Brené Brown is an American professor, author, and renowned speaker.
She spent more than two decades studying topics such as vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame and is widely known for her TEDx talk The Power of Vulnerability.
The core intention of her books and speeches is to help people to be their true selves, live authentic lives, and have the courage to be vulnerable. And even though she’s a researcher, her teachings are as simple as they are profound.
On Being Enough
One of Brené Brown’s core lessons is accepting yourself just the way you are and embracing all your strengths as well as flaws:
“We live in a culture of never enough: Never good enough, skinny enough, popular enough, never enough Twitter followers,…
And there’s only one way out of scarcity and that is enoughness. At some point, we just need to say “enough”: I am enough. What I‘m doing is enough.
It’s about waking up in the morning and saying: No matter what gets done and how much is done and how it’s done, I’m enough and I’m worthy of belonging and love and joy.”
To be your authentic self, you need to allow yourself to be enough. As long as you compare yourself to others or have high expectations, you’ll always find room for improvement.
Yet, what you need to understand in order to live your greatest life is that you can strive for growth and improvement and at the same time be happy with your current version.
Working on your personal growth doesn’t mean that you dislike yourself. On the contrary; it means that you respect yourself so much that you further invest in your best possible version.
Nowadays, we’re being bombarded with opinions about how we need to look, what we need to do, how much we need to earn, etc. in order to be worthy.
Yet, the reality is that you are enough just the way you are. You just need to allow yourself to be happy regardless of what size you wear, how many followers you have, or how many tasks you crossed off your to-do list.
Les Brown once said that the graveyard is the richest place on earth because it’s where most hopes, dreams, unwritten books, unshared inventions, and ideas are buried.
Most people are so afraid of failing and making mistakes that they don’t even get started. They either talk about ideas for too long and never take action, or they keep their plans for themselves and bury them in silence.
Yet, according to Brené Brown, perfectionism is nothing more than a roadblock:
“Perfectionism is a 20-ton shield. It’s a way of thinking that says: “If I look perfect, live perfect, work perfect, I can avoid or minimize criticism and blame.”
All perfectionism is, is the 20-ton shield we carry around hoping it’ll keep us from being hurt while in truth, it keeps us from being seen.
Healthy striving is internally focused, it’s “I wanna do this and be the best I can be”, perfectionsim is not about what I want, it’s “What will people think” — you can’t ever do anything brave if you’re too worried about what people will think.”
People will always judge you. Everybody has different opinions. What might seem great to me might be a disaster for you and vice versa.
If you always worry about the thoughts and opinions of others, you’ll forever be their servant. To break those limitations, you need to let go of trying to be perfect and start being real and honest. By being your most authentic self, you’ll attract people who love and appreciate you just the way you are.
The opposite of being a perfectionist is having the courage to get started, even when you know you could fail.
Courageous people are those who take action, make mistakes, move forward, and keep going despite setbacks. And ultimately, these are the ones who succeed and live rich, authentic lives.
“When we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.”
Growth, in life and business, always results from courage and bold decisions. If you keep doing the things you’ve always done, you’ll forever reap the same results. If you, however, want to experience a new reality, you’ll need to dare to fail and have the courage to make mistakes.
Nobody will ever judge you as much as you judge yourself. If you want to see different results and a new reality, stop looking for excuses and instead find the courage to make a bold decision and take massive action.
On Selective Feedback
“A lot of cheap seats in the arena are filled with people who never venture onto the floor. They just hurl mean-spirited criticisms and put-downs from a safe distance.
The problem is, when we stop caring what people think and stop feeling hurt by cruelty, we lose our ability to connect. But when we’re defined by what people think, we lose the courage to be vulnerable.
Therefore, we need to be selective about the feedback we let into our lives. For me, if you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”
While most people understand that feedback is essential, the majority don’t question whom they ask for feedback. Yet, that’s what ultimately matters.
You wouldn’t ask for cooking advice from someone who only eats cereal.
Whatever it is that you want to learn about, you’ll hopefully ask someone with more experience than yourself or at least someone who has a basic understanding of the topic.
When asking for feedback, make sure to ask those who already walked the path or at least comprehend your struggles.
Getting an insight into different opinions is valuable, yet, there’s way too much unsolicited, spurious feedback out there. A lot of people love talking about the failures and mistakes of others, but this doesn’t mean their opinion is worth caring about.
When receiving feedback, make sure to be selective. Ignore the unsolicited advice of those who want to see you fail and focus on building a tribe that wants to see you win.
On Asking for Help
“If you can’t ask for help without self-judgment, you cannot offer help without judging others.”
Too often, we believe that figuring things out on our own makes us stronger. Instead of using the power of our network, we act as if asking for help was a shame.
Yet, the truth is that you don’t ever need to figure things out on your own. As humans, we are social beings. Ever since humanity evolved, life was about doing and building things together. Without mutual support, our ancestors wouldn’t have survived.
While figuring things out on your own might give you a sense of accomplishment, in the long run, it will drain your energy.
Asking for help is no shame. It’s actually a sign of strength and courage. By seeking support, you show that you’re willing to learn and grow instead of being stubborn and focusing on your own ideas.
Next time you feel stuck in a project or a personal issue, don’t try to fight the battle on your own. Instead, ask yourself whom you could ask for help and reach out to them.
According to Brené Brown, sometimes, the bravest thing you can do is to just show up.
Too often, we underestimate the value of small steps and tiny achievements. Instead, we seek instant gratification, perfectionism, and a life without regrets. Yet, by trying to be and do perfect, we often forget being ourselves.
However, only by being your most authentic self, can you ensure living a life true to yourself instead of following the desires of those around you. While strength is necessary, so is vulnerability and the courage to make mistakes.
Next time you find yourself worrying about a bold move, blank out the expectations of others, and ask yourself what you desire and which brave move you could make to be your most authentic self.
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