Archive for Brené Brown

What’s Your Anthem?

What’s my Anthem? I need an Anthem???

Yes! In fact you may need more than one. An anthem is a song or speech or poem – or whatever it is that works for you – that you want played loudly (over the PA system, through your earphones, or just in your head) as you walk, practically petrified, through the daunting arenas of your life.

I have Arenas? You mean with lions and bulls???

Well, not exactly real lions and bulls, although there are certainly times in the arena when we feel like we’re about to be eaten alive. Sometimes simply showing up as who we really are and saying what we really think, can feel just that dangerous.

I know you’ve experienced this. Maybe your arena is a board room, a sales pitch, a stage, or even being present for a difficult conversation with someone you love. Perhaps you could’ve used an anthem in school when you faced that all-important test or, worse, the principal’s office. Yikes.

There is a way, though, to make stepping into your arena, with your anthems playing, less scary – even rewarding.

It’s the Daring Way™.

Watch for more to come about that. Today I’m here to tell you about  anthems.

The other day I was writing to the members of a Daring Way™ group I’m running. I was elaborating on an assignment, reminding them to come to this week’s session with the names of their anthems.

Originally, the exercise was for them to pick a song by which they feel uplifted, encouraged, and remind them of how brave and magnifecent they are, and what authentic gifts they bring. But since music doesn’t affect everyone the way it does me (or Brené Brown who chose to include this exercise in her Daring Way™ program), I extended the assignment to include anything that empowers them to be themselves out loud.

What about a playlist?

Making a list of examples to send them turned out to be so fun for me, that I didn’t want to stop! And I didn’t want to keep that list all to myself and them either. So, you’re in luck! I’m posting it here for you.

I do have one caveat (and confession): This list is by no means complete. Which is why I didn’t want to stop when I was making the list of examples. There are so many more great candidates! Maybe I’ll get to those in a later post (or posts), but for now, you’ll hane to just enjoy these.

Music:

Poems by:

  • Billy Collins
  • David Whyte
  • Derek Walcott
  • Emily Dickenson
  • Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī (Rumi)
  • John O’Donohue
  • Lucille Clifton
  • Mary Oliver
  • Maya Angelou
  • Naomi Shihab Nye
  • Oriah Mountain Dreamer
  • Pablo Neruda
  • Richard Gilbert
  • Shamseddin Mohammad (Hafiz or Hafez)
  • Shel Silverstein

Books by:

  • Alice Walker
  • Anne Lamott
  • Bill Wilson
  • Brené Brown
  • Charlotte Kasl
  • Christiane Northrup
  • Dale Carnegie
  • Daniel Gilbert
  • David Schwartz
  • Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Julia Cameron
  • Hermann Hesse
  • Laura Overstreet Biering! 🙂
  • Louise Hay
  • Marianne Williamson
  • Nancy Blair
  • Napoleon Hill
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Pema Chödrön
  • Randy Pausch
  • Rick Tamlyn
  • SARK
  • Sonia Choquette
  • Sue Monk Kidd
  • Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Viktor Frankl, or maybe even

Quotes from:

  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Albert Einstein
  • Anne Frank
  • Ben Franklin
  • Betty Friedan
  • Beverly Sills
  • Billy Jean King
  • Eleanor, Franklin, or Theodore Roosevelt
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton
  • Elizabeth Kübler-Ross
  • Erica Jong
  • Gloria Steinem
  • Helen Keller
  • Henry Ford
  • Indira or Mahatma Gandhi
  • Jimmy Carter
  • John or Robert Kennedy
  • Lucius Annaeus Seneca
  • Malala Yousafza
  • Martha Graham
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Mother Teresa
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Ovid
  • Richard Branson
  • Rosa Parks
  • Steve Jobs
  • Susan B. Anthony
  • Vince Lombardi
  • Walt Disney
  • Warren Buffett
  • William James

Also… there are some inspiring Academy Awards Acceptance Speeches (see my March 13th blog post to get you started with these), and there are some awesome TED talks (get the top 1o here) and TEDx talks (get the top 10 here)…

OK. Since I have other things to do today, and I’m sure you do, too, I’ll stop here.

Now it’s your turn.

Pleeeeeease, even if it’s only one a day, take these like vitamins – try them out, take them in, and decide which ones make you feel the best. Then make your own list. You can start by “cheating off of my paper.” Then, before you know it, you’ll be choosing anthems seemingly written for you.

And please check back in with me here so I can “cheat off of your paper, too.” I hope you have fun perusing my anthems and then picking yours. Why?

