, as noted above, we start to think of feeling as weakness. With the exception of anger (which is a secondary emotion, one that only serves as a socially acceptable mask for many of the more difficult underlying emotions we feel), were losing our tolerance for emotion and hence for vulnerability. It starts to make sense that we dismiss vulnerability as weakness only when we realize that weve confused feeling with failing and emotions with liabilities. 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. For some of us, its new learning, and for others its relearning. Either way, the research taught me that the best place to start is with defining, recognizing, and understanding vulnerability. What really brings the definition of vulnerability up close and personal are the examples people shared when I asked them to finish this sentence stem: Vulnerability is ______________. Here are some of the replies: Sharing an unpopular opinion Standing up for myself Asking for help Saying no Starting my own business Helping my thirty-seven-year-old wife with Stage 4 breast cancer make decisions about her will Initiating sex with my wife Initiating sex with my husband Hearing how much my son wants to make first chair in the orchestra and encouraging him while knowing that its probably not going to happen Calling a friend whose child just died Signing up my mom for hospice care The first date after my divorce Saying, I love you, first and not knowing if Im going to be loved back Writing something I wrote or a piece of art that I made Getting promoted and not knowing if Im going to succeed Getting fired Falling in love Trying something new Bringing my new boyfriend home Getting pregnant after three miscarriages Waiting for the biopsy to come back Reaching out to my son who is going through a difficult divorce Exercising in public, especially when I dont know what Im doing and Im out of shape Admitting Im afraid Stepping up to the plate again after a series of strikeouts Telling my CEO that we wont make payroll next month Laying off employees Presenting my product to the world and getting no response Standing up for myself and for friends when someone else is critical or gossiping Being accountable Asking for forgiveness Having faith Do these sound like weaknesses? Does showing up to be with someone in deep struggle sound like a weakness? Is accepting accountability weak? Is stepping up to the plate after striking out a sign of weakness? NO. Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage arent always comfortable, but theyre never weakness. Yes, we are totally exposed when we are vulnerable. Yes, we are in the torture chamber that we call uncertainty. And, yes, were taking a huge emotional risk when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. But theres no equation where taking risks, braving uncertainty, and opening ourselves up to emotional exposure equals weakness. When we asked the question How does vulnerability feel? the answers were equally as powerful: Its taking off the mask and hoping the real me isnt too disappointing. Not sucking it in anymore. Its where courage and fear meet. You are halfway across a tightrope, and moving forward and going back are both just as scary. Sweaty palms and a racing heart. Scary and exciting; terrifying and hopeful. Taking off a straitjacket. Going out on a limba very, very high limb. Taking the first step toward what you fear the most. Being all in. It feels so awkward and scary, but it makes me human and alive. A lump in my throat and a knot in my chest. The terrifying point on a roller coaster when youre about to tip over the edge and take the plunge. Freedom and liberation. It feels like fear, every single time. Panic, anxiety, fear, and hysteria, followed by freedom, pride, and amazementthen a little more panic. Baring your belly in the face of the enemy. Infinitely terrifying and achingly necessary. I know its happening when I feel the need to strike first before Im struck. It feels like free-falling. Like the time between hearing a gunshot and waiting to see if youre hit. Letting go of control. And the answer that appeared over and over in all of our efforts to better understand vulnerability? Naked. Vulnerability is like being naked onstage and hoping for applause rather than laughter. Its being naked when everyone else is fully clothed. It feels like the naked dream: Youre in the airport and youre stark naked. When discussing vulnerability, it is helpful to look at the definition and etymology of the word vulnerable. