We are major fans of Brené Brown. While we only officially reviewed Daring Greatly here on the blog, we both have read The Gifts of Imperfection and Rising Strong, and plan to read whatever she comes out with next! So, when she sent around an email announcing her new class – Living Brave – we were in! We are only half way through the Living Brave course, but we thought we’d take a moment and share with you what we think so far and details on everything we would have wanted to know before signing up.
Living Brave – Intro and Class Format
The Living Brave course content is based on Brené Brown’s books Daring Greatly and Rising Strong, and both are required reading for this course. Daring Greatly is about courage – the courage to be vulnerable and step into the arena, which can be anything from a new career opportunity or relationship, to the creative process or a difficult family conversation. To dare greatly is to let ourselves be seen. Rising Strong takes us from the arena, where we may have fallen, and teaches us how to get back up with courage, strength and wholeheartedness. Together these two books encourage us to dig deep, peel back the layers and expose who we really are, giving us the opportunity to have a truly full life.
The format of Living Brave is like a college semester. For the first six weeks we review Daring Greatly, then it’s spring break, and the last six weeks we review Rising Strong. All class materials are within Brené’s course website – Courageworks.com – besides the books that you buy on your own.
Through videos Brené teaches you the core concepts in the lessons, giving the background and describing the terms and context you need to know, and then she walks through the lesson itself. In each lesson there is a minimum of two videos, though often there are three or four. Videos range from 2 to 20 minutes. In addition, there is a workbook that follows the lesson plan, as well as an online forum within Courageworks.com where you can interact with others taking the course and share your thoughts and experiences. Lastly, Brené hosts four online Q&A sessions, two per semester.
How does the Living Brave course differ from just reading the books?
While Brené does a great job of giving an overview of the themes in the book through the Living Brave course videos, she obviously cannot go into as much detail as she does in the book. We did occasionally reference the books as we went through the course, though we did not re-read either book as we went through the course.
One of the things we often struggle with is how to apply the concepts described in the books we read to our own lives. While we loved both Daring Greatly and Rising Strong, we wouldn’t say that we using the concepts everyday to improve our lives. By going through this course, we are learning how to do exactly that! With each lesson you are encouraged to answer prompts, such as how you want to show up and be seen, and areas where you are struggling to dare greatly, to show you how you can apply her concepts to those specific situations. By thinking about a specific arena in your life where you want to dare greatly, you can actually make steps towards making a change and being more daring. This course teaches you how to practice what Brené is preaching.
What is your favorite concept so far?
Becca: I love the idea of giving myself a permission slip! The concept of permission slips is that sometimes we need to give our self permission to do something new or different or out of the norm in order to not feel the guilt that may come along with doing that thing. For example, I have been giving myself permission to write in the mornings before I worry about all that needs to get done (such as laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, etc.). I have also been giving myself permission to not have it all figured out, as I struggle with having peace during uncertain times. By writing myself a permission slip, I let myself off the hook to just enjoy the writing process and enjoy the uncertainty.
Tiffany: I liked her exercise on empathy. She defines what empathy is and isn’t. For example, empathy isn’t telling someone “oh poor you” or providing an example from someone’s own life that was worse than what the person is going through. It’s trying to just be there with someone when they are going through a painful experience. I had also never considered how I want people to react when I share something like that or that everyone may be different in what they are looking for – silence, an immediate response, eye contact, no eye contact, etc. It’s given me food for thought in my interactions with others.
Is there anything you would change?
We both agree that it would have been better to have a Facebook group for the course vs. an online forum. We’ve only been to the online forum a few times, and found it a bit overwhelming. There are so many people taking the course and answers are coming in so fast, that it is hard to make sense of the conversation or feel like you could make a connection with someone whose comment resonated with you. We both belong to various Facebook groups and find that method works better for us.
Would you recommend this course to others?
Becca: Yes! I have been trying to do the course first thing Monday morning as I am fresh and ready to do a little self-reflection. I am enjoying the course and like having this focused time every week to push my thinking and growth in some areas of my life where I am very much trying to be brave. I would recommend this class to anyone looking to make a change in their life which is requiring them to be vulnerable. As they say, go big or go home, and now I am learning how exactly to go big!
Tiffany: I’m not sure yet. I love Brené and love watching the videos of her, but this course came at a time when I don’t think I was really ready to do the work. I’ve signed up for other online courses at the same time and this one is usually last on my list to work on. Not because I don’t like the content, but because it takes some deep thinking that can’t just be “checked off” my list. That isn’t a bad thing, but I think it means this course may not be for everyone unless they are ready to take that time and the topic is important to them at that moment.
Anyone else taking the course, or a Brené Brown fan? We’d love to hear what you think about her work!