Daring Greatly Review + Giveaway

What if I fail? What if I’m not good enough? What will people think of me? We’ve all probed these and similar questions. Each of us, at one time or another, has doubted our abilities. No one is perfect and bulletproof is a myth, yet everyone occasionally trips over these instances of fear and insecurity.

In her many years of researching connection, psychologist and storyteller, Brené Brown has spent much time exploring the topics of vulnerability and shame, as well as examining how these emotions affect our relationships. In her latest book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, Brown shares her research findings, fearlessly exposes her personal story, offers a guided journey towards understanding the driving forces behind out behaviors and–most importantly–encourages each of us to reclaim our lives and fearlessly reopen our hearts.

“Connection is why we’re here. We’re hardwired to connect with others and it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”

Though we’re inherently driven towards connection, over time society has driven a wedge between our natural inclinations and societal exceptions. The structure of our cultures, families, and organizations choke that desire for openness and vulnerability in well-intentioned, yet devastating attempts to preserve order. We construct complex means of navigating through life while keeping everyone at a safe distance and forever fixating our eyes on the exit sign. We want to experience others’ vulnerability while keeping our own secrets and insecurities close to the chest. I can completely relate to Brown when she states, “along with my fear of vulnerability, I also inherited a huge heart and ready empathy.” That dichotomous combination makes day-to-day life excruciatingly difficult, at times. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Vulnerability is at the core of our most difficult emotions–fear, disappointment, and grief–but it is also the wellspring of love, belonging, joy, empathy, and creativity. It involves both an openness to positive experiences and an acceptance of the potentially heart-breaking risks. Likened to a tightrope, vulnerability is that trembling midpoint where moving forward and turning back are equally terrifying, and standing still is an entirely unstable option. With that knowledge, why would we ever do anything other than move forward?

As the title suggest, Daring Greatly is broken down into multiple sections. The implications of Brown’s research and observations are applied to all areas of life, from self-growth and relationships to parenting and leadership. The insights offered in the book are thought-provoking and invaluable.

What drives our fear of being vulnerable? Are we building walls around ourselves as a defense against vulnerability? What is the price we pay by shutting down and disengaging? How can we learn to embrace our vulnerability and begin to transform the ways in which we live, love, parent, and lead?

We live in a culture of scarcity. Nothing ever seems to be “enough” and we’re continually striving for more money, more power, and more material possessions  Maybe, beneath all those superficial “wants,” what we truly long for is love and acceptance. Remove that maybe, because research has shown that it is connection, not possessions that bring us true and lasting joy.

We live in a culture of shame. We compare our lives, our relationships, our children, and our teams to those around us and then question our own technique, our own worthiness. We’ve forgotten how to trust our intuition and we’ve lost sight of our unique strengths and perspectives. To complicate things further, men and women experience shame differently–women struggle with physical beauty and motherhood, whereas men worry about being perceived as weak. We all cause ourselves unnecessary pain when we shut down or lash out due to fear, pain, and that all-too-familiar insidious sense of inadequacy. An important lesson highlighted in the book is to pay attention to how we act while in this state of shame and fear. The worst crime we can against a loved one is to shame them–even after an apology, the damage is irreparable because we’ve shown them our willingness to use confidential information as a weapon.

The concept of perfection is seductive. Yet, perfection does not exist in the world, as we know it. Instead, vulnerability lies at the core of human experience. It’s through vulnerability that we learn about and experience courage, compassion, and human connection. Vulnerability is also a prime catalyst for innovation and change.

In interviewing numerous individuals over the years, Brown realized that vulnerability is never an effortless pursuit, but rather it is often a daily struggle to become comfortable with one’s power and gifts. Each day is a new opportunity to remind ourselves that we are worthy, that we are enough. We don’t have to be “perfect,” but we should strive towards engagement in all that we do, and we should commit ourselves to finding some alignment between our personal values and our actions. 

“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to  wake up in the morning and think, no matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to be at night thinking, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”

Having majored in psychology, I’ve developed a post-collegiate fondness for psychology and personal-development books. Under that broad umbrella of admiration sit many prominent researchers. Brené Brown is the one standing tall, smiling, and shamelessly singing along to Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing. After viewing her TEDx talk on vulnerability, reading The Gifts of Imperfection, and singing along with her at World Domination Summit 2012, I  did not hesitate to pre-order Daring Greatly as soon as it was announced. The book far exceeded all expectations.

