First, if you’ve never heard of Brene Brown you need to watch her TED talk on “The Power of Vulnerability” and her TED talk on “Listening to Shame”. She is just phenomenal! She is a researcher on shame and vulnerability, which sounds awful!! But she’s written about some pretty amazing and powerful things in her books.
I just finished reading this book for a second time…and will definitely be reading it a 3rd, 4th, 5th time too. What a GREAT book! You ALL need to read it. I could write a million words about the awesomeness of this book, but you just need to read it!
Scarcity, vulnerability, and shame are the main themes of this book, something we all experience in every aspect of our lives…career, personal life, and social life.
She talks about scarcity – we’re never enough. Think about it…your thoughts of “not enough” are always first in your mind (“I didn’t get enough sleep” or “I don’t have enough time” etc etc etc).
The opposite of scarcity isn’t abundance, it is “enough”.
Three questions to ask yourself to see if there’s scarcity in your life:
1. Shame. Is there fear of ridicule? Is your self worth tied to achievement? Is blaming the norm?
2. Comparison. Has creativity been suffocated? Is there constant comparison?
3. Disengagement. Are you afraid to take risks/try new things? Is it easier to be quiet? Is it a struggle to be heard?
Her definition of vulnerability is – uncertainty, risk, emotional exposure. It sounds like the truth and feels like courage. It’s where courage and fear meet.
Think about it….when someone else shows vulnerability we think they’re courageous. When you think about being vulnerable yourself you are scared to death! Our biggest critic is ourselves.
Shame – anytime you’ve been afraid to speak up or share an idea….that’s shame. Being afraid of belittled or being wrong…that’s shame. Shame is not the same at guilt… Shame = I am bad. Guilt = I did something bad.
There’s a whole chapter on how we feel shame. How men feel shame, how women feel shame, bullying, etc. Read it twice. Great chapter!
There’s a chapter on shame in the workplace…and important one for any leaders out there. “Shame can only rise so far in a system before people disengage to protect themselves. When we’re disengaged, we don’t show up, we don’t contribute, and we stop caring”. NOT GOOD!
There’s also a great chapter on parenting and shame, perfectionism, belonging, modelling who we want our children to be. READ IT!
Some of my favourite quotes from this book:
“Shame resilience is key to embracing our vulnerability. We can’t let ourselves be seen if we’re terrified by what people might think. Often not being good at vulnerability means that we’re damned good at shame”.
“A sense of worthiness inspires us to be vulnerable, share openly, and persevere. Shame keeps us small, resentful, and afraid”.
“If you’re not in the arena with the rest of us fighting and getting your ass kicked on occasion, I’m not interested in your feedback”….so if you’re not showing vulnerability but like to criticize me, I’m not interested in what you have to say. Even more important in with all the social media critics out there!
There’s so much more in this book, but I promised myself that I’d keep these reviews short (so that you’d actually read them!). Just go buy this book and read it. Over and over and over!