I just want to start by saying that I love Brené Brown. I’ve watched the TED talks, bought the books, didn’t buy the t-shirt because it was too expensive.
And I love the ‘others’ too – you know who I mean. The big name people talking about big ideas and concepts in profound way.
I find them inspiring, their work definitely influences my work, and I love travelling or sitting in a coffee shop with Audible on, listening to their latest books.
But I think there’s been a shift.
There’s been a shift, in that if you’re thinking about, writing about or wanting a quote about vulnerability or shame, you google Brené Brown. If you want inspiration about creativity – you turn to Elizabeth Gilbert.
The great part is that vulnerability, creativity, shame and fear have become part of normal conversations.
The not so great part? It’s like we’ve stopped turning to our own stories, and our own narratives.
I get that there are experts in any industry and there are always people leading the field, but I think experts have been put on a pedestal so much that we’re forgetting ourselves and the contribution we have to make.
Sometimes I can’t help but wonder how helpful it is, that when we’re talking about huge, subjective, personal topics, we immediately turn to the ‘experts’ instead of turning to ourselves, and the people in our own lives.
The way I see it, if you’re reading this right now, if you’re a human, you’re just as much an expert on vulnerability, shame, creativity, fear as anyone who might have a New York Times Bestseller.
All of our human experiences guarantee that.
And we’ve all found our own unique strategies and tools, our own memories, and experiences where they’ve come into play. And we all have our own stories, our own ah-ha moments, and our own ways we can help ourselves and others.
And my fear that we’re not turning to ourselves only increased when I started The Couragemakers Podcast. I started my podcast because I wanted to talk to everyday couragemakers about everyday courage. To have honest conversations with mission driven doers, makers and world shakers that might not necessarily be featured on Huffington Post, have written their own book or given a TED Talk.
I wanted to hear the stories of women all around the world who are using their own experiences, and their own strengths and values to put good shit into the world and make the world a brighter place than how we found it.
And believe me, I have. And the episodes are AMAZING. And the women? They are fucking phenomenal.
But when I started to reach out to women I knew, women who encourage and ispire me, I started seeing a pattern emerging their responses. Their answers started with ‘I’d absolutely love to…” and finished with:
“When I’ve done more”
“When I’m at that level”
“But I don’t think I’m very interesting”
“But I don’t think I have anything to say”
It’s like we’ve all got used to only hearing successful, well regarded people on podcasts, listening to people who have given TED Talks, and only watching the people who look like they have it all.
And in the process, we’re silencing ourselves. We’re getting trapped in the ‘I’m not good enoughs’ and ‘I’m not important enoughs.’ I’m truly devastated by the fact that there are people who don’t feel important enough to think they even have a story.
Let me tell you – for every single interview I record, I am absolutely blown away. Blown away by the stories, by the courage and by the joy of sharing stories that are untold.
Most of all, I’m blown away by the fact that we all have so many different stories. For each guest, I know the interview could go a thousand different ways, depending on which part of their story or their lives we’re focusing on.
Because when it comes to vulnerability, fear, creativity, hope, wholeheartedness, bravery, anything – we’ve all got enough stories to stock that beautiful bookshop in You’ve Got Mail three times over.
And when people are asked about their lives, their struggles and what inspires them, they come out with stories and advice that are just as share-worthy and Pinterest board worthy as Brené Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert:
Asking for help is one of the best things you could do for your life. And letting people know life is a mess and life is really messy and it’s okay becauese we all are messy and nobody has it together — Jordan Gage
Find something new you want to try and do it. That’s a gift to yourself — Amber Thomas
Being a courage maker is when your inner light is stronger than the light out there — Violeta Nedkova
We’ve all got our own narratives.
We’ve all got our own stories to tell. We each have a back catalogue of real life experiences. We each have our Greatest Hits and also that obscure album that no one’s really listened to.
Trust yourself and stop googling, or believing that the experts can say what you’re thinking, or your ideas better than yourself.
Because they can’t.