Hilary Ashmen, M.Ed., Adult Learning Consultant
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Brown, Brené, Ph.D., L.M.S.W., (2010)
Welcome back to our leadership resources book review. To help you continue to grow and move your ideas to action, we will provide you with a book of the month for your professional reading list. This month Hilary interviewed Nou Vang, Operations Consultant with BSCorbett Consulting.
The Gifts of Imperfection is a valuable resource for those who are at a crossroads and deciding what to do next in their lives. The author, Brené Brown, presents a compilation of her personal story, data, quotes, and interviews from years of research to guide readers in making significant changes. Brown was looking for a way to live a whole-hearted life and discovered it can be achieved with courage, compassion, and connection. The Gifts of Imperfection provides 10 practices or “guideposts” to living a whole-hearted life.
Two guideposts that resonated with Nou were Practice Authenticity and Laugh, Sing, and Dance. They helped her recognize that she does not always need to present a polished, composed, and unshakeable exterior. Nou is focusing on letting things go and remembering what is important in life. Developing authenticity means “cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable.” Nou understands if you make authenticity your goal you will own your happiness and it will not be dependent on other people’s choices.
One of the ways you devalue vulnerability is by “hustling to be perceived as cool and in control.” If you allow yourself to act ridiculously, laugh and dance, you open yourself to other possibilities and become more accepting of other’s ideas. An example the author provided was when she was in a store with her daughter, who began dancing with the music. Other patrons were staring at her. Rather than stopping the child due to embarrassment, Brown began dancing along. She was herself and let go of conforming to other’s expectations. Laughing, singing, and dancing allows you to do what makes you happy instead of doing things based on the opinions and judgements of others.
Nou used to focus more on image and appearances. The guideposts and coaching sessions with Emily Tevault have helped her to build courage, compassion, and connection in her life. She sees positive changes and is a role model of whole-hearted living for her children. Her young son made up a song about poop. Nou used to tell him to sing it quietly but now, she lets him sign it loudly and proudly, even in a public setting. “I’m not the dream crusher,” reports Nou. With her daughter, Nou doesn’t dictate what she wears to school. As long as it is weather appropriate, she embraces her daughter’s big, poofy dress and unicorn headband. Love, courage, compassion, and acceptance make Nou and her children happy. This is what life is all about.
When you find yourself needing a change in your personal life, this book is for you. The Gifts of Imperfection is an easy yet intense read. It will leave you with a lot of good questions on how to find your true self. Brown’s guideposts help you discover who you are and the path you want to take on your journey. Share this book with friends and colleagues for a stimulating guide and story that shows you the way to transformation.
The book is recommended for…
- Anyone ready to “dig deep” and explore who they are and where they would like to go next in their personal leadership journey.
- An inspiring read with a mug of pumpkin spice latte.
Share your thoughts about your personal growth process, join the conversation below.
Brown, Brené, Ph.D., L.M.S.W., (2010). The gifts of imperfection: Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are. Center City, MN: Hazeldon.