Last weekend I attended a course called the Daring Way™. It is a course created by the incredible Brené Brown, and was delivered by a fabulous Daring Way™ Facilitator Candidate Roxanne Hobbs.
Six of us settled down on Friday morning to two days of deep self-discovery. Now I’ve done a lot of courses, but nothing prepared me for the journey I would go on, and the level of clarification I would experience during the following two days.
So to paint a picture. Brené believes that stepping in to your vulnerability is the bravest thing you can do as a leader. She uses the metaphor of the arena – from Theodore Roosevelts speech. Being in the arena feels hard, it is vulnerable but ultimately it is part of what makes us human and alive.
So over the two days I went on a journey of discovery to find out what my arenas were, where I want (in Brené Brown’s words) to show up, live brave and be seen. At the top of my list was my desire to ‘speak my value to the world.’ I’ve mentioned in previous posts that a younger version of me would shrink in large groups, scared to say the wrong thing or offend someone. In many ways I’ve come through this, but after this weekends course I understand the reasons I used to hold back, and the reasons that to some extent I still hold back from shouting about the gifts I bring.
Brené Brown says we can’t talk about being in the arena without talking about shame. In school and university situations I never used to speak out because I feared the shame of sounding stupid or upsetting someone. This weekend I realised I still carry the fear and shame around those two elements. When I imagine successfully speaking my value to the world it includes giving talks and presentations about my business. Doing this would be showing up, living brave and being seen, but I haven’t done it yet and it’s because I still carry the aforementioned fears.
What I discovered last weekend however, was that to deny myself the opportunity to get into this arena fully, is to deny myself the opportunity to live a wholehearted life. When I do start delivering presentations and talks I know there will be voices of critique, cheap advice from people who have never done anything like this before, and judgement from those who know ‘what a good talk sounds like.’ Most of these voices will likely come from my own mind, we are after all, our own worst critic. But some of the opinions will come from external sources, validating my internal gremlins. All of this of course adds to the fear of fully stepping into the arena.
But if I go into that arena with a substantial amount of support, then it will be easier to stay there, and easier to speak my value. Brené Brown talks about identifying key people in your life who will empathise and support you when you step into that arena. People you trust, people who have a genuine belief in who you are and what you bring to the world. What also became very apparent over the weekend was the importance of self-talk, and how self-compassion and empathy is key in getting us into the arena, staying in the arena, and living wholeheartedly.
I came away from the weekend with a deep understanding of who is in my support section, and how I can speak to myself with empathy and compassion. I came away from the weekend with a greater understanding that if I continue to listen to the negative criticisms, the real value I am here on this earth to share will never be expressed. So I guess it’s a choice, either stay safe, in the wings, not daring to venture into the arena, or go in, knowing that the negative voices will be there, they will be heard whether they’re coming from others or from within my own mind, but if I ensure my support area is fully established, I will stay, and I will thrive in the arena.
As an entrepreneur, a leader and a creator in this world I know that doing self-discovery work is essential in ensuring I show up fully to whatever I do. I am so excited to forge forward showing up, living brave and being seen.
If you are interested in learning more about the Daring Way™ courses please visit The Hobbs Consultancy website.