Daring Greatly – Brené Brown

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve picked up a book (I’ve been watching too much TV during the pandemic, guilty)! But, I have had Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly on my bookshelf for a couple of months now and decided to finally read it. To my surprise, I ended up finishing the book in one sitting! I didn’t think that would happen because it’s been so long since I’ve read but I was intrigued by how Brown defines vulnerability, shame, and bravery.

If you’re someone who often finds themselves closing off to emotions, or are afraid to show vulnerability, I would recommend this book. Whether you’re seeking ways to be more courageous at work, in your personal life, or in your relationship, this book discusses how being vulnerable can help you. We take huge risks when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, and it should be known that there’s no equation where taking risks, braving uncertainty, and opening ourselves up to emotional exposure equals weakness. Numbing vulnerability dulls our experience of love, joy, belonging, creativity, and empathy. We can’t selectively numb emotion. When you numb the dark you numb the light.


  1. Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.
  2. We , humans, have a tendency to define things by what they are not. This is especially true of our emotional experiences.
  3. The absence of love, belonging, and connection always leads to suffering.
  4. Being rather than knowing requires showing up and letting ourselves be seen. It requires us to dare greatly, to be vulnerable.
  5. It feels good to have an explanation, especially one that conveniently makes us feel better about ourselves and places the blame on other people.
  6. We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we’re afraid to let them see it in us. We’re afraid that our truth isn’t enough – that what we have to offer isn’t enough without the bells and whistles, without editing, and impressing.
  7. We need to feel trust to be vulnerable and we need to be vulnerable in order to trust.
  8. Yes, shame is tough to talk about. But the conversation isn’t nearly as dangerous as what we’re creating with our silence. We all experience shame.
  9. Guilt is saying I did something bad. Shame is saying I am bad.
  10. Shame is much more likely to be the cause of destructive and hurtful behaviors than it is to be the solution.
  11. If you can own this story, you get to write the ending. When we bury the story forever, we stay the subject of the story. If we own the story, we get to narrate the ending.
  12. I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.
  13. Shame resilience – the four elements include finding a middle path, an option that allows us to stay engaged, and to find the emotional courage we need to respond in a way that aligns with our values.
  14. Shaming comments leave marks. And shaming someone we love around vulnerability is the most serious of all security breaches.
  15. We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known.
  16. Vulnerability is the last thing I want you to see in me, but the first thing I look for in you.
  17. It’s easier to live disappointed than it is to feel disappointed. It feels more vulnerable to dip in and out of disappointment than to just set up camp there. You sacrifice joy, but you suffer less pain.
  18. But every time we allow ourselves to lean into joy and give in to those moments, we build resilience and cultivate hope.
  19. Perfectionism is not self-improvement. Perfectionism is, at its core, about trying to earn approval.
  20. We are a culture of people who’ve bought into the idea that if we stay busy enough, the truth of our lives won’t catch up with us.
  21. Numbing vulnerability dulls our experience of love, joy, belonging, creativity, and empathy. We can’t selectively numb emotion. Numb the dark and you numb the light.
  22. We’re desperate to feel less or more of something to make something go away or to have more of something else.
  23. It’s not what you do; it’s why you do it that makes the difference.
  24. But I am suggesting that we stop dehumanizing people and start looking at them in the eye when we speak to them. If we don’t have the energy and time to do that, we should stay at home.
  25. When it comes to vulnerability, connectivity means sharing our stories with people who have earned the right to hear them – people with whom we’ve cultivated relationships that can bear the weight of our story.
  26. It’s rare that we’re able to stay attuned when someones oversharing has stretched us past our connectivity with them.
  27. I firmly believe that being vulnerable with a larger audience is only a good idea if the healing is tied to the sharing, not to the expectations I might have for the response I get. Why am I sharing this? What outcome am I hoping for? Is this sharing in the service of connection? Is there an outcome, response, or lack of a response that will hurt my feelings?
  28. We can’t give people what we don’t have. Who we are matters immeasurably more than what we know or who we want to be.
  29. We have to pay attention to the space between where we’re actually standing and where we want to be.
  30. A leader is anyone who holds her/himself accountable for finding potential in people and processes.
  31. Shame can only rise so far in any system before people disengage to protect themselves. When we’re disengaged, we don’t show up, we don’t contribute, and we stop caring.
  32. If we’re not willing to ask for feedback and receive it, we’ll never be good at giving it.
  33. Bullshitting is the deathblow in any relationship.
  34. If you’re not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader.
  35. The question isn’t “Are you parenting the right way” as it is: “Are you the adult that you want your child to grow up to be?”
  36. What we are teaches the child more than what we say, so we must be what we want our children to become.
  37. Belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.
  38. Belonging is being accepted for you. Fitting in is being accepted for being like everyone else.
  39. If we want to cultivate worthiness in our children, we need to make sure they know that they belong and that their belonging is unconditional.
  40. We can’t give our children what we don’t have, which means we have to work to cultivate a sense of belonging alongside our children.
  41. Compassion is not a relationship between the leader and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.
Only when we're brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.
*I take no credit for any of these points.

Recommend me a book

No horror books, please!!