“Rising Strong” By Brene Brown: Dealing With Adversity

The physics of vulnerability is simple: If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall. Rising Strong is a book about what it takes to get back up and how owning our stories of struggle gives us the power to write a daring new ending. Brené Brown

Pema Chödrön‘s upcoming book (September 1st) Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better: Wise Advice for Leaning into the Unknown contains a transcript of the commencement speech she gave last year in which she emphasizes lessons Brené Brown also imparts via her newest book, Rising Strong.

A couple of these lessons, in Chödrön’s words, are the importance of “knowing how to fail well” and “knowing how to hold the pain of things happening that you really don’t want to be happening.”

Rising Strong, called by Brown “by far my most personal book,” has been so popular in advance of its publication that many of her upcoming book launch events have already sold out.

Brown, of course, has already had significant output on such topics as shame, vulnerability, and perfectionism. On her site Brown offers a concise view of how her work has progressed thus far. The Gifts of Imperfection, she says, is about “Be you.” Daring Greatly, “Be all in.” And now, Rising Strong: “Fall. Get up. Try again.”

According to Fast Company, here’s the gist of Rising Strong:

Brown analyzed data from more than 24,000 people in various professions and interviewed 2,000 others—from corporate executives to war veterans at West Point. She also plumbed her own experiences, including a marital squabble during a vacation. This led to a three-step process for leaders wanting to bounce back from adversity: Examine your emotions and actions (‘The Reckoning’), confront the challenges that are holding you back (‘The Rumble’), and write an ending to the story that will transform how you face future obstacles (‘The Revolution’).

From the publisher, one of Brown’s key insights:

She asked herself, What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? The answer was clear: They recognize the power of emotion and they’re not afraid to lean in to discomfort.

A favorite passage of hers, as Brown writes on her blog, has to do with “reclaim[ing] the truth about our lovability, divinity, and creativity”:

  • Lovability: “…If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past thirteen years, it’s this: Just because someone isn’t willing or able to love us, it doesn’t mean that we are unlovable.
  • Divinity: “…Over half of the participants who talked about experiencing shame in their faith histories also found resilience and healing through spirituality…They believed that the sources of shame arose from the earthly, man-made, human-interpreted rules or regulations and the social/community expectations of religion rather than their personal relationships with God or the divine…Our faith narratives must be protected, and we must remember that no person is ordained to judge our divinity or to write the story of our spiritual worthiness.
  • Creativity and Ability: Regarding shaming incidents from one’s past, Brown states: Just because we didn’t measure up to some standard of achievement doesn’t mean that we don’t possess gifts and talents that only we can bring to the world. Just because someone failed to see the value in what we can create or achieve doesn’t change its worth or ours.

 A video intro to Rising Strong:

Publishers Weekly: “With a fresh perspective that marries research and humor, Brown offers compassion while delivering thought-provoking ideas about relationships—with others and with oneself…This book is about owning your story and choosing how to actively engage with the world. With Brown’s excellent guidance, it’s easy for readers to become as invested in her story as they are in their own, and, more importantly, to move beyond preconceived stories about themselves.”

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