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Let “The Reckoning, The Rumble, and The Revolution” Start Now

3 November 2015

Barbara read Brené Brown’s newest book, Rising Strong, and learned that if you take risks like Brown recommended in her first two books, The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly, you will sometimes fall on your face. This book describes how to learn a lesson from the failure, get back up, and try again.

Tags: balance, barbara read, brene brown, courage, ted

My daughter, Allison, introduced me to Brené Brown’s famous 2010 and 2012 TED Talks about the power of vulnerability and listening to shame. Then I read The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly. When Rising Strong came out this year, all three of her books were on the best seller list at once, and given what was going on in my own life, I knew I needed to immerse myself in Brown’s work once again

Within one week, I heard her speak at Ovens Auditorium Charlotte, watched her on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, read her new book Rising Strong, and then read it again. Brown is a feisty, funny, 5th generation Texan who owns a stage with good stories, solid research data, well-placed cuss words, and a kind of fearlessness I crave when it comes to talking about her own life.

In her previous books, The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly, she explained shame and vulnerability and talked people into being courageous—women who have been the first to say, “I love you,” bosses who have admitted mistakes.

When people wrote to her and said, “I did what you recommended, and I failed,” she did more research interviewing hundreds and found—What she recommends won’t always produce a positive result. In fact, she guarantees you will sometimes fail and fall on your face. Rising Strong is about how you learn from the fall while you are flat on your face and then find your way back up. It is not a quick fix, but I’m beginning to believe it might be a more lasting one.

Brown describes the process using these terms:  The Reckoning, The Rumble, and The Revolution. 

The Reckoning
She says most people do not recognize or feel emotions in the moment. They have learned to tamp the emotions down, off load them onto someone else, or numb themselves with alcohol, drugs, food, TV, and smart phones. The Reckoning is about learning to recognize an emotion, take a breath and feel it rather than numbing it.

The Rumble
Brown’s research shows we are biologically wired to find meaning by making up stories especially when we have been hurt. A story has a beginning, middle and end. That’s a pattern the brain finds satisfying because chaos is diminished, order is restored, so we are rewarded with a dopamine hit. The brain doesn’t care if the story is true or not. It’s just relieved that things are decided or settled.

I have felt that dopamine high when I write a story I like, and I crave more of it. Today’s hit doesn’t last much longer than 24 hours, and if I can't write another story the next day, I'm prone to start worrying that my writing days are over.

When things aren’t going well, our brains want to jump to closure to make sense of things—I’ll never write again, I’ll never love again, I’ll never get that job I want. One message of Brown’s latest book is—stop jumping to the end of the story.

The brave learn to live with the discomfort of uncertainty until they have more of the truth. It could take two weeks, two years, or ten years, but don’t stop the Rumble—the uncomfortable conversations or the restless striving—until you get a more satisfactory resolution. I can tell you I intensely dislike the feeling when I am in those uncomfortable places, but I keep trying to believe in the benefit of The Reckoning and The Rumble when I am there.

The Revolution
After some practice, steps one and two can become healthy new habits, and this is the Revolution. You are willing to feel emotions and live with uncertainty longer than you want to until a bigger truth comes to you. You trust that you’re doing your best and that if you don’t get exactly what you want in the moment, you need to wait a little longer and possibly even make peace with a different ending.

My most frequent emotion when things are amiss is sadness. In the Reckoning, I have to stop and think about what is causing it. In The Rumble, I have to repeatedly learn to let go and live with some discomfort longer than I want to. For example, I have to remind myself that my grown children’s problems are theirs to solve, not mine, and I have to try not to let their sadness make me sad. (That’s the hardest thing of all for me.) In my own life, I’m having to accept that my next book is taking longer to finish than I’d like. I’m nervous about telling as much truth as I have in the current draft so I’ve got to hang out in the Rumble longer than I’d like.

If you have taken risks that didn’t work out well, read Brown’s newest book. She’s helping me figure out how to pick myself up, rise strong and try again. I hope she can help you, too.


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