Thrive

How to Recover More Quickly from Disappointment by Amy DeRosia

Yes, if we care enough and dare enough, we will experience disappointment. But in those moments when disappointment is washing over us and we’re desperately trying to get our heads and hearts around what is or is not going to be, the death of our expectations can be painful beyond measure.
— Brene Brown

When you're learning something new or out of your comfort zone, eventually you're going to fall down. I had a moment like this recently and was reminded of how terrible it feels-even when you are fully aware of how useful failure is.

The word failure is imperfect. Once we begin to transform it, it ceases to be that any longer. The term is always slipping off the edges of our vision, not simply because it’s hard to see without wincing, but because once we are ready to talk about it, we often call the event something else- a learning experience, a trial, a reinvention- no longer the static concept of failure.
— Sarah Lewis

When we find the courage to put ourselves in situations where we fail more, we continue to grow and learn. But we also need ways to help us get back up after the fall.

In Brenè Brown's most recent book, Rising Strong, she does a great job of talking about what she calls "facedown" moments- failure, disappointment, shame, etc. One practical suggestion to help us learn the lessons from our failure is to write about them.  Using short writing exercises can help us discover new insights about our experiences.

Emotional upheavals touch every part of our lives. You don’t just lose a job, you don’t just get divorced. These things affect all aspects of who we are- our financial situation, our relationships with others, our views of ourselves, our issues of life and death. Writing helps us focus and organize the experience.
— James Pennebaker

She mentions a researcher from the University of Texas at Austin, James Pennebaker, who has studied the benefits of short bursts of writing in the healing process. His work shows that processing your uncomfortable emotions through writing for 15-20 minutes a day can help with symptoms of anxiety, depression, and improve your immune system in as little as 4 days.

Brene suggests two sets of prompts to work through your "facedown" moments. In this first set you want to make sure you don't censor yourself. Write down your actual reaction- not how you think you should respond.

First draft thoughts:

The story I'm making up-

My emotions-

My body-

My thinking-

My beliefs-

My actions-


Once you've got your initial thoughts on paper, you can go a little deeper or as she calls it "rumble" with a second set of questions.

"The Rumble" Process:

1. What more do I need to learn and understand about the situation?

What do I know objectively?
What assumptions am I making?

2. What more do I need to learn and understand about the other people in the story?

What additional information do I need?
What questions or clarifications might help?

3. What more do I need to learn and understand about myself?

What's underneath my response?
What am I really feeling?
What part did I play?

This specific method may be too rigid for you. But I hope you find a daily practice that helps you make brave choices.


P.s. Brené Brown is offering some classes now on her new site, Courage Works, about applying her research to everyday life -including a free class on the Anatomy of Trust.

Why We Should Be More Arrogant by Amy DeRosia

CC photo by Matteo Paganelli

Creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that-merely by being here-you are allowed to have a voice, a vision of your own.
— Elizabeth Gilbert

I've never been a fan of arrogance. But developing this quality was one of my major takeaways from Elizabeth Gilbert's new book Big Magic

We wait for approval, recognition, or confirmation that our ideas are worth sharing. We feel obligated to follow the rules, go through the proper channels, and stand in line until we're noticed by someone who matters. But that method is rarely the best way to create or add value.

You don't need anyone's permission to make your art, start a movement, or solve a problem.  Even though there is security in being chosen or invited by someone else to do something, waiting to be picked is disheartening. Sometimes it doesn't happen at all. We could easily become bitter, cynical, or stuck because we're giving someone else all the power. 

The arrogance of belonging is not about egotism or self absorption. In a strange way, it’s the opposite; it is a divine force that will actually take you out of yourself and allow you to engage more fully with life. Because often what keeps you from creative living is your self-absorption (your self-doubt, your self-disgust, your self-judgement, your crushing sense of self protection). The arrogance of belonging pulls you out of the darkest depths of self hatred-not by saying ‘I am the greatest! but merely by saying ‘I am here!
— Elizabeth Gilbert

Believing that you have a place at the table changes how you interact with the world around you. You stop listening to the voice that says, "who do you think you are?" You learn by doing and speak up when you have something to say. 

Leadership, like art, is something we tend to leave to the experts. But you can be a leader through small, ordinary actions. Here is an excellent TEDx talk on Everyday Leadership by Drew Dudley:

We have made leadership into something bigger than us. We’ve made into something beyond us. We’ve made it about changing the world. And we’ve taken this title of leader, and we treat it as if it’s something that one day we’re going to deserve, but to give it to ourselves right now means a level of arrogance or cockiness that we’re not comfortable with.
— Drew Dudley

Creativity and leadership are not supposed to be for the select few. We are all artists and leaders whether we define ourselves that way or not. This type of confidence will spill over into every area of our lives, relationships, and communities.

When have you been arrogant for all the right reasons? Did It pay off?

 

How Do You Find Community AND Live a Courageous Life? by Amy DeRosia

CC photo by Greg Rakozy

The problem is, when we stop caring what people think and stop feeling hurt by cruelty, we lose our ability to connect. But when we are defined by what people think, we lose the courage to be vulnerable.
— Brene Brown

We want to belong and to be ourselves. These desires often get in the the way of each other. Our friends and family don't always understand or agree with our choices. And being courageous doesn't necessarily help you make friends. 

I've struggled to find a balance between these extremes.  But apparently this isn't the sort of thing you master. It's something we all have to continuously work on.

Brene Brown's new book, Rising Strong, talks about developing the awareness and resilience to make these types of decisions. We have to develop a new set of practices and habits. With some hard work, we're able to recognize what is most useful in a given situation.

Here are a few of my favorite takeaways from the book about this topic:

1. Vulnerability is extremely difficult but also the only way toward everything we want.

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable." -Brene Brown

2. Healthy relationships start with self-respect.

"....People learn how to treat us based on how they see us treat ourselves. If I don't put value on my work or my time,  neither will the person I am helping. Boundaries are a function of self-respect and self-love." -Brene Brown

3. We all need to find "our tribe" in order to be courageous- individuals or a group of people you can fully be yourself around. Making brave choices is not easy or painless. Having a support system while we get out of our comfort zone makes the successes meaningful and failures less difficult.

4. Continue to show up- even when you are afraid, ready to give up, or have failed. Reflect on what worked and what you want to do differently next time. The more you learn through experience, the more you grow.
 

How do you find community AND live an courageous life? Do you find one easier than the other?