The Gifts Of Imperfection

by Brené Brown

Troy Shu
Troy Shu
Updated at: March 04, 2024
The Gifts Of Imperfection
The Gifts Of Imperfection

What are the big ideas? 1. Embracing Vulnerability and Imperfection as Gifts: The book emphasizes the importance of embracing vulnerability and imperfection as tool

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What are the big ideas?

  1. Embracing Vulnerability and Imperfection as Gifts: The book emphasizes the importance of embracing vulnerability and imperfection as tools for growth rather than weaknesses or flaws. It suggests that practicing compassion towards ourselves and others, setting boundaries, and developing self-care are essential aspects of cultivating a Wholehearted life. This approach is unique in its emphasis on the transformative power of imperfections and vulnerabilities.
  2. The Role of Shame in Preventing Growth: The book explores the impact of shame on our lives and relationships, offering strategies for developing shame resilience through naming it, talking about it, owning our story, and telling the story. This focus on understanding the role of shame is distinctive as many self-help books do not explicitly address this emotion and its impact on personal growth.
  3. The Power of Authenticity and Courage in Daily Life: The book emphasizes the importance of authenticity in living a Wholehearted life, encouraging individuals to make conscious choices and take deliberate actions that align with their values and beliefs. It also highlights the role of courage in embracing vulnerability and imperfections and cultivating self-compassion and compassion for others.
  4. Cultivating Connection through Technology and Relationships: The book acknowledges the impact of technology on our ability to connect with others authentically while emphasizing the importance of real-life relationships. It offers unique insights into the role of technology as an imposter for true connection, suggesting that we must be intentional about cultivating meaningful connections through self-acceptance, setting boundaries, and practicing compassion and empathy.
  5. The Importance of Self-Compassion in Overcoming Perfectionism: The book explores the interconnectedness of perfectionism and shame, offering practical strategies for developing self-compassion as a means to overcome perfectionism and embrace imperfections. This approach is distinctive in its focus on understanding the root causes of perfectionistic tendencies and providing actionable steps to cultivate self-compassion and self-forgiveness.




  • Recognizing personal patterns and trends is crucial for self-awareness.
  • Our minds naturally seek out patterns and assign meaning to them.
  • Living a Wholehearted life involves embracing vulnerability and imperfection, as well as developing knowledge and claiming power.
  • Love and self-acceptance are essential components of living a Wholehearted life.
  • Parenting success is influenced by the state of our own emotional and spiritual growth.
  • Midlife can be a time of great personal growth and transformation, involving letting go of preconceived notions of self and embracing authenticity.
  • The journey to living a Wholehearted life requires both heart work (emotional and spiritual growth) and head work (knowledge and understanding).
  • Embracing vulnerability and imperfection, setting boundaries, and practicing self-care are essential aspects of cultivating a Wholehearted life.


“People may call what happens at midlife “a crisis,” but it’s not. It’s an unraveling—a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you’re “supposed” to live. The unraveling is a time when you are challenged by the universe to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are.”

“The universe is not short on wake-up calls. We’re just quick to hit the snooze button.”

Introduction: Wholehearted Living


  • Wholehearted living is a process of engaging in life from a place of worthiness through daily practices of courage, compassion, and connection.
  • Courage, compassion, and connection are tools for developing worthiness and can be cultivated despite imperfections.
  • Love, belonging, and worthiness are essential components of Wholehearted living and require self-acceptance and boundary-setting.
  • Obstacles to living and loving with our whole hearts include fear, shame, and perfectionism, but effective strategies and resilience can be developed.
  • Wholehearted living involves deliberate and inspired choices and actions, rather than relying on the "dig-deep" button of pushing through exhaustion.


“Wholehearted living is about engaging with our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think, ‘No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.’ It’s going to bed at night thinking, ‘Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”

“We can talk about courage and love and compassion until we sound like a greeting card store, but unless we’re willing to have an honest conversation about what gets in the way of putting these into practice in our daily lives, we will never change. Never, ever.”

“If we can’t stand up to the never good enough and who do you think you are? we can’t move forward.”

Courage, Compassion, and Connection: The Gifts of Imperfection


  • The heart of compassion is acceptance.
  • Compassion practice involves learning to relax and move towards what scares us.
  • Compassion is a relationship between equals.
  • Setting boundaries and holding people accountable is essential for compassion practice.
  • Accountability without consequences is toxic.
  • Connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued.
  • We are wired for connection and our relationships shape our biology.
  • Technology can be an imposter for true connection.
  • Receiving help with an open heart is essential for giving help with an open heart.
  • The Wholehearted journey requires consciousness and choice.


“Courage is like—it’s a habitus, a habit, a virtue: You get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.”

“Shame hates it when we reach out and tell our story. It hates having words wrapped around it- it can't survive being shared. Shame loves secrecy. When we bury our story, the shame metastasizes.”

“If we share our shame story with the wrong person, they can easily become one more piece of flying debris in an already dangerous storm.”

“Courage originally meant "To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart.”

“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice.”

“One of the greatest barriers to connection is the cultural importance we place on "going it alone." Somehow we've come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we're very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It's as if we've divided the world into "those who offer help" and "those who need help." The truth is that we are both.”

“Until we can receive with an open heart, we're never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”

Exploring the Power of Love, Belonging, and Being Enough


  • Love and belonging are essential human experiences.
  • Believing in one's worthiness is crucial for experiencing deep love and belonging.
  • Letting go of the belief that worthiness has prerequisites is essential for owning our story and claiming our worthiness.
  • Love and belonging are uncertain, but they belong together.
  • We cultivate love by allowing ourselves to be seen and known, and by treating ourselves with respect and kindness.
  • Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us, but trying to fit in and seek approval are often barriers to true belonging.
  • Practicing self-love and self-acceptance is not optional; it's a priority for loving others and living wholeheartedly.


“Worthiness doesn't have prerequisites.”

“Here's what is truly at the heart of wholeheartedness: Worthy now. Not if, not when, we're worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is.”

“Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”

“Of this, I am actually certain. After collecting thousands of stories, I’m willing to call this a fact: A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all women, men, and children. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.”

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.”

“To become fully human means learning to turn my gratitude for being alive into some concrete common good. It means growing gentler toward human weakness. It means practicing forgiveness of my and everyone else's hourly failures to live up to divine standards. It means learning to forget myself on a regular basis in order to attend to the other selves in my vicinity. It means living so that "I'm only human" does not become an excuse for anything. It means receiving the human condition as blessing and not curse, in all its achingly frail and redemptive reality.”

The Things That Get in the Way


  • Shame is an emotion that often goes unnamed and unexplored. It's important to recognize our physical symptoms of shame to respond intentionally.
  • The four elements of shame resilience: name it, talk about it, own your story, tell the story.
  • When dealing with shame, some people move away by withdrawing or hiding, some move toward by seeking approval and appeasing others, and some move against by using shame to attack others.
  • Develop an awareness of personal shame symptoms and take time to respond intentionally instead of reacting in harmful ways.
  • Cultivate relationships with individuals who can sit with our shame stories and hold space for us.
  • Embrace worthiness and believe that you are worthy, regardless of external validation or criticism.


“In Jungian circles, shame is often referred to as the swampland of the soul. I’m not suggesting that we wade out into the swamp and set up camp. I’ve done that and I can tell you that the swampland of the soul is an important place to visit, but you would not want to live there. What I’m proposing is that we learn how to wade through it. We need to see that standing on the shore and catastrophisizing about what could happen if we talked honestly about our fears is actually more painful than grabbing the hand of a trusted companion and crossing the swamp. And, most important, we need to learn why constantly trying to maintain our footing on the shifting shore as we gaze across to the other side of the swamp—where our worthiness waits for us—is much harder work than trudging across.”

“If we can find someone who has earned the right to hear our story, we need to tell it. Shame loses power when it is spoken. In this way, we need to cultivate our story to let go of shame, and we need to develop shame resilience in order to cultivate our story.”

“Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: “Who has earned the right to hear my story?” If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky.”

Guidepost #1 - Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think


  • Authenticity is a conscious choice and daily practice, not an inherent quality.
  • Choosing authenticity requires courage, vulnerability, and embracing imperfections.
  • Cultivate compassion for self and others to foster authentic connections.
  • Wholehearted living and loving are essential parts of authenticity, even during struggles.
  • Mindfully practicing authenticity invites grace, joy, and gratitude into our lives.
  • Embrace the audacity of authenticity and expect pushback from society and relationships.
  • Avoid attacking or criticizing others when they're taking risks with their authenticity.
  • Courage is expressing vulnerability to connect with others, while staying open to criticism.
  • The risk of hiding yourself and your gifts can lead to anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions.
  • Be true to yourself as the best gift you can give to those you love.
  • Get deliberate with intentions in vulnerable situations by standing on sacred ground.
  • Seek inspiration from others who share their work and opinions openly.
  • Make authenticity your priority when faced with vulnerability.


