As a research professor, Brown spends her time obsessing over figures and stats. But the things she discovers in the data go beyond numbers. She’s helping people live fuller, more authentic lives. What are some of the life lessons we can learn from her?
1. Courage and fear belong together
In her book, Dare to Lead, Brown explains that fear and courage aren’t mutually exclusive – they exist together. It’s in these moments that we must embrace the difficult conversations, what Brown calls ‘the rumble’. These are conversations defined by a commitment to lean into vulnerability, to listen with the same passion with which we want to be heard.
In order to be brave, we must have open hearts and open minds. It’s not fear that gets in the way of courage – it’s the wall we put up, the armour put around ourselves. Brown implores us to break down the wall, take off the armour and start the conversation from a place of openness.
2. Lead from the heart, not from hurt
In her work with business leaders, Brown sees one pattern repeating itself. “Many people lead from a place of hurt and smallness, and they use their position of power to try to fill that self-worth gap,” she says. If leaders don’t address the real driver of pain, they put that on the people around them.
Whether it’s trouble in a relationship or personal self-doubt, these elements of hurt can fall on the people around us. Leading from the heart is about examining our own issues, working through them and leading from a place of curiosity and forgiveness.
3. Embrace imperfection
As our lives become more complicated and filled with technology, many of us are searching for authenticity. “To be authentic, we must cultivate the courage to be imperfect – and vulnerable,” says Brown. This is about letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embrace who we really are.