Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

I tell you what, I’m on a role for 2019 and book reading!  I just finished my second book, Dare to Lead by Brene Brown.

I have written a couple of books myself.  A few months ago, I found a review online of my first book that upset me.  The reviewer said very nice things about my book and my writing, but then went on to say that I was a misinformed mother, because she just knew that my son didn’t have autism…

This really upset me because, one, what does this stranger know?!  She has never met my child.  I thought, “Oh, so you know more than every professional who has ever worked with him, huh?!”  I fumed about it for a few days, and I mentioned it to a friend.  She recommended Dare to Lead and sent me some quotes that made me think, “Okay, I need to read this book!”

I’ll admit, it’s a pretty deep book and I found myself skimming some of the sections rather than *really* digging in and reading (Sorry, Brene!).  I did, however, get some good information from it. 

I knew there was something different about Colin since he was six months old.  As he got older, it became more obvious, and we got his official autism diagnosis at the age of three.  He is almost five, and for the last four years, I’ve worried about him.  I’ve worried about how the world sees him, how they’ll treat him.  I’ve worried about how much progress he will make and worried about whether or not he will ever talk or live semi-independently.   

Over the last year, I’ve turned my worry into action.  If I want change to happen for him, I can’t just sit back and wait for it to happen – I need to instigate that change.  That’s why I started my blog, why I wrote books, why I took the position as the state director of the Mountaineer Autism Project, that’s why I share our story. 

…But putting yourself out there isn’t easy.  In doing so, I subject myself (and my family) to judgement and scrutiny.  If you know me personally, you know that I’m a perfectionist.  I only do things that I know I’m going to succeed at doing.  I’m a lot like Ricky Bobby and subscribe to the adage, “If you’re not first, you’re last!” 

So recently I’ve been putting the pressure on myself.  I want to do things for Colin.  I want to make the world a more welcoming and accepting place for all on the spectrum.  Brene (after reading her book, I feel like we are on a first name basis) talks about being in the arena, in the thick of whatever it is that you’re doing.  It isn’t easy.  You will fail.  People will be watching, judging.  The important thing to remember is this though – the people who are judging aren’t the ones doing.  The ones who are doing are right there in the arena with you.  They want to see this work just as much as you do – those are the people that you need to listen to. 

Creating change isn’t easy.  Brene had some great quotes that I wanted to share because I think are applicable to all of us at one time or another: 

Courage is contagious.

Daring leaders who live into their values are never silent about hard things.

Integrity is choosing courage over comfort.

So in 2019, I hope that I have the courage to do what is right, even if it isn’t easy.  I will speak up to create change where change needs to happen - and I hope you'll join me!


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