I just finished reading a book by Brene Brown Dare To Lead which I found very bold, honest and convicting on many levels. I don’t know where she is spiritually and she does use some salty language, but the read was extremely point on for me regarding leadership and relationships. I’ve got lots to think about and pray about for my own life. I’m still hungry to grow and learn.

Taking it to the next level

Here are some of my highlights from the book. I’d love to hear what you think.


We avoid tough conversations,

Not enough people are taking smart risks or creating and sharing bold ideas

When people are afraid of being put down or ridiculed for trying something and failing, or even for putting forward a radical new idea, the best you can expect is status quo and groupthink.

We have too much shame and blame, not enough accountability and learning.

Choosing our own comfort over hard conversations is the epitome of privilege, and it corrodes trust and moves us away from meaningful and lasting change.

Perfectionism and fear are keeping people from learning and growing.

We hustle for acceptance and changing who we are to fit in.

Confront the most brutal facts of your current reality,

We have to be vigilant about creating a culture in which people feel safe, seen, heard, and respected.

Get clear on whose opinions of you matter. We need to seek feedback from those people.

“When we define ourselves by what everyone thinks, it’s hard to be brave “~ C.S. Lewis

Trust is in fact earned in the smallest of moments.

Creating what we call a safe container by asking the team what they need to feel open and safe in the conversation. 

Google’s five-year study on highly productive teams, Project Aristotle, found that psychological safety—team members feeling safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other—was “far and away the most important of the dynamics that set successful teams apart.”

In psychologically safe environments, people believe that if they make a mistake others will not penalize or think less of them for it. 

The behaviors that people need from their team or group almost always include listening, staying curious, being honest, and keeping confidences.

There is absolutely no innovation without failure.

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.

It’s not about being right or wrong, it’s about creating space to understand different perspectives.

Leaders must either invest a reasonable amount of time attending to fears and feelings or squander an unreasonable amount of time trying to manage ineffective and unproductive behavior.

The slogans are easy. The behaviors to support the slogans are not. 

We consciously or unconsciously build unsafe cultures that require and reward armor. They value all-knowing over always learning and staying curious.

Without our understanding or consent, emotions start driving our decision-making and behavior while thinking is tied up in the trunk.

I think of my ego as my inner hustler. It’s that voice in my head that drives pretending, performing, pleasing, and perfecting.

Wherever perfectionism is driving us, shame is riding shotgun.

Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving for excellence.  Perfectionism is, at its core, about trying to earn approval.

We must learn how to distinguish perfectionism from healthy striving for excellence.

Why do we insist on dress-rehearsing tragedy in moments of deep joy?

Resentment is almost always related to a lack of boundaries.

Despair is the belief that tomorrow will be just like today.

Open, honest discussion, in which everyone feels free to offer suggestions and contribute, stimulates creativity.

What makes power dangerous is how it’s used. 

When we operate from a place of power within, we feel comfortable challenging assumptions and long-held beliefs, pushing against the status quo, and asking if there aren’t other ways to achieve the highest common good.

When we do not understand our value, we often exaggerate our importance in ways that are not helpful, and we consciously or unconsciously seek attention and validation of importance.

We stop hustling for worthiness and lean into our gifts. The armor of compliance and control is normally about fear and power.

The less people understand how their hard work adds value to bigger goals, the less engaged they are. 

  • Who owns the task?
  • Do they have the authority to be held accountable?
  • Do we agree that they are set up for success (time, resources, clarity)?
  • Do we have a checklist of what needs to happen to accomplish the task?
  • “What does done look like?

Watch out for rewarding exhaustion as a status symbol and attaching productivity to self-worth.

When worthiness is a function of productivity, we lose the ability to pump the brakes.

If we want to live a life of meaning and contribution, we have to become intentional about cultivating sleep and play. We have to let go of exhaustion, busyness, and productivity as status symbols and measures of self-worth. We are impressing no one.

True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.

Shame, which is often referred to as “the master emotion” by researchers, is the never good enough emotion. “Unwanted identity” is one of the primary elicitors of shame.

Shame is the fear of disconnection—it’s the fear that something we’ve done or failed to do, an ideal that we’ve not lived up to, or a goal that we’ve not accomplished makes us unworthy of connection.

Shame is the  intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love, belonging, and connection.

I define narcissism as the shame-based fear of being ordinary.

Grandiosity and bluster are easy to assign to an overinflated ego. It’s tough to get a glimpse of the fear and lack of self-worth that are actually behind the posturing and selfishness. Where shame exists, empathy is almost always absent.

Is there evidence of people in leadership roles bullying others, criticizing subordinates in front of colleagues, delivering public reprimands, or setting up reward systems that intentionally embarrass, shame, or humiliate people?

Great leaders  make tough “people decisions” and are tender in implementing them.

Resisting the urge to punish or shame ourselves when we make mistakes is true mastery.

Honesty is the best policy, but honesty that’s motivated by shame, anger, fear, or hurt is not “honesty.”

We need to be willing to  have tough conversations, hard meetings, and emotionally charged decision making,

Leaders need the grounded confidence to stay tethered to their values, respond rather than react emotionally, and operate from self-awareness, not self-protection.

Ultimately, leadership is the ability to thrive in the ambiguity of paradoxes and opposites.”

As a leader, I no longer check my personal life at the door.

I’m committed to tackling problems that threaten our mission, vision, and values, and I challenge others to call out the culture killers in our organization.

We celebrate what works, and we change things that don’t add value to the organization.

When the critics are being extra loud and rowdy, it’s easy to start hustling—to try to prove, perfect, perform, and please.

Jim Collins’s mandate “If you have more than three priorities, you have no priorities.”