I’m as skeptical of self-help advice as anyone, which is one reason I’m a huge fan of Brené Brown. While some may call Brown’s books self-help, her work is grounded in 10 years of research. So when she says that vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage, and that it’s the key to living wholeheartedly, I listen.
I got the chance to do that in person at Inc’s leadership conference in San Diego last week. Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, began by telling the audience about how, once her TEDx talk became suddenly popular, she started getting trolled online. I won’t repeat the terrible things written about her, but the experience drove her to eight straight hours of Downton Abbey, followed by some Googling about Theodore Roosevelt (she was wondering about the U.S. presidency during the Downton years). All of that led to a new way to look at criticism.
Here’s the Roosevelt quote that proved so influential:
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly."
“That is who I want to be,” said Brown. “I want to be the courageous person. I want to be the person in the arena who is showing up.” She also realized that, “If you live your life in the arena, you are going to get your ass kicked. You can choose comfort or you can choose courage, but you cannot have both. Because courage and comfort do not co-exist.”Read more...
After years helping terminally ill patients, a dedicated healthcare worker retired. But she soon became depressed. Someone recommended she get a service dog for emotional support. Of all the dogs out there needing a home, she choose a little poodle-Shih Tzu mix who had been hit by a car and paralyzed in the back legs. While others had shunned the disabled dog because it required extra care and someone to help teach it how to move with the help of a set of wheels, the healthcare worker saw a dog in need of her help and support. They're a perfect match.
That's just one of the stories Susannah Charleson, a flight instructor and rescue worker turned service dog trainer, shares. With her new book, The Possibility Dogs: What a Handful of 'Undadoptables" Taught Me About Service, Hope & Healing, the New York Times bestselling author talks about how her own struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder led her on a mission to rescue abandoned dogs who have what it takes to provide service and therapy to people in need.
Photo of rescued puppy Jake Piper courtesy of Susannah Charleson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt