Sunday, May 24, 2015

Book #21: Alive Again

Last Saturday, I stopped at Costco to buy a cake for Roger and Jack's birthday. As I walked to the bakery at the back of the store, I saw an old friend from our bookstore days who had written a book and had gotten into some small-scale publishing. He was there with his new author Scott Mitchell, former NFL quarterback and Biggest Loser contestant, and a table full of Scott's books.

After I picked up the cake, I stopped to chat with them and discovered that Scott grew up in our town and is building a house a few blocks away from where we live. (I later discovered that I know his best friend from childhood and we actually have 24 mutual friends on Facebook. Who knew?)

So, of course, I had to buy the book.

I must say, though, it was slightly awkward standing there holding a nearly 10-pound cake (including two pounds of chocolate mousse!) while a Biggest Loser contestant signed it for me.

On Monday morning during one of my classes at the jail, we talked about how personal growth and connection requires vulnerability--being willing to fail and willing to be seen for who we really are. I shared some ideas from Carol Dweck's Mindset and showed them Brené Brown's TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability.

Then later that day and less than ten pages into Alive Again, I read this: "Initially I didn't want to go on the show. I felt so guarded and defeated in life. I thought, 'There's no way I'm going to be on this show and expose myself to vulnerability.' I just didn't think I was emotionally up to it. . . . I have to admit it was a surprise when I jumped in with both feet, opened up and shared my feelings. . . . I found that my vulnerability and willingness to share my feelings was what resonated with most people. They wanted to hear that I was a real person with real problems."

The entire emotional journey Scott goes on to tell in his book is full of evidence that Brené Brown is onto something when she says vulnerability is "the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love."

I'm glad Scott discovered that. 

I'm working on discovering that too. Being courageously vulnerable. It's sure not easy and it'll be a life-long process, but when I do risk it, I am always rewarded in unexpected and often beautiful ways.


kalanicut said...

Thanks for sharing this Margy! Right now I am very conscious about this in the workplace. I think the days of "portray no vulnerability" are over but finding the right tone to be vulnerable and still be a leader and seen as successful is not a clear and easy path. Great life lessons.

Megan Goates said...

I think that's what we all want---to know other people are real and struggle like us. It's what I want. It leads to greater empathy.