LeaderLounge Recap: Brene Brown’s “Rising Strong”

Last night, our LeaderLounge took place in the absolutely fabulous Minami Restaurant, where we were dished Brene Brown wisdom with a side of sashimi. Our own Catherine Ducharme led us through the book itself, covering topics such as how vulnerability and courage are linked, how to face failure and come out strong (and #badass), and how the stories we create about others affects our judgment and generosity towards them. Talk about inspirational subjects. Bailey Heckel accompanied Catherine, with a three-part series of her own story regarding the rumble, the reckoning, and the revolution. Here’s what you missed last night if you couldn’t join us:



“Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” – Brene Brown

Are you that person who cries in public and is maybe a little too sensitive? Did you have to take personal leave from work and offer TMI to your boss? No thanks. I’ll pass.

Brene Brown starts off straight away by challenging our understanding of vulnerability and why it can actually make us stronger, not weaker (which we always assume). Vulnerability breeds courage, and courage breeds further vulnerability. It’s a terrifying place that puts us out into the open, even though we may receive judgement, criticism, or public failure in front of our peers. But Brene Brown pushes us to believe that vulnerability is actually the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and meaningful change. So if we all want more courage and further innovation, why don’t we openly accept being vulnerable?

The Courage To Fail

“If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall.” – Brene Brown

Life is all about being brave, falling, getting up, and then trying again. But what happens in the spaces between all of that? How do people deal individually with hurt and failure?

In Rising Strong, it details how people either exist in the arena, or in the tunnel preceding the arena. In the arena, simply showing up is being brave; the crowd has all eyes on you, and if you make a mistake or trip on your sandal, everyone will know (and judge). But in the tunnel, you’re comfortable, you’re in the dark, and there is no risk involved. But as Brene Brown points out, you can have comfort or you can have courage, but not both. She’s also absolutely uninterested in the comments and judgment made by people in the audience, because as long as you’re not in the arena, your opinion doesn’t matter.


1. The Reckoning

This is what follows a failure or a flat-on-your-ass stumble. All the feelings and emotions of failing or disappointing catch up with you; so how do you deal with that? The book encourages us to own your truth and own your stories. If you deny yourself your hurt or disengage from the tough emotions, they don’t go away. They end up owning us and defining our story. We miss the opportunity to learn from them and miss the big lessons that we could never learn otherwise. The Reckoning encourages us to stop, recognize our emotions, and learn to identify with them.


2. The Rumble
“In the absence of data, we will always make up stories.” – Brene Brown

This is where wholeheartedness is cultivated and change begins. The Rumble is where we start to challenge the stories we make up about our own struggles, as well as others. It allows us to determine what’s truth, self-protection, and what needs to change. The Rumble makes us uncertain and vulnerable as we wrestle with the truth. It’s also the place that shifts our understanding of others: will we move towards judgment or towards generosity?


3. The Revolution

This is the finale where we become revolutionized and our thought and belief systems become fundamentally transformed. It’s the place where we own our own story and our own truth, including all failures and successes. We shift how we engage with the world around us and we’ve learned how to rise strong from our shortcomings.

We strongly encourage all LeaderLounge attendees (and not!) to pick up Brene Brown’s Rising Strong book here.