Review: Rising Strong

“MANIFESTO OF THE BRAVE AND BROKENHEARTED There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers Than those of us who are willing to fall Because we have learned how to rise With skinned knees and bruised hearts; We choose owning our stories of struggle, Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending. When we deny our stories, they define us. When we run from struggle, we are never free. So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye. We will not be characters in our stories. Not villains, not victims, not even heroes. We are the authors of our lives. We write our own daring endings. We craft love from heartbreak, Compassion from shame, Grace from disappointment, Courage from failure. Showing up is our power. Story is our way home. Truth is our song. We are the brave and brokenhearted. We are rising strong.”

I had heard about Brene’ Brown’s work from one of my favorite podcasts I listen to, and had always been curious to find out why everyone raves about her.

Oh my god this woman is a genius. Go out and buy this book now, now, NOW!

I finished Rising Strong in week, and that’s only because I was alternating it with a mindless murder mystery so I could give myself a break from all the wisdom being thrown at me with this book.should be noted that I’m not new to self-help or personal development. I’m kind of a self-help junkie. Remember The Secret? I ate that shit up in 2006. It didn’t work for me.

Since then I’ve cycled through a ton of books, some good and some bad, each claiming to hold some other sort of “secret”. As a result, I look upon anyone who claims to be an authority on personal development with healthy skepticism.

But the difference with Rising Strong is that the tenets are based on actual research. Brown has PhD in Sociology and has focused her career in exploring how courage, vulnerability and shame shape our lives.

She uses years of research, both quantitative and anecdotal, to outline a framework on how to rise from failures, tragedies, heartbreaks, missteps and mistakes.

We all have a “face down in the arena” moment, as Brown calls it. It’s that moment when you’ve failed, and are trying to get your bearings, wiping dirt, blood and sweat off your face and summoning the strength to get off the ground.

Being “face down in the arena” can mean anything from a breakup, to a work misstep, a moral failing, a botched venture , or in any situation where the outcome is painful, and not what you expected—an emotional reaction.

My aspect of part of this book is how Brown delves into how humans are “wired for story”:

“Neuroeconomist Pau Zak has found that hearing a story—a narrative with a beginning, middle, and end, causes our brains to release cortisol and oxytocin. These chemicals trigger the uniquely human ability to connect, empathize and make meaning. Story is literally in our DNA”

Utilizing story, Brown provides us a framework for moving forward, to process and learn from our painful moments, and to “rise strong.”Her method is broken into three parts.

1) The Reckoning- understanding and identifying what has occurred, getting curious about your feelings and how they’ve influenced your behavior

2) The Rumble- engaging with the stories you’re making up about your struggle, challenging any confabulations and determining what’s true, and what needs to change for success

3) The Revolution- writing a new ending to your story based on learning from your Rumble, and using this braver story to inform how you move forward.

The process is simple, but completely changed my outlook on failure. How amazing to be able to learn from your mistakes, uncover pattern’s that continually hold you back and gain strength and clarity from failure.   To understand the magic that is rising strong, you really need to read the book in its entirety.

I’m now moving one of Brown’s earlier works Daring Greatly and I can’t wait to share my thoughts on it with you all.

 Click here for more info on Rising Strong & Brene’ Brown.

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