During our lovely time at SXSW, I was given the pleasure of attending a “Creativity Burnout” meetup. The topic of discussion varies, but centered primarily around how much energy creative work can take and how that may affect leadership. For me, as our CEO, this discussion proved to be very fruitful. Often times, we get so caught up in our quick turnaround processes and in the hectic nature of our weeks, that we never take the time to do two things: pause to reflect and to show appreciation. Both of these are actions that take certain vulnerability… and that’s where Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly comes in.
During the meetup discussion several books were recommended, Brown’s included, that I took note of. I took it as an omen when the book sat prominently and distinctly at the SXSW bookstore. Daring Greatly is, by far and away, one of the most challenging but focus-changing books I’ve read. Many similar books that focus on leadership skills, root causes for shame and fear, and inner strength rely on trite phrases and limited ideologies to entrap a reader into buying the next installments. Daring Greatly is different. Brown skillfully weaves through years of research, interviews, and personal experiences to paint a clear picture of what managing vulnerability looks like.
“We all have shame. We all have good and bad, dark and light inside of us. But if we don’t come to terms with our shame, our struggles, we start believing that there’s something wrong with us — that we’re bad, flawed, not good enough — and even worse, we start acting on those beliefs. If we want to be fully engaged, to be connected, we have to be vulnerable. In order to be vulnerable, we need to develop resilience to shame.” -Brené Brown
The main idea here is that being a true leader is not about portraying strength, and it’s not about knowing all the answers. The book is about having the courage to be vulnerable, to be a leader that looks to their team and can ask for suggestions and say, “I don’t know.” Leadership is not about your image, it’s about your action and reaction. At Vid Monster, I continue to strive to lead our team and our community towards more accessible video production services. But more than that, I strive to lead towards simplicity and towards clarity.
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown is a fantastic read that I would highly recommend to those who struggle with showing their true colors.. and who may need a redefinition in their leadership approach. Check it out!
-Sam Kirby, CEO