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What strikes me most about Brené Brown’s Rising Strong groups is they illuminate a universal truth:  we are all mostly driven by two forces:

  1. a fear of being judged
  2. a desire to be accepted

These truths are at the core of the human experience.

When people join my Rising Strong groups, fear of being judged is the number one fear shared, so I wanted to let you know how I set the groups up in a way that increases safety, comfort, and connection.  

The first thing we do in the group is create a safe space.  This means we talk a lot about privacy, confidentiality, what we want from the group, our fears, etc.  

To demonstrate how Brené Brown conducts grounded theory research, we go through an activity where we wall answer the same questions, then we share them and are challenged to boil down everyone’s answers to one statement that is true of the entire group.  This is how Brené Brown does her research, which is why you so often feel that she is reading your mind.  She interviews hundreds of people to find out what is true of everyone… in this way, her work illuminates the core of the human experience.  

I wanted to share the answers of last week’s Rising Strong Intensive to show you how similar we all are.  These answers are shared anonymously in the group … and yet, you can see clear themes throughout each person’s answer:  

  • we all want authenticity
  • fear of being judged is the #1 fear we all have
  • we want to learn, grow, and improve
  • we seek more confidence
  • we crave more authentic connections with others
  • vulnerability is scary and hard, and yet we know it’s necessary for true authentic connection
  • confidentiality, compassion, and calling out the trutha is crucial

Take a look at the answers during the last Rising Strong Intensive … would you answer these questions similarly?  I hope it is a comfort to know that we all have similar fears, pain points, and hopes.  When we can share authentically, we can begin to grow and heal.

What brought you to this online intensive?

  • I love Brené  Brown’s work, and I use it a lot with clients. I find at times, however, that I struggle with imposter syndrome in my career and sometimes in motherhood. This feels incongruent with my values because authenticity in relationships (even professional relationships) is extremely important to me. I want to learn to show up more authentically without fear in all areas of my life.  
  • A desire to examine patterns in my life that I may not be aware of, but may be holding me back. I also want to practice being vulnerable, which I am not good at.
  • To learn more about myself so that I can lead a more authentic life 
  • 1) increased anxiety over the past year, which has increased even more over the past 6 weeks 2) constant struggle to love and forgive myself for what I consider mistakes I’ve made in life 3) STOP with my comparative suffering! 
  • Love Brené ‘s teaching.   Feel like this is a good time to dive into something while our world seems to be in such chaos. 
  • I love Brené Brown’s teaching and believe that it takes work to emotionally grow. 
  • a friend first, desire to improve second
  • The hope for a more confident, courageous, and vulnerable life  
  • To put Brené’s work into practice. I have read her work but I’m not 100% sure how to put it into practice.  
  • To be a better leader in the workplace and a more compassionate partner and parent at home.

What are your fears/concerns about this group?

  • I don’t really have any fears going into it. I imagine some may arise as I participate. 
  • Not knowing how others will show up as well as concerns that my people-pleasing ways will show up in a way that will cost me valuable lessons I could miss out on because I’m too worried about upsetting others or not showing up authentically. 
  • Nothing really. I am truly looking forward to it.  
  • opening up, being vulnerable  
  • That it wouldn’t be authentic interaction between participants. 
  • The fear that others will realize I’m imperfect and judge/ridicule me  
  • I fear being seen and judged.  
  • I’m not in a very self-reflective space right now. I’ve been very focused on figuring out day-to-day life balancing work, family, and school. I’m not sure I’m in the right frame of mind to engage in this work. I also don’t like being vulnerable.
  • Balancing the intensive with my children being home and partner. I will do the best I can, but please forgive me! 

What would a successful experience look like for you?

  • If I can share with the group authentically, listen openly to others’ experiences, and gain some insight, that will be great!
  • Feeling/believing in my authenticity and demonstrating it in my life as well as in my relationships. 
  • Being honest and open with myself and others. Listening closely without judgement, and focusing on identifying my emotions rather than judging them throughout the experience.  
  • increased ability to handle myself with kindness. Reduced anxiety, or at least better tools to help me cope so that the anxiety doesn’t affect my daily life so frequently. 
  • Taking away positive knowledge from the intensive.
  • Learning more about myself; building strategies to cope with life’s stressors 
  • To learn more about myself and this season of life and to allow myself to be vulnerable. 
  • I’d love to come out feeling more confident in my emotional intelligence and vulnerability.  
  • Being able to create space in my life right now to fully engage in the work. Build my capacity to be vulnerable.
  • Walking away with a plan and guidelines of how I will continue to practice what I learn during this experience. 

What support do you need from this group to do the work?

  • Compassion, openness, and humility, trust 
  • Compassion, self-awareness from others as well as others gently calling out my b.s. if they see it. 
  • No judgement & authentic listening
  • Engaging, listening, “holding space.” 
  • to listen, be honest, and be compassionate so I can trust you
  • I like feedback from people – others can see situations differently which help me to see things differently in myself.  
  • Encouragement but also calling out truth that you see in me/my language, etc that I may not see. 
  • Trust, honesty, and kindness—we’re all imperfect.   
  • I can be shy in a new environment and it takes me a little while to begin to warm up to the group. So just giving me space to observe and get a feel for the group.  
  • Perhaps follow up material or emails from Brittni as kind reminders of the material we learned from Brené  Brown.

What boundaries need to be put in place for you to feel safe?

  • Confidentiality and authenticity
  • Confidentiality, sharing of “air time”
  • I’d love to only use first names in the group to maintain some privacy  
  • I don’t want to be forced to answer or participate  
  • I usually feel safe in group settings – unless someone is loud and disruptive
  • Again I think authenticity from all participants makes it easier to open up. 
  • I know that I can share when I want to, and always have my coping skills. It’s okay to take a break if I need it.  
  • When I cry I can feel embarrassed so I tend to not want to continue to answer questions.  
  • I will be at home and feel safe. Just the fact that I will be as alone as possible but might have to pop out and deal with children in the afternoon. Thank you! 

At the end of last week’s online Rising Strong Intensive, each member felt connected, encouraged, and felt they had grown in ways they couldn’t imagine.  They did it together … and together is exactly how we were designed to navigate life

We don’t have to do it all alone.  We were never meant to. -Brené Brown

If you’re wanting to:

  • undo aloneness
  • learn more about yourself
  • dig deeper into the patterns in your relationships
  • heal from pain, shame, and anxiety

…then check out my next online Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, or Gifts of Imperfection groups.  If you’re afraid you’ll be judged, check out the fancy graphs above… you’re not alone in your fear, and this common fear can be the force that binds us, and ditches that fear once and for all.