Because it’s time to march confidently into your arenas, head held high ( even if you’re quaking in your boot), with your anthems turned up to 11!

 

PS I apologize for not providing you links to every single item above, but that would have surely gotten me in trouble with the Google police. And “ain’t nobody got time for that!”

You may be right. I may be crazy.

Today is the first day of my participation in the 500-Words-a-Day-for-31-Days Challenge.

How many words is that so far? Tee-hee. Just kidding.

I confess that I’m not completely looking forward to this project. It’s kind of daunting, although parts of it will be great, I’m sure. And some parts, I imagine, will be excruciating. I’m trying to think of it , though, like all those Morning Pages I did when I was teaching The Artist’s Way so frequently. No matter how I feel, no matter much or how little I think I have to write about, no matter the time constraints on my day, no matter what my energy level is, whether emotional, psychic, mental, spiritual, or physical, I’m going to do this. And I’m going to do it every single day!

Except for the days I don’t.

But don’t worry… Making that statement doesn’t diminish my enthusiasm or willingness to write every day. It’s just my way of making a full out commitment and still being gentle with myself because life does happen, as they say.

I can hear some people now saying now, “What? Are you crazy? You’re going to try to do that, too, with all the other things you’ve got going on?” And to that, I’d have to say, “Maybe I am!” There’s certainly a lot of evidence to that fact. But this is something I really want to do, and I think it will be good for me. Not in the way that taking medicine is good for me (except on those excruciating days, maybe), but good in the way that it will be empowering and enlivening, rich and elevating. Plus, I think it’ll really help me with this whole blogging thing. I really want to get in the habit of writing to you, as well as sharing my photographs with you. And yet another reason to honor this commitment (to myself), is that if I’m not creative, I can get really cranky!

OK. Now I really do want to know how many words. Whoa – 339 already! Oh, that is so cool! I thought it was going to be 110 or maybe 125, but something really low like that.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. 🙂

I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up about all the things following through on this writing commitment could do for me, but I admit that there’s a part of me that’s thinking it’s going to be a piece of cake and really pay off.

Then why am I even telling you about it? Because it’ll help me actually do it, easy or not. Like having a good coach gives my clients accountability for doing the things they want to do, you will serve as accountability for me here.

But, just to be clear, you don’t get to check in with me every 5 minutes about it, OK? And don’t expect new blog posts every day or even every other day, either. Some of the stuff I write will be for my eyes only.

Speaking of accountability, I know it helps to have a friend join in on activities like this, so I think I’ll ask my friend and web goddess, Suzanne Bird-Harris, to join me. I think she’ll enjoy it and get some good stuff out of it, too. And maybe she could stop having to pay for a hotel room, which she sometimes has to do to get some peace and quiet in order to be able to write. (Now that’s dedication to one’s craft!) Plus she’s fun and she’ll both kick my butt if I need it and love me at the same time.

Don’t you want to do it, too? I’d love to have you along for the ride and hear how it goes for you. If you’re thinking “yes, that’s for me,” just go to this link and read all about it. He’s makes a good and inviting case. And, in the event that we get stuck, he even gives us writing prompts.

Here’s a little aside… Where writing prompts are concerned, there’s this really cool book filled with them called “A Writer’s Book of Days” by the talented writer Judy Reeves. I recommend it highly because, even if you aren’t a book addict like I am, there’s just a lot of really helpful stuff in it, even in addition to a prompt a day for 365 days.

Well, would you look at that? 738!

Now, I’d love to keep writing to you, especially since I’m on such a roll, but Jeff says that no matter how many words we write in one day, we still have to write 500 words the next day. And I know what it’s like to go to the gym after a long absence and work out like a maniac, trying to get a head start, or make up for lost time, or both. I also know what it’s like to not be able to go back to the gym for a week because I shot my wad on that first day. Maybe you’ve experienced this, too.

So, in order not to overdo it today, because I do want to come back to my writing tomorrow, I’m going to wrap this thing up. And maybe I’ll see you tomorrow with another post. But remember, don’t you count on it. I’d hate to disappoint you, but I will if I have to.

I am the main one I’m hoping not to disappoint in this endeavor. Wish me luck.

(And that’s 921!)

Rita Doing Some Writing on Retreat at the Farm

OH – IMPORTANT NOTE: The picture you see here is of my friend Rita, who came down from Chicago for the most recent retreat at my farm, Brinson’s Race. Here, she’s doing some writing, facing the growing cotton field, with my dog Little Bit at her back, protecting her from squirrels.

