Dare to Lead
by Brene Brown
I’m a Brene Brown fan. Through Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, and Braving the Wilderness, I have learned about wholeheartedness, vulnerability and courage. In Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts., she teaches us about “rumbling with vulnerability,” “living into one’s values,” and having the courage to make decisions even where the outcome may be uncomfortable and possibly a failure.
The foundational skill of courage building is the willingness and ability to “rumble with vulnerability”. Rumbling into vulnerability is about leaning into rather than walking away from the situations that make us feel uncertain, at risk, or emotionally exposed. As she mentions, she has never met a brave person who hasn’t known disappointment, failure, even heartbreak. Building the grounded confidence to rumble with vulnerability and discomfort rather than armoring up, running away, shutting down, or tapping out completely prepares you for living into your values, building trust and learning to rise. In tough conversations, leaders need the grounded confidence to stay tethered to their values.
Her chapter on “Living into Your Values,” validates my conviction that values are at the very center of what we do as leaders and as human beings. If we do not identify and act on our values, we will fail. Brown writes, “Daring leaders who live into their values are never silent about the hard things.” Living into our values means more than articulating our values; it means that we practice them. She explains that individuals do not have two sets of values–one personal and one professional. We have only one set of values that we are called to practice in all areas of our lives.
Living our values is when we walk our talk. It is a way of being or believing that we hold most important. It is our North Star and we cannot live them if we don’t know them and name them.
When we name our values, we can then ask:
- Does this define me?
- Is this who I am at my best?
- Is this a filter that I use to make hard decisions?
My core values are honesty, perseverance and connection. Honesty is demonstrated by what we say and by what we do. It impacts our entire life; our jobs, our relationships, our own feelings about ourselves and the actions we take. Honesty also means doing the right thing, even when it’s challenging. Perseverance is the inner strength to remain constant to a purpose, idea, or task in the face of obstacles. This includes dedication, consistency, and having a positive attitude. Connection, along with love and belonging, is why we are here, and it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. More and more, my own need for connection drives my decisions on the opportunities that I both create and take advantage of. I’d like to think that I remain true to my core values in every given moment. The truth is that my core values guide my life and decisions, they are both authentic and aspirational. I do my best, but I don’t always hit the mark.
Daring leadership is ultimately about serving other people, not ourselves. Rumbling with vulnerability and living your values get us closer to being the leader that we strive to be. The heart of daring leadership is to feel afraid and brave at the same time (duality and head and heart). When we choose courage over comfort, we dare to lead. Thanks for yet another gift, Brene.