With 2016 just a few days away, it’s a good time to reflect on the past year. Did you accomplish everything you wanted—both personally and professionally? Did you grow? Did you learn? After each “yes” or “no,” it’s important to also ask, “Why or why not?”
Our very last book club of 2015 was Rising Strong by Brené Brown and ties in quite nicely with the ending (and beginning) of the new year.
Rising Strong takes a look at the core of vulnerability and emotion and invites us all to overcome the fears that hinder us in life. For those of you who think this is just another sappy “you can do it, happy, rainbows” self-help book, prepare to be mistaken. The book does much more than just encourage. It takes on an almost investigative approach to what makes successful people get back up again when they fail and how you can put the same mentality into action.
One of the common traits among all of the success stories? Vulnerability. The book defines vulnerability as “the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome—is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy.”
We’ve all heard the “don’t be afraid” speech time and time again, but the author adds an extra phrase to the saying. In the eyes of Brene Brown, people should never be afraid to fail or get hurt, because that is when you become successful. The book really tries to show its readers the positive aspect about being vulnerable and investing yourself in your emotions. Although being vulnerable is an intimidating feeling, if you truly allow yourself to indulge and embrace it, eventually you will succeed and come out victorious on the other side.
Courage is contagious. You can profoundly affect the people around you, whether you're aware of it or not.
We asked our events director, Rudé for her thoughts on the book and this is what she had to say!
Brené talks about courage and vulnerability in all aspects of life (personal relationships, family, career, etc). I definitely took the most away from the career aspect. I think sometimes we have people we admire and look up to but forget that it took a lot for them to get there. We just see the success, but it’s so important to remember that they were vulnerable and put themselves and their ideas out there to become the success they currently are. It’s how you react to your failures and getting rejected that will determine what happens after. Will you turn that failure into a learning experience or stay down and defeated and hide under the shame?
The author refers to humans as “feeling machines that think” and I think this is so true. We are emotional in all aspects of life, even when we try to convince ourselves we aren’t. If you are passionate about what you are doing, you are going to be emotionally invested. Not only do you yourself have emotions, but everyone else you come in contact with has feelings, which makes it so important to tap into the emotions of the people around you in order to have a full grasp in any situation.
On Growing as a Person
The book repeats that the act of “rising strong” is a constant work in progress. It’s something we need to always think about and be aware of in order to do. It’s not an easy or simple process—it’s different for each person and each situation. Listen to yourself, and never be too proud or too scared to reach out to other people for help. They might have stories and knowledge that can help you get on your way. I know this is hard for me to do, especially when it comes to asking for help and showing my vulnerability to other people, but this is something I’ll be focusing more on in the upcoming year.
“Making mistakes is part of the process.”
“The most transformative and resilient leaders that I’ve worked with over the course of my career have three things in common: First, they reconcile that central role that relationships and story play in culture and strategy, and they stay curious about their own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Second, they understand and stay curious about how emotions, thoughts and behaviors are connected in the people they lead and how those factors affect relationships and perception. And, third, they have the ability and willingness to lean in to discomfort and vulnerability.”
“Courage is contagious…Your experience can profoundly affect the people around you, whether you’re aware of it or not.”
We couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the post. As the new year approaches, we’ll definitely be keeping these points in mind as we try to be better coworkers, managers, and all around better people. To rising strong in 2016!