35 Quotes from Dare to Lead book by Brené Brown



Hello friends. This post is a collection of quotes from the book - Dare to Lead by Brené Brown.

Dare to Lead is a book for anyone who wants to step up and into brave leadership.

Introduction Quotes

Effective speaking is about the unpredictable and uncontrollable art of connection. Even though it's just me onstage and possibly ten thousand people sitting in folding chairs in a convention center, I try to look into as many pairs of eyes as I can. - Dare to Lead, A Note from Brené

The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it's about the courage to show up when you can't predict or control the outcome. - Dare to Lead, A Note from Brené

If you're going to dare greatly, you're going to get your ass kicked at some point. If you choose courage, you will absolutely know failure, disappointment, setback, even heartbreak. That's why we call it courage. That's why it's so rare. - Dare to Lead, A Note from Brené

You can't get to courage without rumbling with vulnerability. Embrace the suck. - Dare to Lead, Introduction

I define a leader as anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential. - Dare to Lead, Introduction

The way to move information from your head to your heart is through your hands. - Dare to Lead, Introduction

As much time as I spend trying to understand the way, I spend ten times as much researching what gets in the way. - Dare to Lead, Introduction

When people are afraid of being put down or ridiculed for trying something and failing, or even for putting forward a radical new idea, the best you can expect is status quo and groupthink. - Dare to Lead, Introduction

Choosing our own comfort over hard conversations is the epitome of privilege, and it corrodes trust and moves us away from meaningful and lasting change. - Dare to Lead, Introduction

Courage is contagious. To scale daring leadership and build courage in teams and organizations, we have to cultivate a culture in which brave work, tough conversations, and whole hearts are the expectation, and armor is not necessary or rewarded. - Dare to Lead, Introduction

Part 1 Quotes

If you're criticizing from a place where you're not also putting yourself on the line, I'm not interested in what you have to say. - Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 1

We are hardwired for connection. From our mirror neurons to language, we are a social species. In the absence of authentic connection, we suffer. And by authentic I mean the kind of connection that doesn’t require hustling for acceptance and changing who we are to fit in. - Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 1

Trust is the stacking and layering of small moments and reciprocal vulnerability over time. Trust and vulnerability grow together, and to betray one is to destroy both. - Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 1

To feel is to be vulnerable. Believing that vulnerability is weakness is believing that feeling is weakness. And, like it or not, we are emotional beings. What most of us fail to understand [...] is that vulnerability is the cradle of the emotions and experiences that we crave. Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, and joy. - Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 1

In my research and in my life, I've found absolutely no benefit to pushing through a hard conversation unless there's an urgent, time-sensitive issue at hand. I've never regretted taking a short break or circling back after a few hours of thinking time. I have, however, regretted many instances where I pushed through to get it over and done with. Those self-serving instincts end up costing way more time than a short break. - Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 2

Leaders must either invest a reasonable amount of time attending to fears and feelings, or squander an unreasonable amount of time trying to manage ineffective and unproductive behavior. - Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 2

When we become disembodied from our emotions to the point that we literally don't recognize which physical feelings are connected to which emotional feelings, we don't gain control, we lose it. - Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 3

The hopeful news is that there are some tasks that humans will always be able to do better than machines if we are willing to take off our armor and leverage our greatest and most unique asset - the human heart. Those of us who are willing to rumble with vulnerability, live into our values, build trust, and learn to reset will not be threatened by the rise of the machines, because we will be part of the rise of daring leaders. - Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 3

We cannot plan for painful moments - we know this for a fact, because people who have been forced to live through those moments tell us that there is no amount of catastrophizing or planning for disaster that prepares you for them. The collateral damage of this instinct is that we squander the joy we need to build up an emotional reserve, the joy that allows us to build up resilience for when tragic things do happen. - Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 3

Embodying and practicing gratitude changes everything. It is not a personal construct, it's a human construct - a unifying part of our existence. - Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 3

Cynicism and sarcasm are first cousins who hang out in the cheap seats. But don't underestimate them - they often leave a trail of hurt feelings, anger, confusion, and resentment in their wake. I've seen them bring down relationships, teams, and cultures when modeled by people at the highest levels and/or left unchecked. - Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 3

If we want to live a life of meaning and contribution, we have to become intentional about cultivating sleep and play. We have to let go of exhaustion, busyness, and productivity as status symbols and measures of self-worth. - Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 3

Empathy isn't about fixing, it's the brave choice to be with someone in their darkness - not to race to turn on the light so we feel better. - Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 4

One of the signature mistakes with empathy is that we believe we can take our lenses off and look through the lenses of someone else. We can't. Our lenses are soldered to who we are. What we can do, however, is honor people's perspectives as truth even when they're different from ours. - Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 4

Grounded confidence is the messy process of learning and unlearning, practicing and failing, and surviving a few misses. This brand of confidence is not blustery arrogance or posturing or built on bullshit; it's real, solid, and built on self-awareness and practice. - Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 5

Part 2 & 3 Quotes

If we do not have clarity of values, if we don't have anywhere else to look or focus, if we don't have that light up above to remind you why we're there, the cynics and the critics can bring us to our knees. - Dare to Lead, Part 2

Our values should be so crystallized in our minds, so infallible, so precise and clear and unassailable, that they don't feel like a choice - they are simply a definition of who we are in our lives. In those hard moments, we know that we are going to pick what's right, right now, over what is easy. - Dare to Lead, Part 2

