32 ;e Costco Connection SEPTEMBER 2015
a self-guided e-course and ;lmed two episodes
of Super Soul Sunday.
“One of the great bene;ts of doing this
work is it’s the great equalizer,” she says. “No
amount of success, money, power or in;uence
buys you a free ride through the topics I talk
about. I just see people as people.”
Putting shame on the map
Brown’s home is immaculate, adorned in
modern rustic décor, yet it feels comfortable
and lived in. While her home and her life
appear pulled together, Brown says her path
was a winding one.
A;er high school, she hitchhiked around
Europe for six months, returned and tried
going to college more than once, which
resulted in getting kicked out or voluntarily
dropping out. She held a ;urry of jobs, from
waiting tables and cleaning houses to ;nally
landing a management position at AT&T,
before deciding to ;nish her bachelor’s degree
at 29. “I had my resignation letter in my hand
and [my boss] said, ‘You’re either quitting to
become a social worker or a VJ on Headbangers
Ball.’ ;at kind of summed up who I was,”
She went straight through her master’s
and Ph.D. in social work at the University of
Houston, where she now teaches. But it wasn’t
until she started researching shame that she
realized she had been subconsciously curious
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 31
about the topic for some time. In the ’90s, she
worked at a residential treatment facility where
the clinical director always told the sta;, “You
can’t shame or belittle people into changing.”
And it stuck. Brown, now 49, says, “I
thought, ‘Man, he’s either wrong or he’s right
and the world is totally jacked up.’ Because
[shame] is how the world works. It’s how
advertising works, marketing, that’s how a lot
of parents work, it’s how a lot of school systems work. So when it came back up again in
this research as a doctoral student and as a
young professor, I was super curious. I thought
I’d give myself six months to look at shame,”
she laughs. ;at was in 2000.
On being connected, creative
Fi;een years later, Brown says that the
sum of her educational and research career
has come down to this: “We are physically,
emotionally, socially, spiritually hard-wired
for connection. And in the absence of con-
nection, there is always su;ering.”
Her research started gaining widespread
attention in 2007 with her blog, Ordinary
Courage ( ordinarycourage.com), and her ;rst
book, I ;ought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t):
Making the Journey from “What Will People
;ink?” to “I Am Enough.” In Rising Strong,
Brown candidly explains the painful personal
experience of getting that ;rst book out to the
public, a process in which she felt she didn’t
stay true to herself. So she tried again with
;e Gi;s of Imperfection, this time telling sto-
ries her way, and it became her ;rst New York
Times best-seller. It was around this time that
she caught the attention of the TED Conference,
and after her speech at TEDxHouston the
speaking requests began pouring in.
In 2012, she knocked it out of the park
again, with the No. 1 New York Times best-seller Daring Greatly, which chronicles the
process of ;nding the courage to be vulnerable. ;at year she closed the TED Conference
with her keynote speech, “Listening to Shame.”
In Rising Strong, Brown discusses how to
handle failure a;er you’ve been vulnerable or
1. Cultivating authenticity:
Letting go of what people think.
2. Cultivating self-compassion:
Letting go of perfectionism.
3. Cultivating a resilient spirit:
Letting go of numbing and powerlessness.
4. Cultivating gratitude and joy:
Letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark.
5. Cultivating intuition and
Letting go of the need for certainty.
6. Cultivating creativity:
Letting go of comparison.
7. Cultivating play and rest:
Letting go of exhaustion as a status
symbol and productivity as self-worth.
8. Cultivating calm and stillness:
Letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle.
9. Cultivating meaningful work:
Letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to.”
10. Cultivating laughter, song
Letting go of being cool and “always
Excerpted from Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown
Ten guideposts for
Brené Brown speaks at
Costco’s annual Journeys
Women’s Symposium in July.
(Below) Brown sports a power
statement promoting and
honoring personal courage.
COSTCO PHOTO STUDIO/FRANCE FREEMAN