There is a point in our personal story - whether it be our career path, a relationship, an athletic achievement, an academic goal - in which we are too far in to turn back, but the finish line is no where to be seen. According to Brene Brown, author of Rising Strong, that is the space in which courage is forged.
It's classic storytelling. We've seen it in movies and cartoons. We've read it in fairy tales and biographies. We've heard it on podcasts and radio shows.
- Act 1 - The hero starts a journey
- Act 2 – The hero falls into a dark space
- Act 3 – The hero gets it done
So let's talk about Act 2. The middle space. It's when our stories hurt or feel dangerous. It's when we fall, when we fail. When we are "less than." It can be simple - like a minor conflict with a friend - or it can be significant - like the loss of a job. Regardless of the magnitude, it is here that the hero goes through three phrases: reckoning, rumbling, and revolution.
The reckoning is when we face our emotions. We acknowledge our doubt, our fear, our uncertainty. We acknowledge that we don't have all the answers. We go as far as to acknowledge we may not even have all the questions.
The rumble is when we get brave about the discomfort that we are feeling. We dig into our stories until we get to a place of truth, of revelation.
The revolution occurs when the discovered truth evolves into a process, an everyday habit, a regular practice, an enlightened moment. It is this practice that creates the revolution in our lives that allows us - to paraphrase Brown - to rise strong and cultivate whole heartedness.
This is how transformational leaders make their impact. They "do" discomfort. They do not run away, but rather place themselves squarely in the middle of the storm. They have absolute emotional awareness of their own life and of those around them. They know that digging deeper will guide them to the truth, because curiosity is the currency of the leadership realm.
Rising strong is about owning your story. It's not about being the victim, the villain, or even the hero of your story. It's about being the author of your story. And that requires courage. Courage is uncomfortable, and that is why it is rare. You can choose to be courageous or your can choose to be comfortable, but you cannot have both.
"The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable. But our wholeness - even our wholeheartedness - actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the falls." - Brene Brown