A brave leader is not someone who is armed with all the answers. A brave leader is not someone who can facilitate a flawless discussion on hard topics. A brave leader is someone who says I see you. I hear you. I don't have all the answers, but I'm going to keep listening and asking questions. We all have the capacity to do that. - Dare to Lead, Part 2

Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; it's choosing what's right over what's fun, fast, or easy; and it's practicing your values, not just professing them. - Dare to Lead, Part 3

Part 4 Quotes

When we have the courage to walk into our story and own it, we get to write the ending. And when we don't own our stories of failure, setbacks, and hurt - they own us. - Dare to Lead, Part 4

Anxiety is one of the most contagious emotions that we experience. This explains why anxiety can so easily become a function of groups, not individuals. It's too contagious to stay contained in one person. We've all had the experience of one person sending a group into a tailspin. - Dare to Lead, Part 4

When we own a story and the emotion that fuels it, we get to simultaneously acknowledge that something was hard while taking control of how that hard thing is going to end. We change the narrative. When we deny a story and when we pretend we don't make up stories, the story owns us. It drives our behavior, and it drives our cognition, and then it drives even more emotions until it completely owns us. - Dare to Lead, Part 4

The level of collective courage in an organization is the absolute best predictor of that organization's ability to be successful in terms of its culture, to develop leaders, and to meet its mission. - Dare to Lead, Part 4

We fail the minute we let someone else define success for us. Like many of you, I spent too many years taking on projects and even positions, just to prove I could do it. I was driven by a definition of success that didn't reflect who I am, what I want, or what brings me joy. It was simply accomplish-acquire-collapse-repeat. There was very little joy, very little meaning, and tons of exhaustion and resentment. - Dare to Lead, Part 4

Choose courage over comfort. Choose whole hearts over armor. And choose the great adventure of being brave and afraid. At the exact same time. - Dare to Lead, Part 4

Cited Quotes

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again ... who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. - Theodore Roosevelt, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Introduction (a note from Brené)

What stands in the way becomes the way. - Marcus Aurelius, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Introduction

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. - C S Lewis, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 1

When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability. - Madeleine L'Engle, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 1

To grow to adulthood as a social species, including humans, is not to become autonomous and solitary, it's to become the one on whom others can depend. Whether we know it or not, our brain and biology have been shaped to favor this outcome. - John Cacioppo, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 1

Seek first to understand, then to be understood. - Stephen Covey, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 1

It's very hard to have ideas. It's very hard to put yourself out there, it's very hard to be vulnerable, but those people who do that are the dreamers, the thinkers, and the creators. They are the magic people of the world. - Amy Poehler, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 1

We are not necessarily thinking machines. We are feeling machines that think. - Antonio Damasio, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 1

Adaptability to change, hard conversations, feedback, problem solving, ethical decision making, recognition, resilience, and all of the other skills that underpin daring leadership are born of vulnerability. To foreclose on vulnerability and our emotional life out of fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living. - Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 1

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek. - Joseph Campbell, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 2

In the past, jobs were about muscles, now they're about brains, but in the future they'll be about the heart. - Minouche Shafik, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 3

We are not here to fit in, be well balanced, or provide exempla for others. We are here to be eccentric, different, perhaps strange, perhaps merely to add our small piece, our little clunky, chunky selves, to the great mosaic of being. As the gods intended, we are here to become more and more ourselves. - Jim Hollis, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 3

It's not what you do; it's why you do it that makes the difference. - Jennifer Louden, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 3

Despair is the belief that tomorrow will be just like today. - Rob Bell, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 3

The opposite of play is not work - the opposite of play is depression. - Stuart Brown, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 3

If people in powerful positions continue to hire and cast only people who look like them, sound like them, come from the same neighborhoods they grew up in, they will never have a greater understanding of experiences different from their own. They will hire the same models, curate the same art, cast the same actors over and over again, and we will all lose. The beauty of social media is it's completely democratic. Everyone has a say. Everyone's voice counts, and everyone has a chance to paint the world from their own perspective. - Beyoncé, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 4

We are the ones we have been waiting for. - June Jordan, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 4

Ultimately, leadership is the ability to thrive in the ambiguity of paradoxes and opposites. - Dheeraj Pandey, CEO, Nutanix, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 5

Curiosity is unruly. It doesn't like rules, or, at least, it assumes that all rules are provisional, subject to the laceration of a smart question nobody has yet thought to ask. It disdains the approved pathways, preferring diversions, unplanned excursions, impulsive left turns. In short, curiosity is deviant. - Ian Leslie, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 5

People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. - Old saying, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 1, Section 5

If you have more than three priorities, you have no priorities. - Jim Collins, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 2

Spirituality is the deep human longing to experience the transcendent in our ordinary life - it's the expectation to experience the extraordinary in the ordinary, the miraculous in the mundane, and the sacred camouflaged in the profane. - Pittman McGehee, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 2

Love is not a victory march. It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah. - Leonard Cohen, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 2

Trust is the one thing that changes everything. It's not a nice-to-have; it's a must-have. Without it, every part of your organization can fall, literally, into disrepair. With trust, all things are possible - most importantly: continuous improvement and sustainable, measurable, tangible results in the marketplace. - Stephen M. R. Covey and Doug R. Conant, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 3

The only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts. The first draft is the child's draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later. - Anne Lamott, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 4

Conspiracy is not limited to the stupid, the ignorant, or the crazy. It is a reflex of the storytelling mind's compulsive need for meaningful experience. - Jonathan Gottschall, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 4

To the conspiratorial mind, shit never just happens. - Jonathan Gottschall, as quoted in Dare to Lead, Part 4



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