You know when someone asks you for a book recommendation, and it’s like the hard drive of your mind has suddenly been wiped clean? This also happens when someone asks me how my weekend has been, but that was me in the past. Now when faced with the question of what is a must-read book, my go-to answer is The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. This book was a gamechanger for shifting my perspective on wholehearted living and for challenging my perfectionism.
Brené Brown is a researcher professor well-known for her research and TED talks on vulnerability, courage, and shame. I know, just reading those words probably made you instinctually lean back. These are areas of ourselves that can be painful to navigate, but Brown has this uncanny ability to bring you in in a witty, relatable way. Her storytelling is a straightforward, honest account of experiences she has gone through in her journey that will have you jumping up and shouting, “Yes, I know exactly what she’s talking about!”
When you engage with life from a place of worthiness and with courage, compassion, and connection, that is wholehearted living. It’s a lifetime process achieved with daily practice. It’s a good thing then that as imperfect human beings, we encounter many opportunities to practice our tools. And in that way, courage, compassion, and connection become – wait for it – the gifts of imperfection.
There are ten guideposts that Brown dives into to achieve wholehearted living, which are:
#1 Cultivating Authenticity – Letting Go of What People Think.
#2 Cultivating Self-Compassion – Letting Go of Perfectionism.
#3 Cultivating a Resilient Spirit – Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness.
#4 Cultivating Gratitude and Joy – Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark.
#5 Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith – Letting Go of the Need for Certainty.
#6 Cultivating Creativity – Letting Go of Comparison.
#7 Cultivating Play and Rest – Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth.
#8 Cultivating Calm and Stillness – Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle.
#9 Cultivating Meaningful Work – Letting Go of Self-Doubt and “Supposed To.”
#10 Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance – Letting Go of Being Cool and “Always in Control.”
Whenever I read a book describing concepts like the ones above, I find myself thinking, how? I understand the what and the why, but now what? That’s the one aspect of this book that I love the most. Every guidepost ends with tangible ways for you to “DIG” deep – get Deliberate, Inspired, and Going. It’s a technique that I didn’t realize would be so effective until I experienced those imperfect moments after reading this book where the DIGging deep tool came to mind and worked.
These tools will not only help you personally but professionally as well. How often have you or someone you know spoken of a business idea you are passionate about, but it doesn’t go beyond the brainstorming stage? More often than not, it’s because there is this desire to wait for perfection within the idea, circumstances, or even yourself. If perfectionism is holding you back from starting your business or taking your career to the next level, this book could be the key that unlocks the door to your potential.
If you’re interested in getting your hands on a copy of The Gifts of Imperfection, you can find it here.
Brown is also currently doing a six-part podcast series on the book on her website.
Want more? Read the ABL book pick for June, Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller.
Written by Harleen Bola