dare to lead by brené brown (a giveaway!)

Brené, at the Oregon coast (   our lovebomb reunion   ), 2009.

Brené, at the Oregon coast (our lovebomb reunion), 2009.

I met Brené just over 10 years ago, during my last year of practicing law, at a women’s creative retreat on the Oregon coast. At the time, I was wondering if I wanted to remain in the practice (the answer, it turned out, was “no”), especially as I was also an avid photographer and student of what photography was teaching me: that different is deeply beautiful. Brené was the relatively new author of the book I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t), and a professor of shame and vulnerability at the University of Houston. It was a couple of years prior to her becoming the household name she is today, and when I met her, I immediately liked her: our work had a lot in common in its champion of authenticity, and her no-bullshit attitude and quick wit are attributes I always deeply admire in a person. We became fast friends.

It’s 10 years later, and Brené’s work continues to evolve. While she is still a professor at U of H, Brené is also now the CEO of her own rapidly growing company, committed to making the world more courageous, and her work has achieved international acclaim. During that time, her work has been instrumental in the evolution of my own career: not only am I certified in and speak about her research in my own work, I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with her company, including being on the board of her new organization, Daring Education, focused on delivering accessible, relevant, and research-based courage-building programs to individuals, families, communities, schools, and organizations. And now, as a leadership coach myself, I incorporate my learnings about empathy and value-driven leadership in the conversations I have with my own clients — so much of which I learned from Brené.

So, like so many people around the world, my life has been changed by Brené’s work — her research is the real deal. I’m honoured to call her a friend, and I’m absolutely one of her biggest advocates.


Last week, her brand new book, Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts., was released, and it’s so, so great — it takes all of the learnings from two of her previous bestsellers (Daring Greatly and Rising Strong) and describes how their lessons specifically apply to the workplace. It’s taking me a minute to finish it, only because I keep stopping, taking notes, tabbing pages and re-reading passages. It’s really wonderful. And because I want everyone to read it, I have two copies to give away.

So, let’s do this old school: leave a comment below describing what you hope to get out of your own work or career. How do you derive purpose from your work, or how do you wish you did? Do you ever think about what kind of legacy you hope to leave with your work? Or is your work a stepping stone to something that you’d like to achieve in the future? Leave a comment below, and I’ll pick two commenters, each to receive a copy of Brené’s book, Dare to Lead. I’ll leave comments open until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, October 21st, and announce the winners on Monday.

I can’t wait to read what you share. (Open to everyone, no matter where in the world you are.)

Update: Wow! I can’t believe how many amazing comments this post received — and how many of you out there are making it your life’s work to change the world for the better. Reading your comments has been the most heartening thing I’ve experienced all year — thank you so much for participating.

I used a random number generator to pick my two winners, and they are:

Kim, who said: “I'm about to graduate from a Leadership Academy program through my work. We watched Brené's presentations on vulnerability and shame, and they have had a huge impact on me. I look forward to reading this book as I continue to learn.”

And Jess, who said: “I love Brene Brown! She is like my virtual therapist. In my career, I hope to make a difference in education. I want kids to be excited about learning and be empowered to ask questions and find answers independently.”

Congrats, Kim and Jess! Check your emails for a message from me for next steps.

And thanks again, everybody — let’s go forth and make light in this world together, shall we?