Tag Archives: inspiration

Don’t be afraid to tell your story

29 Apr

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.

Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Several months ago, I discovered the work of Dr. Brené Brown and was immediately inspired. I feel I won’t do her justice by summarizing her work here, but, in a nutshell, she is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work where she studies and teaches about vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame.

Sounds scary, I know.

However, she has convinced me that these are some of the core concepts of living an engaged and balanced life.

My introduction to her was through her TEDx talk on the power of vulnerability. I was immediately struck by her willingness to speak personally about her struggle with the very issues she chose to research in others. She is a truly gifted storyteller who translates her academic research into beautiful lessons we all can take to heart.

She encourages us to own and share our stories in an effort to live an authentic and wholehearted life.

I am currently enrolled in an online course being taught by Brené titled, Ordinary Courage: Lessons on Love, Shame & Worthiness.  The course guides us through lessons based on her books and lectures and challenges us with activities that help put these abstract concepts into action.

Since the core concept of the course is telling our stories, I plan to share some of my thoughts and insights here over the next several weeks.

Here’s to telling our stories to those who are worthy of our trust.


Do you value your work?

12 Apr

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a career workshop offered by my employer.  (side note: I am truly thankful that an amazing benefit of working for a university is the access to on-going training and education). I had reached a point of needing to make some decisions about the direction of my career and whether I was on the right path.   I hoped the workshop would be the kick in the butt I needed.

I fully expected to feel very foolish as a woman in her late thirties trying to figure out what to do with her life, surrounded by a bunch of recent graduates.  I mean, I’m supposed to know what I’m doing by now, right?

What I found was an inspiring mix of individuals at all stages in life.  Some with no idea of what they wanted to do, but eager to figure it out.  Others on the verge of retirement, exploring what to do in their next career.   A few suspected they were on the right path and wanted some reassurance.  The thing we all had in common was a desire to engage in meaningful work.

Our workshop facilitator was remarkable and led us through several insightful exercises.  One of the most intriguing was on determining our values.  As he described it,

Paying attention to our values helps us become more self-aware, evaluate our choices and decisions, prioritize tasks, develop authenticity and build credibility and trust.

If our work is out of line with our values, perhaps we are doing the wrong work.

These are my values and how they come into play at work:

  • Learning – seeking out new challenges and projects
  • Authenticity – being honest and owning up to your actions
  • Humor – life and work are hard, let’s laugh and enjoy what we can
  • Balance – strive to succeed professionally, but more importantly, personally
  • Support and Autonomy – being trusted by your boss and given the space to direct your own work

I’m very fortunate that, at the moment, my work and my values are pretty well aligned.  I must be vigilant however as it is easy to fall out of balance, and that’s when I lose my sense of humor.

How do you keep your values and work in harmony?

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