My husband came home from the Zillow Premier Agent Forum two days ago (he’s a Realtor and this is one of his annual treks to increase his learning and connect with agents all around the nation). He told me he brought home gifts and proceed to pull out a brand-spanking new hardcover edition of Brene Brown’s most recent book, Dare to Lead. In pristine condition with no coffee stains on it… yet. My husband knows me so well!! While I highly suggested that he could bring me home jewelry (the Forum was in Vegas of all places), he brings me home a book. But that’s because he knows me and know well my passion for reading and most ultimately my passion for learning and growth.
So I cracked open the book yesterday morning during my “miracle morning” and read the first section. In true Brene form, even the intro is engaging, funny, and thought provoking. As a Psychologist, she is speaking my language. As a leader, she is speaking to my fears and shame. As a mother, she is speaking to my determination to teach my children better than the present world.
I’m going to share with you some of the nuggets that I get out of this book over the next couple weeks. As I read it this morning, I had the overwhelming urge to start a Leadership group that focus on these topics of courageous leadership, being vulnerable, showing up, connecting, failing, and persevering. These are all things that I know well. Not always because I’ve done them well, but because I think about them all the time, and I’ve had some success while have also learned HUGELY from some perceived failures. But the reality is that I wouldn’t have had the failures and set-backs if I wasn’t being courageous and trying to do new things. It’s when you step out into the unknown and unfamiliar that the opportunities for soaring high and plummeting to seeming death both can be present.
What I loved about how she starts off is that she clarifies that courage, despite the fact at least half of the people she met with believed it was an innate characteristic, is a learned behavior. That is critical to understand and believe in this process. If courage wasn’t learnable, then what is the point of even going down this path? It’s like window shopping at Tiffany’s. WHAT IS THE POINT!?!?
What I also love about the concept of courage is that it acknowledges and normalizes fear. By definition, courage can only be present in the face of fear. If fear isn’t there, then it is just a normal mundane decision or behavior. FEAR IS AN ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT TO YOUR COURAGE CAKE. As an entrepreneur, I experience fear often. Just in the past week, I’ve experienced levels of fear (and smidges of shame at times) around committing to another business expense, losing a “key member” of our administrative team, trying to explain financials to a past employee, advertising for another clinician for the practice, writing copy about our Christian Integration on our website, negotiating a large commercial lease agreement on one of our properties we own, having to pay a RIDICULOUS amount of money to the IRS for last year’s taxes, sneaking a few candy from kids’ Halloween loot, having an endless amount of administrative work to do that I don’t have enough time for, and the list goes on. This is just in the last week.
It’s a daily, maybe even hourly struggle. But as a leader, I’ve made the conscious acceptance that fear is just going to be my neighbor. I will see it over the privacy fence. I’ll hear it in its yard mowing the lawn. Sometimes it’ll wave and me and engage in conversation. It might even ask me over for afternoon coffee and I might even accept the invitation. But I will choose to keep it in its own yard as much as I am able (through my own efforts but also significantly through prayer). I won’t let it take over my own home.