Reading, Thinking, and Daring Greatly

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Daring Greatly 3D Book ImageDaring Greatly by Brené Brown is a life-changing book.

It’s for you as an individual. You as a leader. And you as a parent.

She wrote it for you, me, for all of us.

Let me tell you a quick bit about my background so you can know why this book moved me so deeply. I was raised in a home where guilt and shame were parenting techniques and what you did, and how well you did it, were judged — never good enough. While it’s a good thing to work hard, perfectionism is unattainable and my childhood led me to a life of anxiety and low self-esteem. As I’ve broken free from that bondage, I’ve tried to re-condition my inner voice to the truth that I’m only now learning. I am worthy for just being, not doing.

But it’s hard.

And we live in a culture that perpetuates this. A scarcity culture says Brown. Never good enough. Never doing enough. That’s scarcity.


In Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, Brown defines vulnerability “as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.

It is based on mutuality, boundaries and trust — in other words, you don’t need to be vulnerable with people who haven not earned the right. But we do need to be vulnerable with those in our lives with whom we have relationships, with whom we can trust, or are trusting little by little with our stories.


Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.

It is the fear that something we’ve done or failed to do, . .. makes us unworthy of connection. . . I’m unlovable.

Guilt = I did something bad.
Shame = I am bad.”

Shame leads to self-loathing, addictive behaviors and anxiety. I lived here for so many decades and honestly, am still moving out of a shame-based life.

Daring Greatly

When we become resilient to shame, and believe in our own worthiness, Brown calls us Wholehearted.

WholeHearted Living

Wholehearted living is when we can move from shame to self-empathy and compassion. This is where we name the shame (the thought in our head) and doing so diminishes it’s power.

My therapist’s trick is my favorite for naming the shame is to say the shame (lie) in a silly voice. My go-to voice is the Monty Python Life of Brian mother’s voice. 🙂 It helps my brain recognize the absurdity of the shame lie and move past it.

Or you can do what Brown does and says, “Pain, pain, pain, pain, pain.” This also gets your brain back on track, out of the shame.

And joy? When we are grateful, we become joyful.

There’s so much more in this book for all of us, for us as leaders, and as parents but I’ll finish with the highlights of the parenting section.

Parenting with Our Whole Hearts

If I could copy word for word this entire chapter and print it here, without legal worries, I would. It is so profound, so oh-my-gosh moving, that if you read nothing else, you need to read this chapter.

The biggest thing I want to leave you with is the most vulnerable and bravest thing that we can do when raising our children:

Letting our children struggle and experience adversity.

If we don’t it’s DANGEROUS writes Brown. Here’s why.

Without struggle and adversity, there is no hope. Hope isn’t an emotion as it turns out. Hope is a way of thinking. Hope IS LEARNED.

If we’re always following our children into the arena, hushing the critics, and assuring their victory, they’ll never learn that they have the ability to dare greatly on their own.

In other words, think twice before you intervene.

And think about reading this book.

It will change your life.

xo ~Melissa

P.S. I thought this book was good but wow, her next book, Rising Strong, ROCKED MY WORLD EVEN MORE! 

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  1. My minister preached on this book/topic, and I missed that particular service. Now I feel like I should download the audio recording, and read this book, of course! Thanks for sharing this thoughtful review.

  2. Rehan and I saw her on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Good stuff. Thanks for the great overview.