I’m a bit late with this post but life has been a pretty chaotic since October started. I’ve started my new job at CDC full-time as well as staying at Dick’s part-time and starting to wedding plan… As a result of all these things, it took me a few days longer to finish my September book and write this post. Sorry folks!
Regardless of the time it took, I really loved my September book. If you may remember from my August BOTM post, I chose a non-fiction pick this month. The book was entitled Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.
I received this book as a birthday present a year ago from my friend Mindy. It’s been on my list ever since. I know a lot of people don’t like “self-help” books or think they’re too good for them, but this book will prove you wrong! I absolutely loved the knowledge and insight I gained about myself and others as I read through the chapters.
Dr. Brown has been giving TED talks for a long time on the subject of Daring Greatly. She starts off the book with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt:
“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, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Daring Greatly is about being vulnerable in all aspects of your life. Dr. Brown researched what vulnerability looked like and how it was experienced by children, adolescents, men, and women. According to her research, vulnerability is linked to shame, guilt, humiliation, and embarrassment. She writes how we fall into traps (like perfectionism) to try to avoid these feelings thus avoiding vulnerability. This avoidance makes us less likely to experience all that life has to offer, therefore we are not Daring Greatly. Here is the synopsis on the back of the book:
Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable or to dare greatly. Based on twelve years of pioneering research, Brené Brown PhD, LMSW, dispels the cultural myth that vulnerability is weakness and argues that it is, in truth, our most accurate measure of courage.
Brown explains how vulnerability is both the core of difficult emotions like fear, grief, and disappointment, and the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, empathy, innovation, and creativity. She writes: “When we shut ourselves off from vulnerability, we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives.”
Daring Greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage. In a world where “never enough” dominates and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. And, without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of getting criticized or feeling hurt. But when we step back and examine our lives, we will find that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as standing on the outside of our lives looking in and wondering what it would be like if we had the courage to step into the arena—whether it’s a new relationship, an important meeting, the creative process, or a difficult family conversation. Daring Greatly is a practice and a powerful new vision for letting ourselves be seen.
The most impressive part of the book was Dr. Brown’s use of Grounded Theory to further her research. I will not bore you with the details, but I was familiar with the theory as a behavioral scientist. It’s not an easy theory to implement and use let alone give TED talks and write books about! In the end, I’d recommend this book to anyone. It was simple to read and feel encouraged. After finishing, I was able to use some of its wisdom to provide advice to a friend who was struggling. I encouraged her to Dare Greatly!
Next month I’m back to fiction. Stay tuned for my pick, I already started it and I’m loving it so far 😉 Perhaps you hate reading? Perhaps you hate books? You do you, boo.