WCAGLS Session 10: Dr. Brown on Shame

Session 10: Dr. Brene' Brown: Shame

After this intro, I wish I would have not stopped listening to her TED talk halfway through.

She is a vulnerability researcher.

She studies vulnerabilty, courage, shame.

She heard sea-level, down to earth.

What they said was C Level, CEO, CTO, CIO.

"I said, 'you don't understand, I don't study leaders, I study people."
Australian guy said, "Don't start with that"

"That's important for them, just uncomfortable, don't let them know you're coming"

It's easy to talk about innovation and change, creativity, but talking about irreducible needs of men, women and children are more important.

Love and belonging are irreducible needs. In their absence there is suffering.

People need
1. to be seen and loved
2. to belong
3. to be brave

We are here because we have connection and because we need more connection.

She put a picture of old lady hands on the screen as a symbol of love. Love is long, slow march.

Her definition of love is

when we let our most vulnerable selves to be seen and known. Love is when we honor that connection with trust, kindness, affection, and respect.

Love is something we grow, nurture, and cultivate. Between two people only when self-love is present in both.

Shame, blame, disrespect and betrayal, the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows.

Love grows in connection with others

Leaders don't have all the answers, that dance is over!

What a leader does is model the courage to ask the questions.

We can't give what we don't have

Leaders need to identify that weakness, find a team member that has it, and then lead the team in sharing it!

We can't give grace or forgiveness that we don't have!

We can't give help when we can't ask for it.

When you judge yourself for asking for help, you are by default judging when you offer help. When you judge yourself on a topic, you are also going to judge others when they need help.

Most of us have attached judgement to the need for and the offering of help.

You need it because you did something, I can give it because I didn't do the same thing. That is a big fat evil lie!

getting your self-worth from being a helper is a form of judgment

Professing vs. Practicing

Professing love has very little meaning.
Love is a practice. It is something we must do and participate in.

The gap between what we profess and what we practice is where we lose people. That's where we lose kids, church members, employees.

"I switched churches until I found the most imperfect group of people I could find."

"Everybody else goes to the 9:00 service, we go to the 9:05."

We want people that practice love all nasty and gritty, not in it's nice suit!

  1. shame
  2. blame
  3. betrayal
  4. disprespct
  5. withholding

Looking for shame is like looking for termites. People disengage to self-protect, so all the damage his hidden.

When you can see the termites, you have a big problem.
When you walk through the organization and you see shame at work, the shame infestation has taken over.

When your self-worth is connected to what you do, you are going to be miserable. So much shame is going to happen in that environment.

"If you haven't failed at a sermon so bad that you wanted to leave town, you aren't trying hard enough."

Blamers want to find out who's fault it is the minute something goes bad.

She blamed her husband for the broken coffee cup. He was late getting home, so it was HIS FAULT that she was having a second cup of coffee

blame: the simple discharge of pain and discomfort

people that are great at holding people accountable are not blamers. Good blamers SUCK at accountability.

Feedback is a function of respect.

Lack of feedback is the #2 reason that people say they leave jobs.

lack of feedback = apathy

You can't be good at feedback unless you are able to be vulnerable.

So many leaders avoid feedback because they themselves don't want to show their own vulnerability.

We need belonging.

the number one barrier to belonging is fitting in.

You have to make a space in your organization for people to show up, not as they should be, or how they could be, but how they are right now.

People will join a group of people not because they are the same, but because they have a mutual hate!

If I do everything that matches what you are all doing and I don't fit in, I leave with shame.

If I can show up and be myself and I don't fit in, I don't leave in shame.

People are desperate to be welcomed as they are, and to feel belonging just as they are.

"belonging is not a luxury, it is a part of our survival mechanism, to be a part of something bigger than us."

Being Brave

We were born to be brave!
We feel the most alive when we are being brave!

After her TED talk she had a vulnerability hangover.

Black dog depression is when you feel like you were too vulnerable. You feel like you either have to drive off a cliff or kill whoever you talked to.

Every one of us has a few things that someone could say that would make us change who we are.

The Man in the Arena

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

She quoted that.

As a human being you can choose comfort or courage, but you cannot have both.

When you sign up to enter the arena, you are signing up to get your butt kicked.

  • Have absolute clarity of value
  • Have someone who loves you because of your weakness "That sucked, but you were brave"
  • If you are not in the arena getting your butt kicked, I am not open or interested in your feedback.

"as the world has grown, the number of cheap seats has grown"

To contribute more than criticizing is a better way to live.

Bill's Closing Remarks

So many people live every day weighed down with the mistakes of the past.

We are really good at beating ourselves up, because our mistakes affect hundreds or thousands of people.

Romans 8:1
There is No Condemnation for those in Christ Jesus!

We don't have to carry that stuff around! Jesus took it!
Honest confession, agreeing with God that what you did was bad.
Ask God for forgiveness, take it, and move on with your life.


Leaders get attacked more than anybody else.

Many times we have a low-level resentment brewing.

Do a 60 second relational audit. Think of somebody that you need to apologize to. Think of somebody that you need to forgive and do it.

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