Doesn’t it look inviting? Wouldn’t you like to spend some time there? Or would you prefer to be doing your writing facing the pecan orchard? Or maybe in the woods, by what we call the little pond? Regardless of your preference, you can.

Want to know how and when? Read on…

I have set aside the weekends of September 26, October 10, November 7, and even December 12, as potential dates for delivering retreats at Brinson’s Race. The title and subject of the retreats will be Creating A Wholehearted Life: The Daring Way™. It’s Brené Brown‘s most recent program, and brilliantly covers all of her research up to now, through video, discussion, and rich, experiential exercises.

Of course, you could enroll in an in-person group and enjoy the experience over a couple of months. And if you want to do that, just go to this link and sign up.

Or, if you’d rather dive into the work all at once, while in a beautiful, bucolic setting, go to this (same) page.

Either way, head on over to this page on the True Voices website, and check it out.

FYI – The only retreat that is listed on that page is the one in September. If you are interested in one of the other dates, please just give me a holler at 404.296.8221, fill out the contact form on this website, or write me directly at Laura (at) TrueVoices (dot) com.

Talk to you very soon, I hope!

Love,
Laura

PS My gratitude, admiration, and apologies to the great Billy Joel regarding the title to this post. 🙂

Laura Spills It

Hey – remember me? It’s been a while, I know. Why? Because I was afraid  of what you’d think of me if I came clean.

That’s right! I, Laura Biering – the RiskADay Coach, the one who works with people on their courage, self-esteem, and confidence, the one who leads and teaches using the Brené Brown texts, “The Gifts of Imperfection” and “Daring Greatly,” and the one who is soon to be a Certified Daring Way Facilitator – was afraid. And, instead of using the fear to propel me forward, I reverted back to an old, bad habit, and I let the fear stop me from engaging in one of the things I most believe in – authentic communication and connection.

This habit, by the way, the one we have of letting fear stop us, isn’t one I recommend cultivating.

When I look back on the fact that not writing you on a regular basis is a way of not walking my talk, a way of not honoring my values of authenticity, connection, contribution, creativity, vulnerability, and integrity (to name a few), the feeling I get is just this side of excruciating…

… except for when I “protected” myself from those feelings. I put the word protected in quotation marks because, I assure you,  any reprieve I got from choosing not to think about my fear and the associated inaction was always short-lived. And the agony was always worse when the period of attempting to protect myself was over.

(Note: My translation of “protection” here roughly like this: engaging in some form self-distancing, self-destructive behavior such as isolating, overeating, hiding my real feelings, judging myself unkindly, playing too many computer games, and otherwise procrastinating on doing important tasks or having important conversations.)

Again, as much fun as all of that sounds, it’s still not recommended.

You see, I’m super excited about the work I’m doing with Brené Brown and her team – working on, and getting closer to, becoming fully certified to deliver her program, The Daring Way™, by the end of the year (fingers crossed).

And, I’m super excited about offering this amazing work, which is somehow simultaneously deeply powerful and user-friendly. I’m looking forward to sharing it with more of my individual clients, as well as with groups (both in-person and via webinar) and retreat participants at my farm in Southeast Georgia. And who knows where else!

So what’s the catch???

Well, in the midst of all this super excitement, there’s something I’m not excited about. That is the fact that that in order to actually do any of this work, and for there to be actual people with me while I’m doing it, those people have to know about it. And this means I have to promote it.

Ugh.

Here’s the thing, though. This challenge affords me the opportunity to apply for myself what I’ll be facilitating others to do for themselves.

And isn’t that what we want in our teachers, leaders, and mentors? To have been there, to have survived, and to have found their way back to share with us what they learned while on the other side, the side of the muck and confusion, of desperation and fear?

It’s what I want. It’s who I want to be.

What about you? Is there a way you know you want to be, but haven’t yet been able to muster the courage? I’ll bet you won’t have to look too far to find at least one thing that falls in that category. I know I didn’t.

So, I forge ahead, writing this blog post, and committing to you to write even more – and more consistently – in the future.

And now, for another reason why writing this post was so scary to me  (drum roll, please…): I am posting a *picture of me with Brené. Why is this so scary? When you see it, you’ll know. It’s a darling picture of her, and a, well, let’s just say less than darling picture of me. And, I’m posting the picture here anyway.

Laura_and_Brene_during_the_hottest_summer_in_Houston_ever_Sept._2011_optimized-001Laura Biering and Brené Brown, in September of 2011, at the National Connections Training in Houston Texas, during one of the hottest summers on record there – the hottest since 1892!