“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are. Choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable; exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle; and nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe that we are enough. Authenticity demands Wholehearted living and loving—even when it’s hard, even when we’re wrestling with the shame and fear of not being good enough, and especially when the joy is so intense that we’re afraid to let ourselves feel it. Mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul-searching struggles is how we invite grace, joy, and gratitude into our lives.”

“E.E Cummings wrote, "To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight- and never stop fighting.”

“Cruelty is easy, cheap and rampant.”

“Cruelty is cheap, easy, and rampant. It’s also chicken-shit. Especially when you attack and criticize anonymously—like technology allows so many people to do these days.”

“Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.”

“When I let go of trying to be everything to everyone, I had much more time, attention, love, and connection for the important people in my life.”

“Whenever I'm faced with a vulnerable situation, I get deliberate with my intentions by repeating this to myself: "Don't shrink. Don't puff up. stand your sacred ground." Saying this little mantra helps me remember not to get too small so other people are comfortable and not throw up my armor as a way to protect myself.”

Guidepost #2 - Cultivating Self-Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism


  • Perfectionism and shame are interconnected: Shame is the birthplace of perfectionism.
  • Healthy striving is self-focused, while perfectionism is other-focused.
  • Perfectionism hampers success and can lead to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life-paralysis.
  • To overcome perfectionism, acknowledge vulnerabilities, develop shame resilience, and practice self-compassion.
  • Self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness are the three elements of self-compassion.
  • Perfectionism touches everyone around us and can be passed down to future generations.
  • The Self-Compassion Scale is a tool to measure and improve self-compassion.
  • "There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen, reminder of the beauty of imperfections.


“Perfectionism is not the same thing has striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”

“Healthy striving is self-focused: How can I improve? Perfectionism is other-focused: What will they think? Perfectionism is a hustle.”

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it's often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”

“Perfectionism is a self destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.”

“Perfectionism is self destructive simply because there's no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal.”

“We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion for it at the same time.”

Guidepost #3 - Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness


  • Practicing spirituality brings perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives, which is essential for resilience.
  • Numbing and taking the edge off vulnerability, pain, and discomfort is a common human response to adversity.
  • Addiction can be described as chronically and compulsively numbing and taking the edge off of feelings.
  • We cannot selectively numb emotions; when we numb painful emotions, we also numb positive emotions.
  • Numbing behaviors include substances (alcohol, drugs), food, sex, relationships, money, work, caretaking, chaos, shopping, planning, perfectionism, constant change, and the Internet.
  • We all numb and take the edge off, but addiction is about engaging in these behaviors compulsively and chronically.
  • Vulnerability and uncertainty are uncomfortable, but they are also the birthplace of joy, creativity, authenticity, and love.
  • Spirituality is a necessary component for resilience because feelings of hopelessness, fear, blame, pain, discomfort, vulnerability, and disconnection sabotage resilience.
  • The heart of spirituality is connection; when we believe in that inextricable connection, we don’t feel alone.


“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning and purpose to our lives.”

“Hope is not an emotion; it's a way of thinking or a cognitive process.”

“Hope is really a thought.”

“The new cultural belief that everything should be fun, fast, and easy is inconsistent with hopeful thinking. It also sets us up for hopelessness. When we experience something that is difficult and requires significant time and effort, we are quick to think, This is supposed to be easy; it’s not worth the effort, or, This should be easier: it’s only hard and slow because I’m not good at it. Hopeful self-talk sounds more like, This is tough, but I can do it.”

“Shame works like the zoom lens on a camera. When we are feeling shame, the camera is zoomed in tight and all we see is our flawed selves, alone and struggling.(page 68)”

“Ads sell a great deal more than products. They sell values, images, and concepts of success and worth.”

“We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”

“The most powerful emotions that we experience have very sharp points, like the tip of a thorn. When they prick us, they cause discomfort and even pain. Just the anticipation or fear of these feelings can trigger intolerable vulnerability in us. We know it’s coming. For many of us, our first response to vulnerability and pain of these sharp points is not to lean into the discomfort and feel our way through but rather to make it go away. We do that by numbing and taking the edge off the pain with whatever provides the quickest relief. We can anesthetize with a whole bunch of stuff, including alcohol, drugs, food, sex, relationships, money, work, caretaking, gambling, staying busy, affairs, chaos, shopping, planning, perfectionism, constant change, and the Internet.”