Does the book sound like you something you may be interested in? As luck would have it, I was offered by the publisher an additional copy to give away. You read that correctly–you could win a free copy of this wonderful book!

Daring Greatly Giveaway

What can I win? Enter to win a free copy of Brené Brown new release, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. I have one book to offer, so there will thus be one winner.

When does the contest run? The contest will run now through Saturday, October 13th at midnight (MST). 

How can I enter? In the comments below, answer the following question: What’s worth doing even if I fail? (You’re welcome to share other thoughts, as well.)

Can I earn additional entries? Yes, you can! Like analyfe’s Facebook page, post a tweet  about the giveaway @analyfe and then leave a comment saying you’ve done so.

Are there any restrictions? The contest is limited to residents of the continental US.

How will the winner be chosen? The winner will be chosen at random, and each entry will be counted separately.

What if I don’t win? Daring Greatly is a wonderful book, so consider investing in your and buying or borrowing a copy.

*I’m still in the process of transferring the blog from analyfe.wordpress.com to analyfe.com, so to avoid confusion I’ll be accepting entries on both sites, though I’d prefer the former (turquoise header)*

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26 thoughts on “Daring Greatly Review + Giveaway

  1. What’s worth doing even if I fail?

    Try to make this world a better place, if I give out all my time, energy, and resources to trying to help as many people as I can, by teaching them how to help themselves and giving them a helping hand in the process, that would be enough for me, if it turns out that I’ve failed miserably!

    • I love this–working to make the world a better place is broad, but it truly encapsulates what each individual should strive towards. The smallest of kind gestures have had a huge impact on me, so great to realize that even if we miss the big target, we’re still making a big difference in the world. (You’re entered in the contest, and I’ll announce the winner on Sunday!)

  2. What’s worth doing even if I fail?

    I would want to do a world trip on my two wheels and collect what I have not seen. See what I have seen and bring it again in a way you have not seen it before. Something to share, something to live and something we all know but do not know. I have loved this feeling of sharing which I desperately miss living in this social online world of connectivity. Nothing pleases me more than taking journeys even if I fail but it is a feeling I love and so much love that I want to live it.

    • What a beautiful answer! That sounds like it would be absolutely incredible. I like how you incorporate doing something that you love (traveling) with connecting with other people and sharing all that you see and learn. For all I’ve read and experienced personally, I think that doing something meaningful and enjoyable, which also brings joy to the lives of others is the best way to live a full life. Thanks for your answer! (You’re entered in the contest, and I’ll announce the winner on Sunday!)

  3. Pingback: I am (mostly) Enough, Embracing Vulnerability | Roots to Blossom

  4. Pushing your limits and trying something new. Even if you arent able to accomplish your goal or conquer a fear, at least you tried and there is no failure in trying.

    • Great answer! Even when we don’t achieve our big goals or completely conquer our fears, the courage to pursue those things make us stronger, teach us valuable lessons, and give us something to be proud of. 🙂 (You’re entered in the contest, and I’ll announce the winner on Sunday!)

  5. Expressing myself as clearly, eloquently, or in as raw terms as are necessary to be genuine and up front with people, and then listening actively and allowing them the space to be every bit as true to themselves with me. Honesty and transparency. Efficient, real (and hopefully usually constructive) communication.

    • I just love this answer! One of my biggest hopes is gradually move towards a place where I’m able to be honest, clear, authentic, and confident with who I am; and also able to allow others the space and support to do the same. It a continual effort and sometimes a struggle, but even the smallest strides forward have been an improvement for me. Keep up the strong attitude and stay real. 🙂 (You’re entered in the contest, and I’ll announce the winner on Sunday!)

  6. What’s worth doing even if I fail?
    Overcoming being introverted & insecure in order to publically display and use my God-given gifts to reach multitudes for Christ and for the glory of God!

    • Having a vision larger than yourself and a goal more meaningful that personal accomplishment is a great place to start when trying to overcome a fear. Like yourself, I feel like I have so much to share, yet I’m hindered by my own fears, insecurities, and shyness. You have the power to achieve anything you put your mind to–keep on exercising your gifts and pushing your limits! (You’re entered in the contest, and I’ll announce the winner on Sunday!)

