I first heard of Brene Brown when I discovered TED. I know it’s been around a while but it really hit my radar in 2012 and I can’t even tell you how many talks I’ve listened to now. Brown’s talks are The Power of Vulnerability and Listening to Shame. They’ve appeared on several Must-See lists on TED itself and other media. They appear there because they are FANTASTIC.
In addition to her amazing public speaking ability, Brown is a great writer. I have only read Daring Greatly, but I loved it and have planned to read the others ever since. Brown’s insights into the necessity of shame and vulnerability are fascinating. They are particularly fascinating to me in the way they contradict traditional notions on how these two concepts relate to our ability to get on in life.
One of the major themes talked about in a lot of the feminist meme’s, books, blogs etc, that I see are about shame, vulnerability, and the insane drive for perfection that is said to be required of women. The first two are to be avoided. They are not to be felt. But really, they are simply not to be given in too, they should not hold us back from feeling worthy and loved. The last one is unattainable. We all know it, but we give in to the drive. Except we shouldn’t. Giving in to imperfection was actually something I started to learn from Lean In, which I read shortly after listening to Sheryl Sandberg’s TED talk on women in leadership. In her book, she also talks about the futility of perfect. Actually, she puts it “done is better than perfect.” I can’t tell you how much more efficient that thought has made me. I made myself say it before turning in work items that I didn’t feel were ready enough, that are never really ready enough. It’s helped. A lot. But I only started to understand with Brown that the quest for perfection is not actually a good thing. not the way some of us are conditioned to pursue it.
When I was done with Daring Greatly, I wanted everyone around me to read it. I wanted to sit in a world saturated with people who understood that standing in the arena was the most important thing we can do and that we needed to work on being more gracious of those who choose to be there.