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Daring Greatly


Last week I started reading a new book, Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown. She is a fabulous author and I know her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, will be a regular read for me. This new title jumped out at me since I’m not the most daring person I’ve ever known and I can usually use a little push (okay, maybe a big shove) to get me going. I’m wonderful at planning and plotting and preparing. But daring to take the actual plunge, dive, or risk is a different matter entirely.

The title of the book comes from a quote taken from a speech by Theodore Roosevelt. That quote was Brian’s #1 favorite; he wrote it down in numerous places, reminding himself he was the one in the arena of his life and the armchair quarterbacks in their comfy seats shouldn’t get him down. I had to chuckle a little as I read the very familiar lines from that speech, words I have read many times before. In a way, it felt like Brian sending me another message. It took me back to that talk in the hospital when he told me to write, to tell our story, and to chase after the things I wanted.

My own inner critics like to talk to me all the time, reminding me that I’m really not good enough to do the things I dream of doing. They like to let me know I’m too short, don’t speak eloquently, lack an adequate education, am too introverted, and I’m definitely not daring enough. Through some coaching, I’m learning to talk to those critics… out loud sometimes… and put them back in their place. They actually have names. Laugh if you want, but it’s easier to put a critic in her place when you can call her by name! One of them, oddly enough, is named Eleanor after that other Roosevelt’s wife.

Daring Greatly is about vulnerability, one of the scariest things in the universe. When I wrote my first journal entry online when Brian got sick I felt so exposed. Journals are meant to be locked and protected from prying eyes, after all. But it was necessary to keep friends and family posted on the circumstances – it was practical. Knowing those couple dozen people were reading my thoughts made me a little queasy. I had no idea at the time that it would lead here. Being vulnerable is frightening. It has meant telling people I don’t know what I’m doing, that I feel angry, unworthy, quite uncertain, and afraid. Being vulnerable has also meant saying I’m sorry, I’m lonely, and I’m sad. I’m not done reading the book, but I can already give it two thumbs up and a big Joyful on Purpose endorsement (if I dare greatly enough, someday that might be a big deal ;)). Thanks for letting me dare, dream, bare my soul, share my grief, and pass along my joys.

Daring = Joy