Emerging Women Recap

Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing well ever do.

Brené Brown, Rising Strong

cheering--woman-open-arms-at-mountain-peak-000039082876_Large-w600I just got back from the Emerging Women Live Conference in San Francisco. I have been to this conference for the past three years now.  Each year, one of my favorite authors, Brené Brown, has been a speaker.

When I attended the first EWLive in Boulder in 2013, I had read Brené’s book “Gifts of Imperfection.”  I was still in my corporate job where I felt stuck, numb, and pretty trapped in my life.  I knew I had to take back responsibility for my own life and my career (more posts on this to come).

My second year attending, Brené was talking about her book “Daring Greatly”, which I had also read.  And daring greatly I was.  I can look back and laugh now over my concern of “being the only one experiencing major change, of feeling messy, guilt and shame.”  I had taken a leave of absence from work and felt guilt and shame for wondering “Is this all I am meant to do?” even though my job and life looked good on paper.  Yet meeting women at Emerging Women year after year taught me just how powerful it is when we actually face our fears, silence our inner critics…when we dare to step out and love ourselves through the “process.”

This year, Brené talked about her book, “Rising Strong.”  It actually felt AMAZING to attend as my own boss, to pass out my business cards and gift each attendee a journal from my coaching practice. But rest assured, I had to face a lot of fear to reach this point.

Facing my imperfectionand doing the work

The first time I went to Emerging Women, I had been working for a major pharmaceutical company and I had been there nearly twenty years in a variety of corporate support functions and leadership. Even though I had this corporate stability and had been working in leadership all these years, SOMETHING was missing. The work wasn’t truly fulfilling for me, and it left me feeling overworked and empty most of the time.

Can you recall a time where you felt empty, stuck or trapped in a job, relationship, or commitment that you knew wasn’t for you and your true calling?  You wake up every weekday, dreading the next 8-10 hours of your life.  You can’t wait until 6:00PM and you find yourself living for Saturdays.  It’s what I like to call “dying at your desk” and yet it’s scary to face the truth of your circumstances for fear of the unknown.  What if I decide to leave and it makes things worse…

Daring Greatly

Something about the authors and the speakers at Emerging Women had always inspired (and reminded) me that I would better off daring to live for my true fulfillment than letting my life run on autopilot – even if many things are unknown at the time, and even if I might fail. 

That very first year, Emerging Women Live 2013, was the first time I paid several thousand dollars for and attended a conference 100% for myself!  Talk about “daring greatly”.  That was huge for me. To show up somewhere, not knowing what to expect.  I didn’t know a soul and I really thought it was mostly going to be established entrepreneurs I’d meet.  But as it turned out, there were lots of women like me, women with corporate careers who weren’t truly fulfilled by what they were doing, women who had a big dreams or wanted to have a bigger impact in the world with their work but were scared to step into a new arena for fear of the unknown.

Rising Strong

Running-up-the-stairs-wil-loads-of-copy-space-000007647801_Large-w600What I want to share with you from Emerging Women Live 2015 are a few key takeaways from Brené’s research and writings, including her most recent book “Rising Strong.”

In my capacity now as a coach, I read SO MUCH that sometimes I forget things I love about the books I’ve read.  Reading has proven to be so important for me on this journey of greater personal discovery and I will be providing several reading lists in the weeks and months to come for you too.

My Key Takeaways

  1. We all yearn to live a wholehearted life, a life where we feel worthy of love and belonging.
  2. Vulnerability, which is the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome, is the only path to the love, belonging and joy that we all seek.
  3. It takes courage to show up and be seen because it means risking failure, hurt, shame, and possibly even heartbreak.
  4. But it’s worth it! Hiding out, pretending, and armoring up against vulnerability is killing us:  killing our spirits, our hopes, our potential, our creativity, our ability to lead, our love, our faith, and our joy.
  5. When we are brave enough, often enough to show up and be seen, we’re going to fall, or fail, or be disappointed.
  6. When we fall, it hurts. And we can live in the hurt, or we can dare to keep being brave and feel our way back up.
  7. If we can learn how to feel our way through these experiences and own our stories of struggle, we can write our own brave endings. We can move from being “facedown” in the arena of life to “rising strong”

If you haven’t read “Rising Strong” yet, I highly encourage it, especially to learn about the rising strong process of the reckoning, the rumble, and the revolution.  I always tell my clients that reading gives you a broader perspective. It helps you feel like you’re not alone especially if friends, family or employers don’t understand your challenges and decisions.  Reading books like “Rising Strong” give you the tools to “feel” what’s happening in your life versus being numb to it, and learn how to move through it.

If you’ve been thinking to yourself lately that your talents are underutilized, or that something is off, I want to encourage you to get into the arena.  The easiest way to do that is to start with a book.  Read Brené Brown’s work and allow yourself to explore, to question, to want for more.

The last thing I want for you or anyone is to say to yourself after ten or twenty years is, “What the hell have I being doing with my life all this time?”  Reading books helps you start the process of self-examination.

The second thing you can do is to hire a coach. You don’t have to face your fears and inner critics in the arena alone. A coach can help you examine what’s working in your life and help you commit to actions that will improve what isn’t.

In fact, I will be hosting a free online event on November 18th at 8:00 pm Eastern. Please save the date and be on the lookout for more details. I would love nothing more than to help you explore your reckoning, your rumble and your revolution.

iStock_000008624943_Large-w600The last thing you can do is to seek your truth.  To honor your heart and your happiness, even if everything in your life looks good on paper.  If you feel off, chances are something IS off and although it can be scary to start the process of fixing things, getting into the arena is the bravest thing you’ll ever do to honor your true calling.

To close this post, I’ll leave you with one last Brené Brown quote, another gem from “Rising Strong.”


When we deny our stories, they define us.  When we own our stories, we get to write the ending.” 

Brené Brown, Rising Strong

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