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word vulnerability is derived from the Latin word vulnerare, meaning to wound. The definition includes capable of being wounded and open to attack or damage. Merriam-Webster defines weakness as the inability to withstand attack or wounding. Just from a linguistic perspective, its clear that these are very different concepts, and in fact, one could argue that weakness often stems from a lack of vulnerabilitywhen we dont acknowledge how and where were tender, were more at risk of being hurt. Psychology and social psychology have produced very persuasive evidence on the importance of acknowledging vulnerabilities. From the field of health psychology, studies show that perceived vulnerability, meaning the ability to acknowledge our risks and exposure, greatly increases our chances of adhering to some kind of positive health regimen. In order to get patients to comply with prevention routines, they must work on perceived vulnerability. And what makes this really interesting is that the critical issue is not about our actual level of vulnerability, but the level at which we acknowledge our vulnerabilities around a certain illness or threat. From the field of social psychology, influence-and-persuasion researchers, who examine how people are affected by advertising and marketing, conducted a series of studies on vulnerability. They found that the participants who thought they were not susceptible or vulnerable to deceptive advertising were, in fact, the most vulnerable. The researchers explanation for this phenomenon says it all: Far from being an effective shield, the illusion of invulnerability undermines the very response that would have supplied genuine protection. One of the most anxiety-provoking experiences of my career was speaking at the TED Conference in Long Beach that I referenced in the Introduction. In addition to all of the normal fears associated with giving a filmed, eighteen-minute talk in front of an intensely successful and high-expectation audience, I was the closing speaker for the entire event. For three days I sat and watched some of the most amazing and provocative talks that Ive ever seen. After each talk I slumped a little lower in my chair with the realization that in order for my talk to work Id have to give up trying to do it like everyone else and Id have to connect with the audience. I desperately wanted to see a talk that I could copy or use as a template, but the talks that resonated the most strongly with me didnt follow a format, they were just genuine. This meant that Id have to be me. Id have to be vulnerable and open. Id need to walk away from my script and look people in the eye. Id have to be naked. And, oh, my GodI hate naked. I have recurring nightmares about naked. When I finally walked onto the stage the first thing I did was make eye contact with several people in the audience. I asked the stage managers to bring up the houselights so I could see people. I needed to feel connected. Simply seeing people as people rather than the audience reminded me that the challenges that scare melike being nakedscare everyone else. I think thats why empathy can be conveyed without speaking a wordit just takes looking into someones eyes and seeing yourself reflected back in an engaged way. During my talk I asked the audience two questions that reveal so much about the many paradoxes that define vulnerability. First I asked, How many of you struggle to be vulnerable because you think of vulnerability as weakness? Hands shot up across the room. Then I asked, When you watched people on this stage being vulnerable, how many of you thought it was courageous? Again, hands shot up across the room. We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but were afraid to let them see it in us. Were afraid that our truth isnt enoughthat what we have to offer isnt enough without the bells and whistles, without editing, and impressing. I was afraid to walk on that stage and show the audience my kitchen-table selfthese people were too important, too successful, too famous. My kitchen-table self is too messy, too imperfect, too unpredictable. Heres the crux of the struggle: I want to experience your vulnerability but I dont want to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is courage in you and inadequacy in me. Im drawn to your vulnerability but repelled by mine. As I walked on the stage, I focused my thoughts on Steve, who was sitting in the audience, my sisters back in Texas, and some friends who were watching live from TEDActivean offsite location. I also drew courage from something that I learned at TEDa very unexpected lesson on failure. The vast majority of folks whom Steve and I met during the three days leading up to my talk spoke openly about failing. It wasnt unusual for someone to tell you about the two or three ventures or inventions that had failed as they explained their work or talked about their passions. I was blown away and inspired. I took a deep breath and recited my vulnerability prayer as I waited for my turn: Give me the courage to show up and let myself be seen. Then, seconds before I was introduced, I thought about a paperweight on my desk that reads, What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? I pushed that question out of my head to make room for a new question. As I walked up to the stage, I literally whispered aloud, Whats worth doing even if I fail? I honestly dont remember much of what I said, but when it was over I was back knee-deep in the vulnerability hangover AGAIN! Was the risk worth it? Absolutely. I am passionate about my work and I believe in what Ive learned from my research participants. I believe