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.
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.
“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.”