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Failure is Hard. The End.

Rising Strong by Brene Brown

Today we’re talking about chapters 1 and 2 of Rising Strong by Brene Brown.

I’m only two chapters in and I’m already loving this book so much. In fact, it is exactly what I need to be reading right now.

The introduction stopped me in my tracks. Especially when she talks about how we sometimes sugar coat failure and dismiss how hard and painful it can be.

I loved this quote:

“But embracing failure without acknowledging the real hurt and fear that it can cause, or the complex journey that underlies rising strong, is gold-plating grit. To strip failure of its real emotional consequences is to scrub the concepts of grit and resilience of the very qualities that make them both so important — toughness, doggedness, and perseverance.”

This last year has been hard. It’s been full of heavy things and stretching things for me as a business owner.

I started the year with gusto. I was pumped and excited.

We had a plan. We had put some great things into place. We had streamlined some things, changed up some positions, and brought in some reinforcements in areas where we were weak. And it looked like it was going to be an amazing year.

And then things got hard. Stuff didn’t pan out like we expected. I made some big mistakes. Others on my team made some big mistakes. There were miscommunications. There was tension. And I struggled to know how to lead in what turned out to be some very difficult situations.

I can’t share the details of these situations because they involve people other than me and this is not the place or time for that, but suffice it to say, it’s been rough.

I’ve wanted to quit. I’ve wanted to walk away from it all. But I felt like I needed to stay strong, fight through, and push forward. Wasn’t that what a good leader does?

So I put on my brave face, I stuffed down those feelings of hurt and frustration, and I pressed forward… all the while reeling from the weight of it all.

When you just want to give up and throw in the towel

But yesterday, as I read the first two chapters of Rising Strong, I felt this weight come off my shoulders. That I don’t need to try to stuff it in and suck it up. That it’s okay to acknowledge how hard this past year has been for me, how disappointed I’ve felt over the setbacks and crumbled dreams, how mentally and emotionally exhausting it’s been, and how lonely it has felt at times.

I’m writing this, not because I’m asking for pity, but because I want to share how this book is impacting me on a very personal level. And also because I think it’s easy to look at someone like me and think that, “It must be nice to be so successful.”

Honestly, the success that has come over the past few years has also brought some of the greatest pain with it. The pain of losing people you thought were your friends because they were jealous over opportunities you were given. The pain of being talked about like you’re some sort of object. The pain of people misunderstanding and criticizing decisions you made. The pain of betrayal. The pain of having your parenting choices and life choices being raked over the coals and ripped apart…

Success truly does comes with its own set of hard things. 

And while I want to focus on my blessings and walk in the confidence that I am enough, Brene’s book is challenging me to also be more honest about how much some of this pain has hurt.

I don’t need to write blog posts about these things, but I do need to acknowledge this personally and to my inner circle of friends. I need to have safe places where I can be completely vulnerable — without having to feel like I need to sugar coat or stuff anything.

Sometimes, Courage is Just Showing Up

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”

Did you read the first two chapters of Rising Strong? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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  • Heather Cribbs says:

    Love Brene Brown! I especially love her perspective in boundaries! I always tell my children that our scars are our stories – that you are more interesting when you can share where you have been and how you got there. Thank you for being real and true. Keep being You – You were made for such a time as this!

  • Erin says:

    It sounds like an amazing book and you’re amazing Crystal, not just because you are successful, but because you stay real and humble. This year I’ve learned that success doesn’t always come with a large paycheck. But I’m living my dream of being a writer and how many people get to say that?

    I finished writing my book, switched blogging platforms and just recently had a pin go viral on pinterest. But what really gets me is how good God is, always, in the failure and the success.

    A year ago I wondered if I would ever made it as a blogger. Then getting word that I had a submission accepted to your blog turned everything around. You did that. Your team did that. Because you were here, because you show up every day for your readers even when you want to quit. I think that is the very definition of success.

    So thank you for being quite literally the answer to this bloggers (ugly cry) prayer.

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