As leaders we often think we need to have all the answers. We must always be strong and never show our weaknesses. We know that the most effective leaders are authentic leaders who embrace their imperfections and their vulnerabilities but it is not something we like to talk about or want to acknowledge. Brené Brown does.
Brené Brown is a writer and researcher at the University of Houston. After 10 years of research and collecting 10,000 stories on shame and shame resilience, Brown had, what she calls, a "Breakdown Spiritual Awakening" when she realized that she wasn't living or loving with her whole heart.
In an easy-to-read but not simplistic style, Brown discovers that there is no "quick and dirty checklist" for living a life full of joy and happiness. She argues that it takes daily effort to cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection it takes to live a whole-hearted life.
"Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy - the experiences that make us most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light."
Brown is honest about her own imperfections and struggles, which she shares as openly as her research findings and anecdotes. She makes the case that, when we conform, we fit in but we do not belong. Fitting in is settling for less. It is only when we accept ourselves that we gain the true connection of belonging.
With 10 sections on cultivating different areas of your life, "The Gifts of Imperfection" will encourage you to:
Leave your comfort zone and challenge you to connect with your authentic self.
At the end of the book, Brown rallies readers to join the revolution and start living their lives from a place of worthiness. She says it's time to let go of the idea of exhaustion as a status symbol and gaining self-worth from productivity. Our stories matter, no matter how messy and imperfect they are. To Brown, life is about embracing both the courage and the fear that it takes to be your true self, which ultimately leads to living each day fully and with your whole heart.
Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it? Learn something new? Share your thoughts below.
Take a look:
This is a book for leader and practitioner alike. Chock full of wisdom (most of which shines the spotlight in the crevices of our behavioral style), Brene does a masterful job of giving us the freedom to be "enough." As a recovering perfectionist, I welcomed this easy-read as a bright spot among the plethora of leadership books. And it delivered. I agree with Ellen...it is an encouraging and intriguing piece.