Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles In this episode of MarieTV, we do have some adult language, so if you have a little ones around grab your headphones now. Hey. It's Marie Forleo, and you're listening to the Marie Forleo Podcast. You know, today's culture is one that's filled with fear, scarcity, and uncertainty. What we need most in times like these are people who are willing to step up, people who are willing to be brave, to be courageous, and to lead with heart. My guest today is here to show us how to do just that. Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation Brené Brown Endowed Chair at the Graduate College of Social Work. She spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy, and is the author of four number one New York Times bestsellers: Braving the Wilderness, Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, and The Gifts of Imperfection. Her TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top five most viewed TED Talks in the world––yes, in the world––with more than 35 million views. Brené lives in Houston, Texas with her husband Steve and their children Ellen and Charlie. Her latest book which we're going to talk about today, Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts, is available now. Brené, it is so great to have you on the Marie Forleo Podcast. You're one of my favorite humans in the whole world. I texted you this, but I need to say it right now: Dare to Lead, another one that you knocked out of the park. My book is filled with underlines and highlights and dog-eared pages and all of the good things, but I need to ask you. You're so prolific. I am curious. Why this topic and why right now? First, I just... Anywhere, anytime, doing anything, I'm yours. I'm in. Thank you for having me back. Let me tell you. The last time we did something together, you have amazing... You have an amazing crew. Not only the people who work with you, but your community is incredible. So thank you for inviting me in again. Anytime. So why this book? Oh, my god. It's a really good question. A couple years ago, we got super clear. Like the name of our company is Brené Brown Education Research Group. So we have this mission of making the world a greater place by sharing our research and our work in a really accessible, relevant way with impact, looking for impact and scale. I realized and I had already been studying leadership, but I didn't think I would do a leadership book per se. I thought I would just weave it in like I kind of did with Daring Greatly and Rising Strong and weave it into other books. I had this huge epiphany actually in New York. I was working with an organization that has 25,000 employees and was really just struggling. The leadership was not showing. They weren't showing up like they wanted to show up. People were just really in a dark place. I thought "You know what? You can't change the world. You can't make the world a greater place if you don't change how we work because, as adults, we spend more than half of our lives at work." I think everyone listening will attest to the fact that if work is toxic, if work is shaming, if work makes you question your value, everything in your life just goes to shit. Yes. That gets an amen on a Wednesday or Thursday from me. Yeah. So I just thought "You know what? I'm going to do this." I think it's a book for everyone. We define... I define a leader as anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes and has the courage to develop that potential. So this is not a book for people in the C-Suite or people with corner offices and big titles. This is a book for every one of us that wants to show up, contribute, and lean into our purpose. So in the book, you talk a lot about armored leadership versus daring leadership. Let's talk about what is underneath these different approaches. I just want to underscore what you just said about this is for everyone because I feel like, especially in my community for the folks listening right now from what I've read in emails and just keeping in touch with our folks, one of the things that can plague us is not thinking that our voice matters, not thinking that we have anything important to say or that, as you said, if we're not in that corner office, we're not at that C-Suite level, that we're not a leader. But I do think, as you well know, now more than ever we need brave people to stand up in every corner of every organization, of their families, of their friend groups, everything. Let's think about this from that perspective. Armored leadership versus daring leadership, what's that about? So here's what was really... I have to be honest with you. This was the most... This kind of blew my hypothesis out of the water. I went in thinking that the biggest barrier to daring leadership is fear. We're afraid. There's a lot of new research in here including interviews with 150 leaders and a three-year process of building and instrument to measure your daring leadership capacity. I started looking at the data, and I was like "Oh, my god. I don't think fear... I don't think the greatest barrier to daring leadership is fear. I'm wrong." So I went back and started interviewing some of the bravest people I know, I mean bravest leaders I know again from social justice movements to oil and gas companies, and they're like "Fear? No, I'm afraid all the time." I was like "What do you mean?" They're like "No, I'm afraid everyday." I was like "It's not fear." Then as we started digging, what we realized is the greatest barrier is not our fear. It's our armor, how we show up when we're in fear. Some of us, in fear, recognize the fear. We're very aware of what kind of armor we depend on, how we self-protect, but most of us, myself included, still to this day when we feel vulnerable or uncertain or at risk or criticized, we armor up. That armor, those different behaviors we use to self-protect, they corrode trust, they move us into fear, they keep us away from courageous decision-making, and they really are toxic to whatever our mission and purpose is. So what it really came down to, the heart of the book, is the difference between. If everyone's