Don't Fall for It

September 24, 2013

Can you remember the last time you didn't let what others thought or expected stop you from trying something new or something you love? We're not talking about throwing all caution or reason to the wind, no that's just reckless. What we are talking about is silencing the negative voices, the inner critic, tradition or dogma to get to what's really important and who you really are.

be yourself

Well, researcher, thought leader and TEDx internet phenom Dr. Brené Brown (see for yourself here) remembers her last time. After she gave her now infamous TED Talk, her family and friends told her not to go online and read the comments. She read the comments. And it sent her into a tailspin. If this is the response of a qualitative research professor, a woman with more degrees than we have ideas and someone with the nerve and intelligence to speak to millions of people, what hope do the rest of us have? In an excerpt of her interview with Oprah, Brené explains:

"People were saying things like 'Less research, more Botox' and 'Maybe you'll be worthy in 20 pounds.' And they all were anonymous, which is such - well, crapola! . . . So one day I sent my husband, Steve, to work, I sent my kids to school, and I sat on the couch in my pajamas and watched ten hours of Downton Abbey. I ate some peanut butter. I was like, this is not worth it, man. I'm not doing this anymore."

be yourself

And we can't say we blame her. But what's remarkable is of course she didn't stop there. She Googled a little and came across a quote from Theodore Roosevelt. It was a game changer for her.

"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, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…[And] if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly."

This quote kind of lit a fire for us, too. We'll take any and all reminders not to fall for the distraction of criticism. Especially the anonymous kind. It's easy and reactive, the crutch of the observer. We'd rather be doers, the kind of people who make mistakes (so the Grilled Steak Onion Rings weren't your thing, there are plenty of other flavors, my friend) only to come out stronger and wiser.

What did Brené do with this information? Well, she didn't stay on the couch and she didn't let 'anonymous'-or even her own voices of doubt stop her. She wrote the book Daring Greatly . And she did just that (thank you, Teddy and Brené).

We are going to start practicing now.

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