Archives for the month of: October, 2013

More words of wisdom from Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly

The four elements of shame resilience (quoted):

  1. Recognizing shame and understanding its triggers. Shame is biology and biography. Can you physically recognize when you’re in the grips of shame, feel your way through it, and figure out what messages and expectations triggered it?
  2. Practicing critical awareness. Can you reality-check the messages and expectations that are driving your shame? Are they realistic? Attainable? Are they want you want to be or what you think others need/want from you?
  3. Reaching out. Are you owning and sharing your story? We can’t experience empathy if we’re not connecting.
  4. Speaking shame. Are you talking about how you feel and asking for what you need when you feel shame?

Once you learn to be aware of when you are in a shame spiral (i.e., can recognize the physical symptoms of when you are in deep shame), here are some strategies to get out of that death spiral and bring your mind and body back to a calm, centered place without taking out your pain on someone else, all quoted from her book:

  1. Practice courage and reach out! Yes, I want to hide, but the way to fight shame and to honor who we are is by sharing our experience with someone who has earned the right to hear it– someone who loves us, not despite our vulnerabilities, but because of them.
  2. Talk to myself the way I would talk to someone I really love and whom I’m trying to comfort int the midst of a meltdown: You’re okay. You’re human– we all make mistakes. I’ve got your back. [This is the heart of self-parenting!] Normally during a shame attack we talk to ourselves in ways we would NEVER talk to people we love and respect.
  3. Own the story! Don’t bury it and let it fester or define me. I often say this aloud: “If you own this story you get to write the ending….” When we bury the story we forever stay the subject of the story. If we own the story we get to narrate the ending. As Carl Jung said, “I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”

Empathy is connection; it’s a ladder out of the shame hole.

More from Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly. She has a chapter on developing shame-resilient organizations. She talks about her interviews with leaders and how they came to the conclusion that the birthplace of learning, innovation and creativity (and associated risk-taking) is vulnerability, and the enemies are shame, fear of failure, and perfectionism.

A daring greatly culture is a culture of honest, constructive, and engaged feedback…. Without feedback there can be no transformative change… [The two major obstacles to this kind of feedback are:]

1. We’re not comfortable with hard conversations.

2. We don’t know how to give and receive feedback in a way that moves people and processes forward.

Here are her four recommended strategies on building shame-resilient organizations (directly quoted from her book):

  1. Supporting leaders who are willing to dare greatly and facilitate honest conversations about shame and cultivate shame-resilient cultures.
  2. Facilitating a conscientious effort to see where shame might be functioning in the organization and how it might even be creeping into the way we engage with our co-workers and students.
  3. Normalizing is a critical shame-resilience strategy. Leaders and managers can cultivate engagement by helping people know what to expect. What are common struggles? How have other people dealt with them? What have your experiences been?
  4. Training all employees on the differences between shame and guilt, and teaching them how to give and receive feedback in a way that fosters growth and engagement.

She also cites a 2011 Harvard Business Review article by Peter Fuda and Richard Badham that shows how vulnerability from leaders is perceived as courageous by team members and inspires others to follow suit.

I just finished reading Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, so the next few blog posts will be quotes/lessons from the book! I highly recommend it.

On her chapter on Wholehearted parenting, she talks about the need for parents to help their children learn how to handle adversity and disappointment — and resist the urge to always protect, rescue and intervene. “It’s not that our children can’t stand the vulnerability of handling their own situations, it’s that we can’t stand the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure of not rescuing them], even though we know it’s the right thing to do…. Experience with adversity, tenacity, and grit emerged in my research as an important quality of Wholeheartedness.” Hm.. that sort of reminds me of God’s parenting style a la James 1:2-4: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  Maybe this is why God doesn’t always intervene in rescuing us even though He is sovereign and able to.

Dr. Brown then talks about C.R. Snyder’s research on hope, and she was shocked.

First, I thought hope was a warm, fuzzy emotion– the feeling of possibility. Second, I was looking for something that I had thought of as being scrappy and nicknamed “Plan B” — these folks could turn to Plan B when Plan A fell apart.

As it turns out, I was wrong about hope and right about scrappy and Plan B. According to Snyder, who dedicated his career to studying this topic, hope isn’t an emotion: it’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process. Emotions play a supporting role, but hope is really a thought process made up of what Snyder calls a trilogy of goals, pathways, and agency. In very simple terms, hope happens when:


We have the ability to set realistic goals (I know where I want to go).

We are able to figure out how to achieve those goals, including the ability to stay flexible and develop alternative routes (I know how to get there, I’m persistent, and I can tolerate disappointment and try again).

We believe in ourselves (I can do this!).


So, hope is a combination of setting goals, having the tenacity and perseverance to pursue them, and believing in our own abilities. Hope is Plan B…. Hope is learned! According to Snyder, children most often learn hope from their parents. To learn hopefulness, children need relationships that are characterized by boundaries, consistency, and support. Children with high levels of hopefulness have experience with adversity. They’ve been given the opportunity to struggle and in doing that they learn how to believe in themselves.