So what is it about her?
Brene is open, vulnerable and funny. She does not sell out and she does not make you wince. Her talks and books invite you to think about your relationship with yourself and other people, and there is never a cheesy upsell at the end.
You were going to tell me what this had to do with coworking.
In the five or more years I have been knocking around coworking freelancing spaces, it is the people who are open, transparent and vulnerable that are best to be around.
It is tempting to write ‘most successful’ in that last sentence, my fear is that you’d misinterpret that as some kind of economic metric or Klout score.
Being in a coworking space and being brave enough to ask for help, admit you don’t know something or find a project too big, too scary and overwhelming does everyone a favour – because often they are going through the same thing.
It is not a psychiatric breakdown, a canyon of incompetence or unprofessionalism – this is a normal work life, actually a normal life.
We get breakdowns and stress when we can’t ask for help, be open and live under threat.
In the 20th Century Education unwittingly established ‘being the best’ and ‘being invincible’ as the way to conduct yourself in life and ‘business’ has built on this idea, ‘lunch is for wimps and always be closing’. In Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts she opens with the suggestion that business hero’s like Dale Carnegie (and I’d add Napoleon Hill to that too) encouraged us in the direction of being open, perfect and outgoing.
It seems to me that even the questions we ask have to be invincible too, you know those questions that are really commands or instructions or a way of looking smart. (Since I stopped doing this I have so much extra time).
One price to pay for being open, perfect and outgoing is the exhausting job of keeping this up all the time when you are a smart and functioning person but neither of these three.
Why would you want to spend the bulk of your time in an environment that wanted you to be someone you are not?
We’ll dive deeper into diversity and coworking in future blogs, but think about it, here there is ‘like minded’ and then there is ‘pretending to be something I am not just to fit in’.
So back to the coworking space and Brene Brown, being vulnerable in your coworking space is like opening a pressure release valve, connecting the dots for people and enabling everyone to create the space.
Don’t have a meeting.
Just to be clear, this is something people do on their own.
If you sit around in a circle and have a ‘let’s be vulnerable meeting’ expect it to backfire and be awkward, in fact don’t you dare do that.
Every time this has worked for me, it has been meeting in a small group on a regular basis and sharing about what is going on with my projects, people giving feedback and as trust increases over time the group connection naturally extends to the coworking space, but this is not a fast process.
The Art Shelf in @work Hubs comes indirectly from Brene Brown too, our friend Doug Shaw runs a workshop called ‘Art for Works Sake’ in part based on Brene’s research that most adults had a deeply negative experience in art lessons at school when someone criticised their work (which is different from constructive feedback BTW) which led them to not ‘risking’ creating art with any real level of ‘wholeheartedness’ again.
Go and create something and while you are doodling think about what you need help with, then ask someone near you.