Business Book Brunch: Rising Strong

Written by Katie Thornton.

1BreneReviewBrené Brown - Rising strong. The reckoning. The rumble. The revolution 

Rising Strong continues Brené Browns’ research into the exploration of the wholehearted journey. As Brené says, her most recent three books can be summed up as:

The Gifts of Imperfection: Be you.

Daring Greatly: Be all in.

Rising Strong: Fall. Get up. Try again.

“The thread that runs through all three of these books,” she says, “is our yearning to live a wholehearted life.”

As the NZBWN Business Book Brunch club we read Rising Strong. In this book Brené Brown asks us to look at, and own, our “stories”. Her research into shame and vulnerability has shown that people are constantly making up and/or telling themselves stories. These may be stories concluding what that person really meant when they said that thing, or what your boss is actually thinking about you being late…the list goes on. 

Brené is showing us that in most situations we find ourselves in, we are making up stories that we filter our experience through and those stories end up defining our experiences.  

She writes that unless we can own those stories that we are telling ourselves we won't be able to own the endings. A question she asks of us to ask ourselves – “What is the story I am telling myself?”  

Brené challenges us to examine these stories so that we can be more aware of how they are impacting on our lives and relationships, at home and at work.  Like any good story there is always a beginning, middle and end.

After eating a delicious Ozone brunch, our conversation got underway.  Overall the book was well received with a few comments on use of language, and depth of detail – some felt key points could be at times overly laboured.  Nonetheless, we think that book club is clearly taking great affect as many members shared they were already using concepts described by the author! 

The things we found helpful as a group included:

  • Looking at our own internal dialogue – understanding the stories we are telling ourselves, whether true or false, and how they may be influencing our actions and decisions.
  • Realising that some of our stories can be dangerously wrong and our imagination goes wild – you must be careful of the stories you tell yourself and interpreting things into wrong conclusions.
  • That the story other people are telling themselves is not necessarily the same story you are telling yourself.
  • “The shitty first draft” – writing out what you really want to say first to someone, but not actually sharing it – helps to get your gut reaction off your chest and then bring about perspective.
  • Explaining the process of when you are “face down in the arena” (your living life to the full and taking risks but things don’t go as planned) and the importance of pulling though, rising above, and not jumping over the uncomfortable stuff.
  • As successful women, we can forget to share the middle section of our story – the part where we process, and often shed emotions.
  • Taking time to explore the emotions behind the stories we are telling ourselves. 
  • Remembering that people are doing their best so being compassionate is essential.
  • Giving people credit for what people are going through! 

The group also took some time to discuss key concepts from a Kiwi-abroad perspective and these observations were share:

  • Kiwis tend to demonstrate resilience and are used to getting back up after being knocked down.
  • We also tend to appreciate and nurture that resilience 
  • It was agreed that that independence and strength are strong character traits of Kiwis.
  • That we don’t tend to celebrate or talk about how great we are and that there needs to be space to do this – classic NZ tall poppy syndrome. 
  • As a Network, we are culture shapers e.g. celebrating success, entering our women for awards, barrier-free support.
  • As Kiwis who have moved to London we have experienced a lot of change and uncertainty and are open to sharing lessons.
  • We are getting good at telling our stories of success and struggle.
  • We are learning how to receive compliments.
  • We are learning how to ask for help! 

Review written by

Katie Thornton