Ideas from the book Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

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, who comes short again and again,

because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…

  • If we want to reignite innovation and passion, we have to rehumanize work.
  • When failure is not an option we can forget about learning, creativity and innovation.
What we know matters, but who we are matters more
  • The ability to acknowledge our risks and exposure, greatly increases our chances of adhering to some kind of positive health regimen.
  • We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we are afraid to let them see it in us.
  • Speak openly about failing.
What’s worth doing even if I fail?
  • Sharing appropriately, with boundaries, means sharing with people with whom you’ve developed relationships that can bear the weight of our story.
  • Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgement to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgement to giving help.
  • A sense of worthiness inspires us to be vulnerable, share openly, and persevere.


Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging
  • Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.
  • Shame is fear of disconnection.
  • People believe they deserve their shame; they do not believe they deserve their humiliation.

The secret killer of innovation is shame. You can’t measure it, but it is there. Every time someone holds back on a new idea, fails to give their manager much needed feedback, and is afraid to speak up in front of a client you can be sure shame played a part. That deep fear we all have of being wrong, of being belittled and of feeling less than, is what stops us taking the very risks required to move out companies forward.

  • You are only as sick as your secrets.
  • Real belonging doesn’t necessitate disdain.
  • We judge people in areas where we are vulnerable to shame.
  • We’re hard on each other because we’re using each other as a launching pad out of our own perceived shaming deficiency.

Shame Resilience

  1. Practise courage and reach out by sharing your experience with someone who has earned the right to hear it.
  2. Talk to yourself the way you would to someone you really love and who you are trying to comfort.
  3. Own your story - don’t bury it. “If you own the story you get to write the ending.”

Love is not something we give or get; it is something we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them - we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.

Vulnerability is the last thing I want you to see in me, but the first thing I look for in you


  • Participants described happiness as an emotion that’s connected to circumstance and they described joy as a spiritual way of engaging with the world that’s connected to a practising of gratitude.
  • Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. Scarcity culture may keep us afraid of living small, ordinary lives.
  • Be grateful for what you have. Celebrate it. Share your gratitude with others.
  • Don’t squander joy. We can’t prepare for tragedy and loss.

But every time we allow ourselves to learn into joy and give in to those moments, we build resilience and we cultivate hope. The joy becomes part of who we are, and when bad things happen, we are stronger.


  • Healthy striving is self-focused: How can I improve? Perfectionism is other-focused: What will they think?
  • The fear of failing, making mistakes, not meeting people’s expectations, and being criticised keeps us outside the arena.
  • Perfectionism is a form of shame.

I remind myself “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of good” - (Cribbed from Voltaire.) A twenty-minute walk that I do is better than a four-hour run that I don’t do. The imperfect book that gets published is better than the perfect book that never leaves my computer. The dinner party of take-out Chinese food is better than the elegant dinner that I never host.

  • To manage perfectionism give yourself permission to do lots of things that are good enough.

  • Because we are hard-wired for connection, disconnection always creates pain.

  • If we want to fully experience love and belonging, we must believe that we are worthy of love and belonging.

Rehumanise work

  • Most people and most organisations can’t stand the uncertainty and the risk of real innovation. Learning and creating are inherently vulnerable. There’s never enough certainty. People want guarantees.
  • Something related to fear keeps people from going for it. They focus on what they already do well and they don’t put themselves out there.
  • No corporation or school can thrive in the absence of creativity, innovation, and learning, and the greatest threat to all three of these is disengagement.
  • When we are disengaged, we don’t show up, we don’t contribute, and we stop caring.
  • If blame is a pattern in your culture, then shame needs to addressed as an issue.
  • Cover-up cultures depend on shame keeping folks quiet.

Vulnerability Meter

How often to people in your business, school, communities say these things?

  • “I don’t know.”
  • “I need help.”
  • “I’d like to give it a shot.”
  • “It’s important to me.”
  • “I disagree - can we talk about it?”
  • “It didn’t work, but I learned a lot.”
  • “Yes, I did it.”
  • “Here’s what I need.”
  • “Here’s how I feel.”
  • “I’d like some feedback.”
  • “Can I get your take on this?”
  • “What can I do better next time?”
  • “Can you teach me how to do this?”
  • “I played a part in that.”
  • “I accept responsibility for that.”
  • “I’m here for you.”
  • “I want to help.”
  • “Let’s move on.”
  • “I’m sorry.”
  • “That means a lot to me.”
  • “Thank you.”


  • Certainty often breeds absolutes, intolerance and judgement.
Are you the adult you want your child to grow up to be?
  • If we want our children to love and accept who they are, our job is to love and accept who we are.
  • We can’t raise children who are more shame resilient than we are.
  • Normalising means helping our children know they’re not alone and that we’ve experienced many of the same struggles.
  • When we feel good about the choices we’re making and when we’re engaging with the world from a place of worthiness rather than scarcity, we feel no need to judge and attack.
  • Daring greatly means finding our own path and respecting what the search looks like for other folks.
  • Belonging is being somewhere you want to be, and where they want you. Fitting in is being accepted for being like everyone else.
  • Parenting perfection is not the goal. The best gifts and teaching moments happen in those imperfect moments when we allow children to help us mind the gap.