Oprah and Dr. Brené Brown–Part II

brene2I’m glad Oprah decided to spend another Super Soul Sunday with Dr. Brené Brown. Yesterday’s show focused on shame and fear and how they rule our existence. A joy-filled hour packed with aha moments, so many that I will probably watch the telecast several times to make sure I haven’t missed one.

When Dr. Brown started to study shame, she discovered that the decision to study shame had led to the death of many academic careers. No one wants to talk about the most human and primitive of emotions, one  that Dr. Brown so aptly described as an intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging.

She also differentiated between shame and guilt, demonstrating the power of our words.

I’m bad vs I did something bad.

I’m a mistake vs I made a mistake.

I was particularly impressed by the response Dr. Brown’s daughter gave the teacher who commented: “You’re messy.” Displaying a healthy dose of self confidence, the child replied, “I may be making a mess, but I’m not messy.”

As I listened to the telecast, I thought back to my own cancer experience. During those ten months, I discovered who could and who could not bear the weight of my new story. I will always be grateful to the five angels who called me that first weekend and offered specific help. No pity parties or flying debris from those wonderful friends. Thankfully, I did not have to endure too many insufferable comments: “Oh, you poor thing!”; “Bless your heart.” I was moved by the friend who approached me a year later and apologized for not being there for me.

Quotable Quotes…

Unused creativity is not benign. It gets metastasized as rage, judgment, shame…

Calm people are breathers. They breathe and ask questions.

Cultivate laughter, song and dance. We need to let go of control and cool.

Cool is an emotional strait-jacket.

If there is secrecy, silence and judgment, shame grows exponentially and creeps into every corner and crevice of life.

Shame is the #1 classroom management tool.

Shame can’t survive empathy.

Shame depends upon us buying into the belief that we are unworthy.

Keep the shadow up front because it can only take you down from behind.

Share with people who have earned the right to your story.

Some people confuse connection with the opportunity to one-up you.

Love and belonging are irreducible needs.

Oprah and Dr. Brené Brown

brene2Kindred spirits.

It was obvious on yesterday’s Super Soul Sunday that Oprah and Dr. Brené Brown were forging a long-term relationship as they discussed the most uncomfortable of topics: vulnerability.

The fifth generation Texan had her own issues with vulnerability. A bit surprising for the academic who had devoted many years of research to vulnerability, courage and shame. In 2007, she realized that she wasn’t walking the talk and had a full-on breakdown. After intense therapy, she had a spiritual awakening and revealed her deepest fears at a 2010 TED talk on vulnerability. She became an internet celebrity, reaching over eight million people with that talk.

But the story doesn’t end there.

As Dr. Brown become more popular, the critics came out of the woodwork. She ignored her husband’s advice and read the anonymous negative comments. Devastated, she retreated and spent ten hours watching Downton Abbey reruns. She researched the period and rediscovered the famous Theodore Roosevelt quote:

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…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 or defeat.

Dr. Brown decided she wanted to be the man in the arena and came up with her own personal mantra:

If you’re not in the arena getting your butt occasionally kicked, I am not interested in your feedback.

Throughout the telecast, she offered wonderful insights on the scarcity culture, imperfection, and living wholeheartedly. I am looking forward to reading her third book, Daring Greatly.

Quotable Quotes…

You can’t get courage without walking through vulnerability.

#1 casualty of the scarcity culture is vulnerability.

There is no innovation or creativity without failure. Period.

God is the diving reminder of our inherent worthiness.

There is no joy without gratitude.

When we lose our tolerance for vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding.

Faith – (Vulnerability + Mystery) = Extremism

Authenticity is a choice we make every day, sometimes every hour.

The ego is the hustler and the message is “hustle for your worth.”