“To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But, I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude and grace.”

“Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

Guidepost #4 - Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark


  • Gratitude is a spiritual practice that requires active effort and regular practice, not just an attitude or way of thinking.
  • Joy and happiness are different experiences; joy is tied to spirit and gratitude, while happiness is connected to external circumstances and can be fleeting.
  • Fear and anxiety can prevent us from fully embracing joy and gratitude, leading to scarcity and a focus on what we don't have.
  • Scarcity can manifest in various ways, including fear of loss, fear of vulnerability, and a belief that we don't have enough of something.
  • Practicing gratitude and allowing ourselves to feel joy can help us sustain during difficult times and bring more meaning to our lives.
  • Choosing a mindset of sufficiency instead of scarcity can help us appreciate the abundance in our lives and find joy in ordinary moments.
  • Ordinary moments and experiences can be some of the most precious and meaningful in our lives, especially during times of loss or trauma.
  • Acknowledging fear and transforming it into gratitude can increase our capacity for joy and help us live more wholeheartedly.
  • Inspiration and creativity can help us cultivate a practice of gratitude and find joy in everyday moments.


“Now I understand that in order to feel a true sense of belonging, I need to bring the real me to the table and that I can only do that if I’m practicing self-love. For years I thought it was the other way around: I’ll do whatever it takes to fit in, I’ll feel accepted, and that will make me like myself better. Just typing those words and thinking about how many years I spent living that way makes me weary. No wonder I was tired for so long!”

“One of the most profound changes in my life happened when I got my head around the relationship between gratitude and joy. I always thought that joyful people were grateful people. I mean, why wouldn’t they be? They have all of that goodness to be grateful for. But after spending countless hours collecting stories about joy and gratitude, three powerful patterns emerged: Without exception, every person I interviewed who described living a joyful life or who described themselves as joyful, actively practiced gratitude and attributed their joyfulness to their gratitude practice. Both joy and gratitude were described as spiritual practices that were bound to a belief in human interconnectedness and a power greater than us. People were quick to point out the differences between happiness and joy as the difference between a human emotion that’s connected to circumstances and a spiritual way of engaging with the world that’s connected to practicing gratitude.”

“The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It's our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.”

“We're a nation hungry for more joy: Because we're starving from a lack of gratitude.”

“Sufficiency isn't two steps up from poverty or one step short of abundance. It isn't a measure of barely enough or more than enough. Sufficiency isn't an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough.”

Guidepost #5 - Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty


  • Intuition is not independent of reasoning; it's a rapid-fire associating process in the brain.
  • Intuition can whisper or shout, guiding us to follow instincts or seek more information.
  • Our need for certainty silences our intuitive voice.
  • Trusting our intuition doesn't mean having all the answers; it allows us to hold space for uncertainty and rely on various ways of knowing.
  • Faith and reason are not enemies, but rather complementary ways of understanding the world.
  • Faith is a place of mystery where we embrace uncertainty and let go of fear.
  • Our fear of uncertainty and need to be right create conflict between faith and reason.
  • Choosing certainty over faith leads to extremism and fundamentalism.
  • Embrace Anne Lamott's quote, "The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty," for inspiration when feeling uncertain.


“Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.”

Guidepost #6 - Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison


  • Creativity is a significant part of childhood memories, particularly from the years spent in New Orleans.
  • Memories of creating hold deep meaning and texture.
  • Memories of creating end around age eight or nine when the family moved from New Orleans to Houston.
  • In Houston, houses were similar and fancy, but schools were different.
  • The move to Houston marked a shift towards conformity and competition, with creativity taking a back seat.
  • Comparison is a paradox that leads to unhappiness and makes it difficult to make time for important things like creativity.
  • Creativity is a unique contribution to the world and cannot be compared.
  • Prioritize creating by carving out time each week, finding inspiration from a community of like-minded people, and taking risks to try new things.


“If we want to make meaning, we need to make art. Cook, write, draw, doodle, paint, scrapbook, take pictures, collage, knit, rebuild an engine, sculpt, dance, decorate, act, sing—it doesn’t matter. As long as we’re creating, we’re cultivating meaning.”

