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Saturday, 6 October 2012

Brené Brown and wholeheartedness


A quick post about a recent discovery I made, and grateful for the serendipity that brought me!

I recently gained a new Twitter follower, @kabbenbock, over at @souterconsults. I usually find out about new followers through an e-mail alert, and those with bios that resonate with me I check out, and follow back, as appropriate.

@kabbenbock IRL is Andy Smith, who I was aware of him as one of the authors of The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Social Change.

I felt flattered to be followed by someone like Andy, and checked out his Twitterstream before tweeting my thanks for the follow. One of his tweets was:

Kare Anderson’s article includes this quote:
Ironically, the sharing of one’s vulnerability with trusted others is one of the prime gateways to overcoming shame according to the star of one of the ten most watched TED talks, Brene Brown. In Daring Greatly, she describes the paradoxical power of embracing our vulnerability and acknowledging our fears as a path towards being more courageous and connected with others. That means letting go of the need for certainty and control.
This intrigued me, and I sought out Brené’s TED talk.

Brené Brown

The following is an except from Brené Brown’s bio page:
Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW is a research professor at the University of HoustonGraduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.  
Brené is a nationally renowned speaker and has won numerous teaching awards, including the College’s Outstanding Faculty Award. Her groundbreaking work has been featured on PBS, NPR, CNN, and has appeared in The Washington Post,Psychology Today, and many other national media outlets.

Her 2010 TEDxHouston talk on the power of vulnerability is one of most watched talks on TED.com, with approximately 5 million views. She gave the closing talk, Listening to Shame,  at the 2012 TED Conference in Long Beach. 

TED Videos

The videos are below. The first has now reached 6.1m views; the second is on its way towards 1.5m. Half a dozen of these combined views are from me! ;-)

The Power of Vulnerability

The blurb for this TED talk is:
Brené Brown studies human connection -- our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share. (Filmed at TEDxHouston.)  

Listening to Shame

Blurb for this one is:
Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behavior. Brené Brown, whose earlier talk on vulnerability became a viral hit, explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. Her own humor, humanity and vulnerability shine through every word.
IMHO even more powerful than the first talk. I love Brené’s admixture of vulnerability, insight, and joy. Thank you, Brené! :-D

I've put in YouTube versions of these talks as they're easier to tweak to fit in the blog design...

Videos for further context

I've gone a bit crazy with all these videos, but this for me is extraordinary stuff! Let me know if it takes an age to load...

TEDxKC - Brené Brown - The Price of Invulnerability

Shame & Empathy by Dr. Brené Brown


Check out Brené’s resources page for links to videos, podcasts, and online articles.


I’m still in the early stages of exploring Brené’s work, however I’ve cued up Brené’s books on my Amazon wishlist:
  1. I THOUGHT IT WAS JUST ME (BUT IT ISN'T): Telling the Truth About Perfectionism, Inadequacy and Power
  2. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to be and Embrace Who You are
  3. Daring Greatly


I’m a big fan of podcasts, and have listened to the Smart People Podcast interview with Brené. The first 5 minutes or so are context, which I’ve fast-forwarded when I’ve listened to the podcast again! ;-). Direct link

You may also want to check out this interview with Koren Motekaitis with is rather tremendous. Direct link.


On of the key outcomes for Brené’s research has been that some people are what she calls “wholehearted” – in summary, they are confident that they are ‘enough’ and worthy of other people’s love.

I guess that’s the point of her writings, so I plan to read them after Loving What Is by Byron Katie, and Coming to Our Senses by Jon Kabat-Zinn. The books-to-read pile is growing! ;-)


These are some graphics from Brené’s website which I am posting here to bring to a wider audience. I’m seeking to “be the change I’m trying to create”.


Wash up

I’m sharing these materials as they have resonated strongly with me. Whilst I’m keen to read all three books straight away, I sense that part of me is seeking in them “the answer” which I am coming to realise doesn’t really exist. I am confident that they will, however, be part of the solution!

I also like the idea that they are something to ‘move towards’, rather than ‘move away from’ – in the words of a buddy of mine. That puts Brené’s work in the same category as the positive psychology movement, in that it is creating new skills, rather than sorting out the past. Time to leave the past and create the future!

UPDATE 06/10/12: Added link for podcast interview with Koren Motekaitis.
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