Rising Strong
Brené Brown

By Alishia Klein and Betty Jiang

April’s YWE book club was both heartwarming and inspiring as we discussed Brené Brown’s Rising Strong, a book that encourages readers to unabashedly face their challenges, own their stories and find comfort and courage in falling down. Brown’s words touched us all in one way or another, but we found common ground in many of her themes discussed in the book.

Here are the top Ah-Ha moments from our discussion:

  1.  We all fear that we’re not enough  sometimes. Whether it’s in our roles at work or at home – self-doubt can sneak up on us, sometimes unconsciously. We need to talk to ourselves like we would talk to someone we love, think of it as a pep talk – we owe it to ourselves because we each have gifts and talent that only we can bring forth.
  2. Authenticity is very powerful. Authenticity is the key to building and maintaining relationships, especially with yourself. Be aware of who you are and let go of what people think – this can be difficult, but we should remind ourselves of how important it is to be true to yourself and what you know.
  3. Be curious and surrender to uncertainty. When we feel sad, hurt or angry, let’s recognize that and confront it because that is how we can choose our own ending.  Not everyone knows how to do this which makes conversations difficult; People would much rather disengage from tough feelings and emotions than confront them head-on. We should encourage people to freely explore and express their feelings. Recognizing what you are feeling in the simplest form is important and crucial to being curious.
  4. We can’t skip the hard parts in life. Brown calls this Falling Up. These can be little moments that last a long time or big moments that are quickly over. The bottom line is, we must sit with ourselves in those moments, and walk ourselves through what exactly is happening. Feel and even analyze the feelings, learn from the situation… and then move on. Skipping the hard parts and pretending they didn’t happen may be an easy way out, but doesn’t result in growth. Instead, own them and be proud you got through them! Personally or professionally, give yourself permission to own your story.
  5. Believe that people are doing their best. We can be quick to judge when someone does something we don’t like or agree with. Our goal should be to recognize our judgements and remind ourselves that we don't know another persons’ story and we’re not in their shoes. Be compassionate during difficult times, but establish boundaries which are true to who we are.
  6. Distractions are important, but only for so long. Being busy can be a sign of numbing – when you are so busy that everything else (including emotions) can’t catch up. Zoning out and avoiding situations can also be an easy relief but eventually we need to own up to our feelings.
  7. Ask for help. This may seem so simple to do, but can be very difficult for some. Support makes all the difference when you’re trying to get through your own struggles. As Brown said, we were never meant to do everything alone.
  8. Live Wholeheartedly. Brown states, “vision that we can rise from our experiences of hurt and struggle in a way that allows us to live more wholehearted lives.” And “engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am brave and worthy of love and belonging."

Brené’s book provided great advice for us as young professional women and provided perspective on many of the challenges that we face both personally and professionally.

YWE’s Book Club provides an excellent opportunity for our members to get their hands on topical and engaging content, and to share insights with other like-minded women.  Our upcoming schedule can be found here.