Guidepost #7 - Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth


  • Play is a critical component of Wholehearted living.
  • People who live Wholehearted lives engage in playful behaviors and activities.
  • Researching the concept of play led the author to discover its importance for brain development, empathy, social navigation, creativity, and innovation.
  • Play is essential for our health and functioning as much as rest.
  • Seven properties of play include it being apparently purposeless and fun.
  • In today's culture, we often view play as a waste of time or an unnecessary distraction from work.
  • However, neglecting play can lead to depression, stress, and exhaustion.
  • Embracing play and rest is essential for living a Wholehearted life.
  • Creating a list of "ingredients for joy and meaning" can help prioritize play and rest in your life.


“If we want to live a Wholehearted life, we have to become intentional about cultivating sleep and play, and about letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth.”

Guidepost #8 - Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle


  • Developing awareness about Wholehearted living can bring on new physical symptoms, such as dizziness and anxiety, to help individuals embrace this new way of living.
  • Calm is creating perspective and mindfulness while managing emotional reactivity, which can be practiced through being slow to respond, practicing non-reactive responses, identifying triggers, and breathing exercises.
  • Stillness is opening up an emotionally clutter-free space by creating a clearing, which can help individuals confront fears and gain clarity about their lives.
  • Overcoming resistance to stillness practices like meditation and quiet reflection requires letting go of assumptions about what stillness looks like and finding a personal way to create a clearing.
  • Cultivating calm and stillness in daily life through exercise, reducing caffeine intake, and practicing mindfulness can lead to improved energy levels and reduced anxiety.
  • Understanding patterned responses to anxiety, such as overfunctioning or underfunctioning, can help individuals change their behaviors and embrace vulnerabilities or amplify strengths.
  • Experimenting with different forms of still and quiet practices is essential in finding what works best for each individual.


“Stillness is not about focusing on nothingness; it’s about creating a clearing. It’s opening up an emotionally clutter-free space and allowing ourselves to feel and think and dream and question.”

Guidepost #9 - Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self-Doubt and “Supposed To”


  • Cultivating and sharing your gifts and talents leads to a sense of meaning and purpose in life.
  • Neglecting or squandering your gifts brings emotional and physical distress.
  • Spiritual connection comes from using your gifts and talents to create meaningful work.
  • Meaningful work requires commitment, even if it doesn't always pay the bills.
  • Meaning is unique to each individual and not defined by culture or society.
  • Self-doubt can prevent you from discovering and sharing your gifts, undermining faith and connection with God.
  • "Supposed to" messages from gremlins can hinder the process of finding meaningful work, but acknowledging them gives you power.
  • Defining yourself by a single career or job title can limit expressing multiple passions, talents, and interests.
  • Embrace multiple careers or passions (slash careers) to fully integrate and express various aspects of who you are.
  • Overcome self-doubt by believing you're enough and letting go of societal expectations.
  • Find inspiration from resources such as Marci Alboher's "One Person/Multiple Careers" and Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers."
  • Reflect on what brings meaning to your life, and make decisions based on that.

Guidepost #10 - Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and “Always in Control”


  • Laughter, song, and dance create emotional and spiritual connection, reminding us that we are not alone.
  • Laughter is a form of communing and healing; it embodies relief and connection when we share our stories with others.
  • Song has the power to move us emotionally and offer connection; it reaches out and offers us comfort, celebration, inspiration, or healing.
  • Dance is in our DNA and a strong pull toward rhythm and movement; it offers joy and pleasure, even if not always gracefully or with the beat.
  • Embrace vulnerability through laughter, song, and dance to live a more authentic life.
  • Overcome fear of being perceived as awkward, goofy, silly, spastic, uncool, out of control, immature, or foolish by allowing self-expression.
  • Be open to new experiences and resist the urge to hustle for worthiness by being cool and in control.
  • Let yourself be seen and heard through laughter, song, and dance to build deeper connections with others.

Final Thoughts


  • Meaningful change is a process that can be uncomfortable and risky
  • Cultivate worthiness and engage in life from a place of courage, compassion, and connection
  • Letting go of fear of judgment and embracing imperfections is a risk worth taking
  • Wholehearted living is about accepting bravery, vulnerability, and imperfection
  • Embrace the gifts of imperfection: courage, compassion, and connection
  • Choosing authenticity and worthiness is an act of resistance and defiance
  • Celebrate joyful moments despite fearing disaster
  • Transformation can be confusing, scary, and exciting all at once.


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