For our first intention, bravery, our text is Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown. (Curious about this 'intentions' business? Head here for an explanation.) I, Dr. Donnelly, am going to be breaking down the book into chunks so that we can chat about them. Throughout this quarter, a lot of our content will focus on bravery - from videos to blogs to podcasts - so we are real serious about the 'discussion' part of it.
The first chapter of Braving the Wilderness is Brene's explanation of why she wrote the book. She goes into a little about the social climate of 2017 and talks about the quote from Maya Angelou that started her down this mental journey, and discusses the first bit of the subtitle: "the quest for true belonging".
What 'true belonging' boils down to is somewhat counter-intuitive. We talk a lot about belonging to groups and feeling senses of community. What Brown is arguing here is not that community is not important, but that you can't truly belong anywhere until you belong to yourself, and the true mark of belonging is only belonging to yourself. It allows you to deeply invest in others, while still maintaining your sense of self.
She uses 'braving' as an acronym for the component of this:
When I was finished reading this section, I had to pause for a long time. This all sounds exhausting. To know yourself at this level, to be willing to stand alone in order to do it, to set appropriate boundaries... it's all a lot.
And then I remembered the other hard things being a leader requires, the other hard things being a human requires. And, as Glennon Doyle Melton constantly reminds us, we can do hard things.
Loving other people is hard. Believing in ourselves is hard. Bravery is hard.
I'm going to hit pause at this point, so that we can wrap our brain around 'true belonging'. I'll be back this weekend with a further discussion of B-R-A-V-I-N-G and how I think it all works with leadership.