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Call to Courage – quotes that inspired me

I recently watched Brené Brown’s new documentary on Netflix, Call to Courage.

I’m a real fan of her work and this was a fantastic mix of stories to make you both laugh and think with some very poignant take home messages.

I’m going to discuss some of my favourite quotes from this talk, which I thoroughly recommend.

“the older I get, the more I realise

that time is the big, precious,

unrenewable resource.”

This is so true. Time is precious. It’s important to prioritise the things that make you happy, drive you towards a goal, and fulfil your passions and purpose.

“the fear of shame,

the fear of criticism was so great

in my life up until that point–

I mean, just paralysing–

that I engineered smallness in my life.”

This was a lesson to myself not to make myself smaller than I am but to shine in the light of my strengths and strive to better my weaknesses.

Next is the quote which Brené Brown’s book ‘Daring Greatly’ is named after. It is from a speech given by Theodore Roosevelt:

It’s not the critic who counts.

It’s not the man who points out

how the strong man stumbles

or where the doer of deeds

could have done it different.

The credit belongs to the person

who’s actually in the arena,

whose face is marred

with dust and sweat and blood,

who strives valiantly,

who errs,

who comes up short

again and again and again,

and who, in the end,

while he may know the triumph

of high achievement,

at least when he fails,

he does so daring greatly.”

 This passage has numerous take home messages. One which I feel is pertinent in the social media/on line world is that of criticism. Sharing content online opens yourself up to criticism, this can be beneficial when constructive, help you improve and grow as a person. It can, however, be derogatory, unhelpful and just purely mean. Consider who is providing your feedback, are they in the arena or lack the courage to show themselves but happy to pass uncensored judgement on others who are braver than themselves?

As Brené goes on to say:

“If you are not in the arena

getting your ass kicked on occasion

because you were being brave,

I am not interested in

or open to your feedback about my work.”

If you are brave enough, you will likely fail on occasion, feel pain – both physical and emotional – but vulnerability is not winning, it’s:

“having the courage to show up

when you can’t control the outcome.”

This for me was a poignant life lesson – it inspires me to go out and have courage to be vulnerable and to be in the arena of life.

She talked a lot about love and relationships, with some personal anecdotes from her own marriage. One passage of her talk which resonated with me was:

“People who love you, not despite

your imperfection and vulnerability,

but because of your imperfection

and vulnerability. Their feedback matters.”

I thought this was an uplifting message about love. It can be scary to open up and be vulnerable with those who you love, but in doing so love often grows and is stronger than ever. Avoiding the potential pain of being vulnerable and open your heart to someone is to avoid true love – to me that seems too high a price to pay.

The talk also discussed the topic of belonging in a way that I had not previously thought about it but which really stuck with me:


is belonging to yourself first.

Speaking your truth, telling your story,

and never betraying yourself

for other people.

True belonging doesn’t require you

to change who you are.

It requires you to be who you are.”

 This, to me, was a reminder not to change myself to try and ‘fit in’, but to be myself and find the people who value me for who I am and who I feel comfortable being my true self with.

Sometimes life can seem mundane, but when you look it is often filled with little moments which when appreciated can take your breath away. I try to remember these moments and even keep little notelets with them written down so I don’t forget them, I don’t want to. I want to be able to look back and remember as many of them as possible with a smile.  I think Brené Brown summed this up eloquently:

 “I get so busy sometimes

chasing the extraordinary moments

that I don’t pay attention

to the ordinary moments.

The moments that, if taken away,

I would miss more than anything.”

A little reminder not to feel so busy that you miss the moments in your life that might feel ordinary but are actually those you treasure the most.

A story told during the talk was an anecdote between Brené and her daughter, where her daughter tells Brené that:

“I was making a picture memory.”

And I said, “What’s a picture memory?”

And she said, “Sometimes,

when I’m really grateful,

and things are just amazing,

I close my eyes and take a picture memory,

so when I feel lonely or things are hard,

I can remember it.”

This reminded me how some memories (if I’m being honest, probably most), are best remembered by focusing on the moment itself, not leaning for your camera phone to take a snapshot, but to really be in the moment, embrace it and live it to the full. This is something I am still working on.

I’ll end with a passage from Brene’s concluding remarks:

 “Vulnerability is hard,

and it’s scary, and it feels dangerous,

but it’s not as hard, scary, or dangerous

as getting to the end of our lives

and having to ask ourselves,

“What if I would have shown up?

What if I would have said I love you?

What if I would have come off the blocks?”

Show up,

be seen, answer the call to courage,

and come off the blocks

’cause you’re worth it.

You’re worth being brave.”

…now that is something to really think about.  We are all worth being brave and getting the best out of our lives we possibly can.


Emma x

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