honest conversations about vulnerability and shame can change the world. Both of the talks are flawed and imperfect, but I walked into the arena and gave it my best shot. The willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver each time. And, Im not sure how one measures the success or failure of a talk, but the minute I was done I knew that even if it flopped or drew criticism, it had been totally worth doing. In the song Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen writes, Love is not a victory march, its a cold and its a broken hallelujah. Love is a form of vulnerability and if you replace the word love with vulnerability in that line, its just as true. From calling a friend whos experienced a terrible tragedy to starting your own business, from feeling terrified to experiencing liberation, vulnerability is lifes great dare. Its life asking, Are you all in? Can you value your own vulnerability as much as you value it in others? Answering yes to these questions is not weakness: Its courage beyond measure. Its daring greatly. And often the result of daring greatly isnt a victory march as much as it is a quiet sense of freedom mixed with a little battle fatigue. MYTH N2: I DONT DO VULNERABILITY When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability. To be alive is to be vulnerable. Madeleine LEngle The definition and examples that you just read make busting the second vulnerability myth a lot easier. I cant tell you how many times Ive heard people say, Interesting topic, but I dont do vulnerability. Its often buttressed by a gender or professional explanation: Im an engineerwe hate vulnerability. Im a lawyerwe eat vulnerability for breakfast. Guys dont do vulnerability. Trust me, I get it. Im not a guy or an engineer or a lawyer, but Ive spoken these exact words a hundred times. Unfortunately, there is no get out of vulnerability free card. We cant opt out of the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure thats woven through our daily experiences. Life is vulnerable. Look back at the list of examples. These are the challenges of being alive, of being in a relationship, of being connected. Even if we choose to stay out of relationships and opt for disconnection as a form of protection, were still alive and that means vulnerability happens. When we operate from the belief that we dont do vulnerability its extremely helpful to ask ourselves the following questions. If we truly dont know the answers, we can bravely ask someone with whom we are closetheyll probably have an answer (even if we dont want to hear it): 1.What do I do when I feel emotionally exposed? 2.How do I behave when Im feeling very uncomfortable and uncertain? 3.How willing am I to take emotional risks? Before I started doing this work, my honest answers would have been: 1.Scared, angry, judgmental, controlling, perfecting, manufacturing certainty. 2.Scared, angry, judgmental, controlling, perfecting, manufacturing certainty. 3.At work, very unwilling if criticism, judgment, blame, or shame was possible. Taking emotional risks with the people I love was always mired in fear of something bad happeninga total joy killer that well explore in the Armory chapter. This questioning process helps because, as you can see from my answers, regardless of our willingness to do vulnerability, it does us. When we pretend that we can avoid vulnerability we engage in behaviors that are often inconsistent with who we want to be. Experiencing vulnerability isnt a choicethe only choice we have is how were going to respond when we are confronted with uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. As a huge fan of the band Rush, this seems like the perfect place to throw in a quote from their song Freewill: If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice. In Chapter 4 well take a closer look at the conscious and unconscious behaviors we use to protect ourselves when we believe were not doing vulnerability. MYTH N3: VULNERABILITY IS LETTING IT ALL HANG OUT One line of questioning that I often get is about our let it all hang out culture. Cant there be too much vulnerability? Isnt there such a thing as oversharing? These questions are inevitably followed by examples from celebrity culture. What about when Movie Star X tweeted about her husbands suicide attempt? Or what about reality TV stars who share the intimate details of their lives and their childrens lives with the world? Vulnerability is based on mutuality and requires boundaries and trust. Its not oversharing, its not purging, its not indiscriminate disclosure, and its not celebrity-style social media information dumps. Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them. Being vulnerable and open is mutual and an integral part of the trust-building process. We cant always have guarantees in place before we risk sharing; however, we dont bare our souls the first time we meet someone. We dont lead with Hi, my name is Bren?, and heres my darkest struggle. Thats not vulnerability. That may be desperation or woundedness or even attenti

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