afraid, daring leadership is having the skills to lean into the fear and figure out what the hell's going on and stay brave. Armored leadership is those terrible behaviors that we lean into to protect. What do some of those look like for you? So I know for me, even mostly in a personal realm, right? Yeah. For me to armor up, I know it's like I shut down. In the book, you were writing... I actually have some friends that I joke with about this. It's almost like I do turn into a Transformer. All of the metal, right? Everything just comes up and it's like boom. It all gets sucked inside and it's like you cannot penetrate. My vision, my heart, everything closes down. I'm curious what are some of the ways that it shows up for you. Well 16 of them emerged from the research. It was 16 different types of armor. Our armories are very full, and 16 kind of daring leadership approaches to counter that armor. But I think some of the big ones that we face: driving perfectionism and fostering fear of failure. Yes. Perfectionism is armor. I mean perfectionism is the 20-ton shield. Yes. It's really... All perfectionism... I mean it's not striving for excellence or healthy striving. That's completely different. That's completely internally motivated. Yes. Perfectionism is "Oh, god. What will people think?" Yes. So the daring leadership response to perfectionism is modeling and encouraging healthy striving, empathy, and self-compassion. So if you've got a team and I'm thinking about all the people I know who follow you in a cult-like but great way and most of them are young entrepreneurs, they are people... I mean they lean into your work so heavily as they're trying to build their own businesses. Yes. I can tell you... And most of them are women. Not all, but most. I can tell you, from interviewing a lot of young entrepreneurs for this work, how many times... I mean I get teary-eyed every time I think about it. I sat across from someone who sunk all their savings or borrowed money from their family and really started this thing that they believed in and let their perfectionism completely corrode it. Yes. Yes. It breaks my heart. I try to share as often as possible, Brené, A) how long it's taken me to get where I am and how long––seven years––I had all these different side jobs because I didn't know what I was doing. And I still am the farthest thing from perfect. We make mistakes all the time. I love that we're talking about this. I really, really do. I think it's especially important in the time that we're in right now where Instagram is obviously most of our favorite social media platforms and it's the place where everything can look the shiniest and the prettiest and the most perfect which that's a whole other conversation. But I was having a talk with a girlfriend the other day and I said "Hey. How are you?" Because she's been experiencing a really tough, difficult time. I said "I've been watching you on Instagram and I've been wanting to give you your space." We were laughing because she's like "Instagram's mostly a lie." Yeah. I howled out loud, but to your point about daring leadership and perfectionism and that's one of the ways that we armor up, I just really want to appreciate you for calling all of this out because it's so, so important. Another thing I highlighted in the book which I love this phrase, "Embrace the suck."[a] I really want to drive home this point that courage and fear are not mutually exclusive. We do not have to stop feeling afraid to do brave, courageous things. Thank you. Y'all, I mean people make up... I could just spend the rest of my life reading a book of stories people make up about me and what my life is like. I'll be honest with you. I texted my chief of staff like five minutes ago––who is my sister––and was like "Oh, my god. Is this shit with Marie audio or video?" She goes "Audio. I've already told you I'll give you a head up if it's video." Right now, I'm sitting here. My hair is wet and I've got like masks under my eye bags because I'm just getting over being sick. I threw my tennis shoes on. I just came downstairs. I've got one Adidas tennis shoe on and one Converse tennis shoe on. I didn't realize I grabbed two different tennis shoes. Yes. Okay. You want to trade stories? Yeah. So I came into my studio. Right now, same thing. It's like a little bit. Today's one of those hot fall days in New York City. Yeah. My uniform when I'm not doing my show which I like to say "It's the Marie Forleo... It's MarieTV. It's a show." But I run into people all the time on the street with no makeup. My uniform is a really comfy v-neck tee-shirt and some form of jeans and flip flops. That is my happy place. So I come into my studio about to record this, right? So I have a thing where if I have a lot of visual clutter around, I find it hard to concentrate. That's just one of the things that helps me just stay focused. So I think it was like a week or two ago. We were here in the studio filming some stuff, and I just had a moment where there were so many... You know when you just look around, you're like "How did all this clutter get here?" Like it just accumulates. So my team helped me clear things out because they know how important it is to me, and I'm getting ready for this podcast and guess what, Brené? My podcast mike that we're on right now, the little plug, the USB that helps it plug in is not fucking there. So it's literally... So I'm like "Oh, shit. I got to talk to Brené in like 10 minutes." So here's where grace comes in. I knew I chose this particular location where I'm in in New York City for a reason. First of all, it's around the corner from my favorite karaoke place ever, and it happens to be down the street from a place called Adorama, which is a place that is all tech, like cameras, audio equipment. I am running down the street, Brené. Everything is jingling. This is like literally 10 minutes before you and I just hopped on to record this, and I'm sweating bullets to get this USB port, begging these guys in the store. I'm like "Hey, I'm about to record a podcast with one of my really dear friends. I really need this USB port. Can you help me?" They ran, got the USB port.