The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown (2010) Hazelden
Brené Brown is a writer, educator and researcher. She is now ten years working on the study of connection and has written a number of books in relation to this. This non-fiction book, The Gifts of Imperfection, delivers on this topic so well and the author has one feeling whilst reading that you could be sitting on your couch at home with a friend having a really inspiring conversation. An interesting read for all however, for anyone wishing to work on their self-limiting beliefs, this is truly a read to take on.
Brené Brown writes authentically and very much on authenticity with examples from her life experiences which have given her learning to be liberating. She explains how to give meaning to our thoughts, behaviours and feelings to bring us to “Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are”.
During my studies on the Diploma of Executive and Life Coaching, I had to “Dig Deep” on many aspects of myself and my belief in my abilities. Reading this book encouraged me as there are times when I would think that on meeting some people one would think their life seems almost perfect. It thought me to have a different understanding of perfection – to understand my vulnerabilities, learn to be grateful and how to practise being more authentic.
The beginning of her book outlines with clarity the tools required to live more wholeheartedly. They are explained as “gifts” – courage, compassion and connection. Following this the author interestingly explains “the barriers that get in the way” of wholehearted living. Developing habits has been very much part of my learning on this course and Brené Brown’s writing brings us again to daily practices with these tools and working on the barriers.
From here we are brought to the authors’ ten Guideposts. When reading these I could feel myself in some of her research – for example, she noted how easier it is to love and accept others imperfections but to talk about our own and learn to embrace them requires courage. The understanding of feeling shame and being human in doing so helps you “own your story”. The guideposts are designed to give one an action plan to work with during our own exploration of how to live a wholehearted life.
“Thought-provoking” and “creative” are mentioned as part of the ICF’s definition of coaching and this book brings many though-provoking angles to your awareness of your natural creativity to re-establishing your life. Brené Brown uses the concept of “Dig Deep” at the end of each Guidepost – These are the sections where we are to start thinking about how we get deliberate and inspired about our choices and how we take action. One of these includes a line from Leonard Cohen’s song and it allows me the understanding that imperfection is normal:
“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
There is much learning in this book and for this reason, reading it more than once is a great way to learn more. It is also a book to keep for times when the gremlins may creep back into our lives and block us exploring the darkness to discover the light.
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