Hey – you’re still here – that picture didn’t run you off.  Thank you!

Thanks, in fact, for being a part of my world – no matter what part of our world you live in. And thanks for being someone I can be honest with, which includes “spilling it” about the fact that I, too, get afraid, and sometimes I let that fear hold me back.

I’m grateful there are also times when I use the fear to propel me forward. May we all have more of those moments.

Amen.

PS Speaking of being propelled forward, here’s another risk: Please check out the cool groups and retreats I have coming up. All the details are at this link: – Creating a Wholehearted Life – The Daring Way™ – and of course. you can call me to can chat about it, if you have questions.

The bottom line is that if any of what I’ve said here or what I say on the Creating a Wholehearted Life – The Daring Way™ web page resonates with you, it would be my honor to have you join me and others like us on The Daring Way™ journey (and for you to get a bargain by bringing a friend, too).

Sure, stepping more fulling into being your authentic self more of the time, in more places, and with more people may be scary, but, at least for me, it’s a heck of a lot less scary than living in the aforementioned muck and confusion, desperation and fear.

So, won’t you join me?

*My sincere thanks goes out to Indrani Goradia for taking this photo.

The Gift of Uncollapsing

Later this week, I’ll begin delivering a newly designed class called “Creating a Wholehearted Life,” based on the work of  Brené Brown and the studies I’ve been doing with her and her team. As I prepare to do so, I am aware of so many things we’ll be covering that I didn’t learn in school – and that would really have helped me along the way.

To start with, we didn’t learn things like:

  • The dangers of perfectionism,
  • The all-important art of self-compassion,
  • The value of experiencing the full spectrum of emotions, or
  • The fact that the armor and masks I was wearing to fit in were barriers to getting the love and belonging I really wanted.

We didn’t learn about collapsed distinctions, either, but as a coach, it’s a phrase I use often. It’s referring to when we take two distinct ideas and get them confused, or think of them as the same thing. An image that works for me is that of two individual columns that have fallen down into the same pile of rubble between them.

Maybe seeing it this way will help you, or maybe a common example will. The most common collapsed distinction I know of is that of self-care and selfishness. See what I mean? They’re not only not the same thing, they’re actually quite different.

While it may seem somewhat cerebral, it can prove to be quite empowering, to become aware of where and when we do this.

A few of the collapsed distinctions we’ll be addressing in the class are:

  • Guilt and Shame, and how knowing the difference can allow us to take action and heal, rather than shut down and/or disappear,
  • Imperfection and Inadequacy, and how being imperfect is not something to hide, but when embraced, allows us to connect and experience love and joy, and
  • Vulnerability and Weakness, and how our willingness to be vulnerable is actually the greatest measure of courage and strength.

Are there any concepts, feelings, or beliefs that you collapse? Are the ones I mentioned familiar to you, or are there others you’re more acquainted with, like maybe understanding and agreement, anger and rage, or hope and fantasy?

I invite you to take some time with this – if you’re so inclined. I’ve found it to be quite a powerful exercise and a gift to myself and my clients. I’d love to know what you find, too. So I’ll see you later, either below in the comments, or maybe even in my new class (let me know if you want to know more)! 🙂

 

Three, Three, Three Cs in One Post!

For the last several days, I’ve been at the farm – walking, writing, dreaming, and planning. A large part of my work here has been creating content in preparation for delivering discussions, workshops, and retreats on the ground-breaking work of Dr. Brené Brown. As you probably know, I’ve been studying with her and her team since September of 2011. I’m currently authorized to offer her work, and soon, I’ll be Certified!

You may know of Dr. Brown from her best-selling books, I Thought It Was Just Me, The Gifts of Imperfection, and Daring Greatly, or from seeing her TED talks from 2010 and 2012. Or maybe you’ve come to know her more recently, perhaps from seeing her two appearances on SuperSoulSunday with Oprah Winfrey.

What does all of this have to do with the AB…Zs of Self-Care series? Well, because of this immersion into her work, I’ve decided that in this blog post, I’ll have not one word inspired by the letter C, but three! And these three are… Courage, Compassion, and Connection.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that these words were already of huge importance to me, even before I started working with Brené.  That’s one reason I’m so excited about delivering offerings based on her research for a long time to come.

Today, I’m  excited about simply sharing with you one of the many powerful tidbits from Brené; one that includes the three Cs. I think it’s probably meaty enough for us to ponder a good while. Brené says,

“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.”