I believe strongly in the power of timing. Reading the right thing at the wrong time is unlikely to have an impact. You might come back to it later, but chances are, you won’t. Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness (Vermillion, 2017) s a powerful book if you are ready for it.

In Braving the Wilderness Brown explores the concept of belonging. It is underpinned by a belief in spirituality as the foundation for just about everything. It challenges our belief in the role of communities in our lives and in so many ways it is an important, empowering read. There are many things that struck me and will certainly stay with me. The first is about the importance of giving yourself permission to ‘inhale before you exhale’. The lesson here is that no one can go at 100 miles per hour all the time. Resilience comes from knowing when you need to take the time to recharge your own batteries in order to be the most powerful version of yourself…and to contribute to your community in a more meaningful way. The second relates to vulnerability. Brown became famous for her TED Talk on vulnerability (it has been watched more than 34M times). She delves a little deeper into vulnerability here and introduces the concept of ‘hard back, soft front’. To describe this in a blog post won’t do it justice, but once you learn about it, it’s hard to shake the thought that someone can be – in fact, will benefit from being – able to stand up for what they believe in, but equally open to making themselves vulnerable in order to create deeper and more powerful connections with the people around them.

Braving the Wilderness is not for everyone. Brown uses her signature style which includes a mix of swearing, personal stories and academic research. For many it will be an intoxicating mixture. For others, it may seem off-putting, sometimes even trite. It really depends where your own mindset is right now. This is the book for you if:

  • You are very self-aware, strive for continuous self-improvement and are looking for new ways to challenge your own perceptions of yourself
  • You are struggling to find the courage to hold your own in a situation that you feel passionate about
  • You are at a place in your life where you are questioning…everything

Decades ago there was trend for people to travel the world trying to ‘find themselves’. Throughout this book, I couldn’t help think about that phrase. Travelling may well be the key to unlocking aspects of yourself, but Brown challenges you to ‘find yourself’ right where you are, and more important, to accept and love who that person is today. It’s a very powerful read.