  7. This reply will probably boot me out of the contest, but I don’t believe in failure of reasonable expectations. True, you may not get everything you want, you may lose some of the battles, but you don’t lose the war until you give up entirely. So, what reasonable goals am I willing to spend my time and energy achieving until I have no time or energy left? Earning a living from writing, learning (a new language, new skills, new knowledge, new technology), building better relationships with those around me–the list is so extensive that there will be things that I simply won’t have time to fully accomplish (is that your definition of failure?), but I will continue to do what I can until I keel over.

    • My interpretation of the question was “What’s worth doing even at the risk of failure?” And my definition of failure is having all of those humiliating scenarios of guilt, shame, and rejection running through my head realized if/when I didn’t achieve the desired outcome of whatever my pursuit. In her post, Erin wrote, “We don’t have to be ‘perfect,’ but we should strive towards engagement in all that we do,” so, while not solicited, my opinion is that your post fits perfectly with the theme of it all. Cheers!

    • You’re right, the question could have been worded better. The drive behind it was that sometimes we give up on our dreams before we even give them a shot because we’re scared of failing–yet, you don’t truly lose until you give up, inaction kills possibility.I actually love your answer because you’ll nailed what it is I was looking for, and your answer so closely mirror my own. Life is about doing all that you can in the time that your given–it’s about optimizing your gifts and finding ways to serve others while doing things that are personally meaningful. Thank you, Victoria, for your answer and for clarifying the question. 🙂 (You’re entered in the contest, and I’ll announce the winner on Sunday!)

  8. What is worth doing even if I fail?

    Being in a relationship again, putting myself out into that pool of singledom (I’m divorced) and trying again, doing it again…even if it fails, because it’s better to be doing, than sitting on the sidelines of my life.

    • It’s hard to love again when you’ve been brokenhearted or hurt. I truly admire your courage in choosing to face potential challenges in hope that you’ll find love and companionship again. You deserve it! And even if you don’t find what you’re looking for, you’ll have been brave, experienced new things, and at least tried, rather than giving up and sitting on the sidelines. This is such a beautiful dream–I’m rooting for you! (You’re entered in the contest, and I’ll announce the winner on Sunday!)

  9. Trying to live a healthier, more useful life with the focus on building a community and supporting others rather than just pursuing material wealth. Trying to share the lessons I am learning about health, wellness and a full life with other people who have limited their potential because of low self esteem and poor body image.

    • That’s a wonderful combination of dreams–to both strive to be your best self and help others to do the same. It can be a challenge to help people who are down on themselves, but the results could be absolutely life-changing. That is definitely a worthy cause and I wish you all the best! (You’re entered in the contest twice–once for here and once for Facebook, and I’ll announce the winner on Sunday!)

  10. Pingback: At Arm’s Length | analyfe

  11. What’s worth doing even if i fail? Discovering my purpose in my second adulthood…..my dharma, how I can serve. My identity was shaped solely by my ego in the past. I am now determined to have it shaped by my soul…..even if I fail to recognize/accept what my purpose is according to society’s standards.

    • Wow, what an incredible thing to strive for! Sadly, I believe the majority of people are brought up to think in terms or the ego and society, but each us has the power to re-evaluate that. In working to discover your true purpose, you will–those who believe in and strive towards the greater good of society always seem to end up finding success in their peace and perseverance. I wish you all the best on your journey! 🙂 (You’re entered in the contest, and I’ll announce the winner on Sunday!)

  12. What’s worth doing even if I fail? Leave home, do something big alone (like go to law school in a different part of the country), and try really hard to do what I want and not lie to myself to appease people around me. These past few months have been a huge transition for me personally and I’m loving it and freaking out about it all at the same time. I have learned though, that even if I “fail” in my opinion and end up going back home and making my life there, this adventure is worth it 🙂

    • This is a such a wonderful answer, and I can relate to where you are. Change and new opportunities can be scary, but they also hold incredible power for great new things. It’s so exciting to imagine pursuing something you really want (like law school across the country), but usually, even if we “fail” in reaching that BIG goal, we’ll still have stepped out of of comfort zone and made huge strides forward. And that is something to be proud of and happy for. 🙂 (You’re entered in the contest, and I’ll announce the winner on Sunday!)

  13. And the winner of the contest is…Clare Burns! Thank you all so much for sharing your big dreams! My hope was the that asking the question would help us realize that–though scary–many things are worth pursuing regardless of the outcome. To everyone else that entered, the books is well-worth purchasing or borrowing from your local library. Thank you all for participating!

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