50 Daring Greatly Quotes by Brené Brown

Brene Brown Daring Greatly Quotes
Brene Brown Daring Greatly Quotes

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead is a book by Brené Brown, an American professor, lecturer, podcast host and bestselling author. The book explains how vulnerability is foundational in the manifestation of difficult emotions like fear, disappointment and grief, and surprisingly the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, empathy, innovation, and creativity.

Brené Brown came across the phrase “Daring Greatly” from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “Citizenship in a Republic.”
The speech, sometimes referred to as “The Man in the Arena,” was delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris,
France, on April 23, 1910. This is the passage that was inspirational for Brené Brown to write the book being discussed today:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

Theodore Roosevelt

Brené Brown recalls how she thought of vulnerability when she first read this quote. She has stated that, “The first time I read this quote, I thought, This is vulnerability. Everything I’ve learned from over a decade of research on vulnerability has taught me this exact lesson. Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.”

Daring Greatly is one book that has taught me how embracing vulnerability can help me to find the courage required to achieve my dreams, live my desired life and build stronger relationships with those around me. For years I always associated vulnerability with weakness but it required me to read this book to finally realize that vulnerability is actually strength and courage.

This article covers some of my favorite Brené Brown quotes from Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.

Let’s get started.

Daring Greatly Quotes

Brene Brown Quote: Daring greatly means finding our own path and respecting what that search looks like for other folks.

Daring greatly means finding our own path and respecting what that search looks like for other folks.

If you decide to walk into the arena and dare greatly, you’re going to get kicked around.

Daring greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage. In a world where scarcity and shame dominate and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. And, without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of feeling hurt. But as I look back on my own life and what Daring Greatly has meant to me, I can honestly say that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as believing that I’m standing on the outside of my life looking in and wondering what it would be like if I had the courage to show up and let myself be seen.

The first sentence of the “daring greatly” quote from Theodore Roosevelt says a lot: “It’s not the critic who counts.” And for the men and women I interviewed who defined themselves as that critic, the “not counting” was definitely felt. They often struggled with feeling dismissed and invisible in their own lives. Criticizing was a way to be heard.

Just like Roosevelt advised, when we dare greatly we will err and we will come up short again and again. There will be failures and mistakes and criticism.

Dare greatly, possibly more than we’ve ever dared before.

A daring greatly culture is a culture of honest, constructive, and engaged feedback. This is true in organizations, schools, and families.

You’ve designed a product or written an article or created a piece of art that you want to share with a group of friends. Sharing something that you’ve created is a vulnerable but essential part of engaged and Wholehearted living. It’s the epitome of daring greatly.

The good news is that people are finally daring greatly and speaking up.

Dare greatly and take actions that communicate to veterans or military families that they are not alone. Actions that communicate, “Your struggle is my struggle. Your trauma is my trauma. Your healing is my healing.

Sometimes our first and greatest dare is asking for support.

Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience. We must walk into the arena, whatever it may be—a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation—with courage and the willingness to engage.

Dare greatly and put your name on your posted comments online. If you don’t feel comfortable owning it, then don’t say it.

Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly.

We’ve come to the point where, rather than respecting and appreciating the courage and daring behind vulnerability, we let our fear and discomfort become judgment and criticism.

The bottom line is that daring greatly requires worthiness. Shame sends the gremlins to fill our heads with completely different messages of: Dare not! You’re not good enough! Don’t you dare get too big for your britches!

To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.

I think we need daring strategies to develop daring cultures.

We know that daring greatly means engaging with our vulnerability, which can’t happen when shame has the upper hand, and the same is true for dealing with anxiety-fueled disconnection. The two most powerful forms of connection are love and belonging—they are both irreducible needs of men, women, and children.

We’re called to “dare greatly” every time we make choices that challenge the social climate of scarcity.

If we are the kind of people who “don’t do vulnerability,” there’s nothing that makes us feel more threatened and more incited to attack and shame people than to see someone daring greatly. Someone else’s daring provides an uncomfortable mirror that reflects back our own fears about showing up, creating, and letting ourselves be seen. That’s why we come out swinging. When we see cruelty, vulnerability is likely to be the driver.

We have to be vulnerable if we want more courage; if we want to dare greatly.

