I recently had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Brene Brown, an American scholar, author and public speaker, give a keynote speech at SXSW in Austin, Texas, last month. That morning she made the trip from her home in Houston, Texas, to Austin to promote her latest book “Daring Greatly” to a crowd of techies, designers and innovators. When Dr. Brown took the stage, she shared a story about her drive over that she swore was true. She had been pulled over for speeding and the officer asked to see her drivers license. When she presented it, he asked if she was aware that it had expired the previous November. Her frustration was further compounded when he asked for her registration and she was unable to produce it. Finally, he asked the purpose of her travel and she replied that it was to give a speech. “The topic?” he asked. “Failure.”
The officer was so amused by the irony that he didn’t give her a ticket. But the story drove home the point that all of us fail at something, at some time in our lives. Some spectacularly, some in more subtle ways, but it happens to all of us. And that’s a good thing, says Dr. Brown. Not that she was advocating speeding. Her point was that in order to succeed in a big way, we have to take risks, to “dare greatly.”
The foundation of her talk revolved around these three pieces of advice:
- Choose courage over comfort
- Don’t confuse vulnerability with weakness
- Be careful about the feedback you let in
Lastly, she talked about the importance of owning your own story, telling it honestly, and not creating “conspiracy theories.” Only we have control of our story, and only we get to write the ending.
She tells a pretty good story herself.