Daring Greatly


Darling Greatly is a book by Brene Brown about having the courage to be vulnerable. Brown is a vulnerability researcher and was invited to speak at TED. Her book talks about the fences we put up to protect our egos that get in the way of truly and honestly engaging with people. While it has broad application in and out of the work place, I suggest reading it when you're in a more "touchy-feely" mood.
  1. Shame is prevalent. Often people are unable to truly engage because of shamefulness as a result of societal pressures and norms. Consider societal messages that instill a sense of shame in all of us: ideals about masculinity and femininity, appearing successful and independent at all times, demonstrating strength and invulnerability, etc. We are surrounded by success stories that lead us believe that "ordinary" people are losers. But a belief in self worthiness can be cultivated. 
  2. These are the 3 major protection mechanism we use to avoid shame: Foreboding Joy, Perfectionism and Numbing.
  3. Foreboding joy: Have you ever met a "joy squelcher," someone in a great situation who nonetheless complains about everything? When congratulated, this person provides a self deprecating comment instead? You may have just observed a person who is actively avoiding joy in order to avoid experiencing the emotional downhill that inevitably follows a high.
  4. Perfectionism: Perfectionists tend to tag accomplishment to self worth. What I do is never good enough, and thus "I" am not good enough.
  5. Numbing: Social media, reality television, and other external influences can distract ourselves from connecting with our worthiness. We fall into the cycle of watching other people's lives to fill our own void. 
Daring Greatly purports that we must embrace vulnerability and open ourselves to one another in order to fully experience life.