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Courage is Contagious

Leadership is a strange word. We usually think of it to mean someone is in front - the “leader” - and others are behind - the “followers.” I am interested in changing what we think when we hear the word “leader.”

There are really many different ways to lead. And whether you are involved in a workplace or not, l think we can all garner better skills at being the CEO of our lives.

Brené Brown is a world-renowned expert on leadership. When I first read her book, “Dare to Lead,” I didn’t think it applied to me. In my professional legal career, I thought of myself as a “lone wolf,” advising clients who engaged me for my expertise.

But the more I explore the concepts surrounding leadership, the more I realize that my thinking was wrong. First, in most transactions I am part of a “working group,” with each person outside of my firm contributing their unique talents to the project. At home, I am part of a different working group - my immediate and extended family. In my political activism, I am part of a leadership team. Even friendships create a group. In all of these settings, leadership comes into play.

Brené often shares this quote from a speech given by Teddy Roosevelt (sometimes called the “Man in the Arena” speech):

“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 … who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.”

This is a great inspiration for Brené’s work - which, somewhat counterintuitively, makes vulnerability a cornerstone of leadership. Her theory is that taking risks can lead to a more fulfilling life - we just need the encouragement and some skills.

This article is a great summary of some of her ideas. We will continue to explore the concept of leadership in different ways at SWC. We hope you will keep an open mind and join us in the journey!

With love and light,


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