Minding the gap is a daring strategy. We have to pay attention to the space between where we’re actually standing and where we want to be. More importantly, we have to practice the values that we’re holding out as important in our culture. Minding the gap requires both an embrace of our own vulnerability and cultivation of shame resilience—we’re going to be called upon to show up as leaders and parents and educators in new and uncomfortable ways.

My decision to dare greatly didn’t stem from self-confidence as much as it did from faith in my research. I know I’m a good researcher, and I trusted that the conclusions I had drawn from the data were valid and reliable. Vulnerability would take me where I wanted or maybe needed to go.

Being rather than knowing requires showing up and letting ourselves be seen. It requires us to dare greatly, to be vulnerable.

There is a quiet transformation happening that is moving us from “turning on each other” to “turning toward each other.” Without question, that transformation will require shame resilience. If we’re willing to dare greatly and risk vulnerability with each other, worthiness has the power to set us free.

If we’re always following our children into the arena, hushing the critics, and assuring their victory, they’ll never learn that they have the ability to dare greatly on their own.

Daring Greatly Quotes by Brené Brown

Brene Brown Quote: Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.

Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.

Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.

Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.

Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.

Self-compassion is also critically important, but because shame is a social concept—it happens between people—it also heals best between people. A social wound needs a social balm, and empathy is that balm. Self-compassion is key because when we’re able to be gentle with ourselves in the midst of shame, we’re more likely to reach out, connect, and experience empathy.

Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment.

The Wholehearted identify vulnerability as the catalyst for courage, compassion, and connection. In fact, the willingness to be vulnerable emerged as the single clearest value shared by all of the women and men whom I would describe as Wholehearted. They attribute everything—from their professional success to their marriages to their proudest parenting moments—to their ability to be vulnerable.

To get to empathy, we have to first know what we’re dealing with. Here are the four elements of shame resilience—the steps don’t always happen in this order, but they always ultimately lead us to empathy and healing.

A strong belief in our worthiness doesn’t just happen—it’s cultivated when we understand the guideposts as choices and daily practices.

Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this yearning is so primal, we often try to acquire it by fitting in and by seeking approval, which are not only hollow substitutes for belonging, but often barriers to it. Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.

If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.

When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.

Scarcity doesn’t take hold in a culture overnight. But the feeling of scarcity does thrive in shameprone cultures that are deeply steeped in comparison and fractured by disengagement. (By a shameprone culture, I don’t mean that we’re ashamed of our collective identity, but that there are enough of us struggling with the issue of worthiness that it’s shaping the culture.)

Brené Brown Quotes from Daring Greatly

Brene Brown Quote: Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.

Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.

When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.

A sense of worthiness inspires us to be vulnerable, share openly, and persevere. Shame keeps us small, resentful, and afraid. In shame-prone cultures, where parents, leaders, and administrators consciously or unconsciously encourage people to connect their self-worth to what they produce, I see disengagement, blame, gossip, stagnation, favoritism, and a total dearth of creativity and innovation.

Love and belonging are irreducible needs of all men, women, and children. We’re hardwired for connection—it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The absence of love, belonging, and connection always leads to suffering.

Vulnerability isn’t good or bad: It’s not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light, positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.

Our rejection of vulnerability often stems from our associating it with dark emotions like fear, shame, grief, sadness, and disappointment—emotions that we don’t want to discuss, even when they profoundly affect the way we live, love, work, and even lead. What most of us fail to understand and what took me a decade of research to learn is that vulnerability is also the cradle of the emotions and experiences that we crave.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path. I know this is hard to believe, especially when we’ve spent our lives thinking that vulnerability and weakness are synonymous, but it’s true. I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.

Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The power that connection holds in our lives was confirmed when the main concern about connection emerged as the fear of disconnection; the fear that something we have done or failed to do, something about who we are or where we come from, has made us unlovable and unworthy of connection.

Even to me the issue of “stay small, sweet, quiet, and modest” sounds like an outdated problem, but the truth is that women still run into those demands whenever we find and use our voices.

I only share when I have no unmet needs that I’m trying to fill. I firmly believe that being vulnerable with a larger audience is only a good idea if the healing is tied to the sharing, not to the expectations I might have for the response I get.

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