1. You remember very little when you're star struck
When I came back from my Daring Way and Rising Strong training in Texas with Brené Brown, all my colleagues (coaches, psychologists, entrepreneurs, counsellors, etc.) and close friends wanted the download. They were all excited to learn what I had learned. They were so disappointed when I had little to share… because I remembered very little.
All I remembered was that Brené is killer smart and hilarious. She even looked straight at me (twice!!). And I got a whiff of her as she walked passed me on my way to the bathroom… I almost fainted.
Buy experiences, not things. Texas 2015 © Ellany Lea
2. Being a stalker is exhausting
From the day I stumbled upon her TED talk back in 2012, I've watched every video she's appeared in, read every word in every single book she's written, enrolled in every training program she's offered and followed her like a stalker. You can ask my roommate Kate, I barely slept a wink the night before our Daring Way/Rising Strong training, wondering if she was in the same hotel, if she was on a floor above me or below me, or good heavens if she was on the same floor!!!
3. No photos, please
I think that's precisely why Brené insisted on no photos with her. There was a collective "aww" of disappointment in the room when she said no to all photos. We all wanted a photo with her, our rock star, our teacher, our mother hen. But she went on to explain that focus is finite. If you're gonna focus on something, focus on the work, on the people, not on her, not on the fame, not on the selfies with. Focus on the work. Focus on the authenticity. Focus on the courage. Case in point, I was so star struck that I barely retained anything she said that first day.
4. What creates so many raging fans?
Since I was 5, I was given quarters for every A in my report card. As I grew older, I was given more money and more praise for more achievements. When I moved to Rwanda to launch my humanitarian aid career, my dad pointed out how much the guys at Yahoo were making. When I moved to NYC to launch my UN career, my dad pointed out how much the guys at Microsoft were making. When I moved to Hong Kong to launch my boutique coaching practice, my dad pointed out how much the guys at Google were making.
In short, no matter how much I accomplished or how intelligent, kind, sweet and funny I became, it was never good enough. *I* was never good enough. And many terrible, terrible things followed as a consequence. Then Brené came along and named the "You are not enough". It's called shame. Finally, it had a name! Naming it was 76% of the battle won. She publically named something that we've all known and that we are all still living.
That's what creates raging fans.
5. A girl with a blog
As we reached the Q&A portion of our training, all of us of course wanted to know more about Brené's journey and how she arrived at the impact and reach that she has. She told us about how a woman was at one of her lectures and invited her to speak at TEDx. She was told by a hip young TEDx organizing committee to talk about whatever she wanted, so she dared to "go there" with a talk on shame and vulnerability.
We were all on the edge of our seats listening to her story of how she called her sisters to help her break in to the TEDx office to steal and/or destroy the original recording of her TEDx talk. That's something we affectionately call "a vulnerability hangover," a sensation you get the morning after you've done something extraordinarily brave and you start to overthink it and give yourself a migraine.
And she looked over at a good friend of hers who used to wait tables with her and is now one of her senior faculty members and asked, "Was I happier then, or now?" And she admitted that she missed the days when she was just a girl with a blog.
6. There are only 1,200 of us on the entire planet
At our training, Brené told us that we'd be the very last cohort to be trained by her. Woah! It was news to us all and an immense, immense privilege! That's it, there's only 1,200 of us trained in her Daring Way and Rising Strong programs. That's 0.000016% of the population, who are certified to use her research methods to usher another human being through practicing vulnerability, busting through shame, and developing authentic courage. What a privilege and what a responsibility.