My time in Texas was awe-inspiring, life-changing and profound. Even to this day, it is hard to capture in words what the experience was like – cue brain melt. The privilege to train with Brené Brown was the thing that my dreams were made of and everything about the experience exceeded my wildest expectations. Those three days and that moment in time encapsulated everything I had worked for, truly the highlight of my career – and my life. It was exhilarating, overwhelming and crazy amazing.
The day before I left for San Antonio, I was having a major bout of Impostor Syndrome and the “Not Good Enough” gremlins were in full swing. The tape in my head went something like this: What am I doing, and how did this happen? They made a mistake. Did you see how accomplished all of your colleagues at this training are? These people are coming from all over the world for this. You don’t belong with them. You are small potatoes in comparison.
Sound familiar? It happens to the best of us. And comparison? It is a huge driver of shame, along with its companions perfectionism and self-worth tied to productivity. According to Theodore Roosevelt, it’s also the thief of joy.
Thankfully, I am pretty good at resourcing. With a little help from my friends, I shook it off and found the courage to board the plane the following day. It was my first time in San Antonio, so there was a lot to explore – the local food, the local history, and the River Walk. It did not disappoint.
On the first day of training, I was nervous beyond belief. The room exploded when Brené walked in, a literal spontaneous combustion of applause. When the cheering subsided, she very quickly set the stage for the training by saying, “For the next couple days, we are here together as colleagues. I’m here with my peers. If you are questioning if you should be here, trust me, we vet the sh*t out of you. You are supposed to be here.”
And exhale. Validation. One of the first things we did was write permission slips for ourselves. This exercise was simple, but extremely liberating.
The next order of business was going around the room and doing introductions. It was amazing and humbling to listen to who the other participants were – CEO’s, small business owners, lawyers, business consultants, organizational development professionals, professional speakers, clergy etc. And me. 16 countries represented.
I had left for Texas with exactly one goal: express my gratitude for the opportunity. I didn’t know how or where or when, but I knew it needed to happen. When it was my turn for introductions, I put my hand on my heart and looked her in the eyes and said, “I am so grateful to be here. Thank you Brené”. I knew this might be my only chance at it, so I took my moment and made it count.
On the second day, I chose brave. When Brené inquired what situations lead us to “armor up” – which for me is always feeling “not good enough” – I raised my hand. She called on me, and I shared what that looks like for me: I become hyper-critical of myself and others, and start to doubt myself and my abilities. She paused, bowed her head at the podium, then looked back up and said, “See, now it gets real. That is me too.” In that moment, I felt seen. Connected. So powerful.
On the last day, I engaged with Brené on a short break. I shared with her that working through the BRAVING inventory homework had been really profound for me because focusing on my goal – being braver with my life and to stop engineering smallness – had forced me to get really honest. The BRAVING inventory had created the opportunity to identify things I need to work on and shore up in myself in order to better honor and facilitate this work. I shared that, in the end, the BRAVING inventory had led me back to myself. I shared specifically with Generosity, doing the inventory helped me realize I have always been enough and I was going to practice that behavior from now on. She took a breath, held out her hand to mine, and said, “Yes, get there and stay there”. The moment was completely overwhelming to the point I barely squeaked out a “thank you” before I took a step back, and started crying because I’m awesome (and vulnerable to emotion). Whew!
The number one question people have asked me about the training is: “What was she like?”. Well, let me tell you. She is everything that she appears to be: witty, wicked smart and an articulate storyteller. She came across as engaging, intense, and down to earth. Meeting her was surreal; it was like touching the sun.
When I got back to Minneapolis, I set out on a mission: reread DTL taking detailed notes in preparation of facilitating. “Serve the work” she told us. “Make sure its in your bones.” Yes ma’am. Mission accomplished.
Now? Now it gets real. To learn more about the Dare to Lead ™ Training, click here.
QOTD: “It’s all about finding calm in the chaos.” ~ Donna Karan
Mood: You Say – Lauren Daigle
Share: Have you ever had a chance to meet your hero? Have you ever experimented writing permission slips for yourself?