How does it feel to write a review about Brené Brown’s book Rising Strong? I think it is good to start by asking you this question: would it be okay to write a book review by telling you to stop reading this text and go directly to read the book? Don’t’ waste your time looking for more reviews to tell you that this is a good book. No matter where you are and what you have faced in your life, you will find something in this book. I have never imagined that the stories in my head can be found in a book and not even any book, a best seller one.
A very great manuscript about owning our stories of grief, disappointment, and failure. In fact, the concept of rising strong should become a stand-alone topic that is taught in parallel with any educational system. We cannot value success without presenting a deep conversation about the middle- dark stage which Brené Brown described nicely when she said: “we need to break the silence about failure … the middle is always messy … we all have those moments when we feel that the tunnel is too dark; that the doors were closed behind us, that it is too far to turn back, and that we are not close enough to see the light”. What should we do then? Brené provided the powerful discussion about Rising Strong and the power to be vulnerable. i.e. “having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome”.
The Physics of Vulnerability
The key element of this rising strong journey is to give ourselves the permission to feel and process our emotions and not to neglect them. Why emotions are so important? Brené provided us with 10 basic laws of emotional physics which act as the rules of engagement for rising strong:
- “If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall; this is the physics of vulnerability”.
- “Once we fall in the service of being brave, we can never go back”.
- “This journey belongs to no one but you; however, no one successfully goes it alone”.
- “We’re wired for story”.
- “Creativity embeds knowledge so that it can become practice. We move what we’re learning from our heads to our hearts through our hands”.
- “Rising strong is the same process whether you’re navigating personal or professional struggles”.
- “Comparative suffering is a function of fear and scarcity”.
- “You can’t engineer an emotional, vulnerable, and courageous process into an easy, one-size-fits-all formula”.
- “Courage is contagious”.
- “Rising strong is a spiritual practice”.
The Rising Strong Process
In order to rise after failure, the three elements of the Rising String process are:
- “The Reckoning: Walking into Our Story. Recognize emotion, and get curious about our feelings and how they connect with the way we think and behave”.
- “The Rumbling: Owning Our Story. Get honest about the stories we’re making up about our struggle, and then challenge these confabulations and assumptions to determine what truth is, what self-protection is, and what needs to change if we want to lead more wholehearted lives”.
- “The Revolution. Write a new ending to our story based on the key learning from our rumble and use this new, braver story to change how we engage with the world and to ultimately transform the way we live, love, parent, and lead”.
Rumbling with Boundaries, Integrity, and Generosity
One of my best takeaways from this book is when Brené was examining her sense of self-righteousness and how that make her feels that she is better than others and not good enough. Two contradictions but a true story for a lot of us. Accordingly, she came up with an amazing tip for avoiding that by always assuming that other people are just doing their best. Personally, I like the way her husband re phrased it when he said: “I don’t know if people usually are doing their best.. all what I know is that my life is better when I assume that..it keeps me out of the judgment of what should and what shouldn’t”.
However, she reminded us that while assuming that the others aredoingg their best, we need to stop striving for looking so nice, friendly and easy-going with them. We need to set clear expectations when it comes to our needs. Otherwise, no one will value them so we will end up with deep resentment. “Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment”.
My other key takeaway from this book is the importance of storytelling as a tool to uncover hidden issues in our stories. Brené utilized the concept of SFD to help understanding our emotions and process them rather just ignoring them. I think I will start using this tool regularly.
A highly recommedned book indeed.