Living Brave: Oprah Winfrey

This is the very first of our Living Brave Interview Series! Courage is contagious and this series is a collection of conversations with people who are being brave with their lives and making me a little more courageous in my own life. I was so honored and excited to have Oprah as my first guest. Enjoy! 

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  1. 11/01/2016

    I was first introduced to Brene through my granddaughters DBT therapist. How awesome Brene is and now "courage works"... I also participate in the "Systems of Care" in my area for Mental Health... I believe that more research and action needs to start in the schools... I am working on advocating for our area. I hope to one day to meet Brene and attend one of her classes. Thank you so much for all your hard work and your honesty to share and teaching us!!!

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  2. Excellent interview. I love love love it!!!!!

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  3. 10/06/2016

    It was such a treat to see Oprah being interviewed by Brene. I have been a huge fan of Oprah since, forever. And It was through the O Magazine I have gotten to know Brene, her work and her books. In 2014 I took the Daring Way course in a 3 day workshop offered by a local Life Coach. It was a good experience. But VERY LITTLE COMPARES to hearing Brene speak and have authentic conversations with people. Another time I recently heard Brene was when she joined Liz Gilbert's podcast on BiG Magic. This was another brilliant conversation and coaching for me. I am so looking forward to participating in CourageWorks. I am starting a courageous journey of my own.

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  4. I have been really immersing myself in all of these books, videos, classes, and practices. I do have a few questions that I am trying to figure out. I am hoping someone here can shed light!

    1. I do not want to measure myself against the perfectionist measuring stick any longer. HOWEVER, I am very aware that perfectionism and the fear of not being perfect has been a sole motivator for me throughout my life, such that I have enjoyed success and accomplishment as a result. So, my fear is that letting go of the measuring stick will leave me without motivation to get stuff done. How do I make a decision not to shame myself for not being perfect while still motivating myself to do my best and strive for better? What suggestions do you make about what I can ask or tell myself to get where I want to be?

    2. The "talk to yourself as you would someone you love" presupposes that I am kind to those I love. I am working through controlling my outbursts of anger toward others, in fact. So, what sort of mantra can I tell myself? "Talk to others as Brene would want you to" isn't helpful enough (and devolves into shaming rather quickly). I am trying to sit in the vulnerability of biting my tongue (typically my comfortable place is speaking my mind, no matter how harsh). But, when I do speak, I need to go into love and compassion. It is hard to get from where I naturally go to my heart. So, while "talk to yourself as you would someone you love" helps in situations when I am being hard on myself, what do I say to calm myself when I am being hard on others?

    3. If the only opinions that matter are the ones of the people on that small paper, what does that mean about the people who didn't make the cut? Are there degrees of trust? Are we saying those people are not worthy of "seeing" us? Or are we saying that we just ignore what they say about our true selves? I'm sure boundaries come into play here, but I am not quite getting this.

    THANK YOU ALL! I am grateful for having found this at the precise moment I needed it! Yay for the Universe!

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    • Hey QWT,
      I'm only speaking from the experience that I have under my belt and from what I've understood from Brene's talks but I hope I can help.
      1) In terms of perfectionism, it comes to a point where there's 2 major differences you need to make. #1, there's a big difference between healthy striving and perfectionism. Healthy striving is coming from a place of "I want to do this, this is who I want to be." Perfectionism comes from a place of always thinking "What will people think." and being tied down and bound by that. #2 would be to be able to separate who you are as a person from your successes and your failures. That your work is not a representation of your self-worth, that you are not defined by your successes nor your failures, but that at the end of the day, you are proud of the way you acted in the situation and the work you put out.

      2) In terms on being hard on others, it goes to asking yourself the question, "Do I believe people in general are doing the best that they can." or the perspective taking option of trying to see where people are coming from. We will never know whether or not people are doing the best that they can, but it does make our lives better assuming that they do (as Steve (Brene's husband) has said). Giving people the benefit of the doubt, that everyone is fighting their own demons just as you are, allow's for compassion on others as well as yourself.

      3) If you have the time, Brene did a talk about the anatomy of trust which is a nice 20 minute video where she can explain it way better than I could. You can find it here: http://www.supersoul.tv/supersoul-sessions/the-anatomy-of-trust
      For people making the cut, it's about who deserves and have earned the right to hear your story. Because what you are presenting to them is the very core of your soul (in a sense) and if they are not able to appreicate that, then they are not worth sharing with, because it could also come to hurt you as well. You are absolutely right, it is a boundary thing. Vulnerability without boundaries is not vulnerability at all.

      Cheers,
      Quiet Tenacity

    • Hi QT. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I have watched that video a few times, read all the books several times, and can't get enough of it all. It's like I was dying of thirst and didn't realize it until I started drinking, and now I can't get enough! With regard to #3, I guess I am asking is best explained within the context of an example Brene gave in one of the books (sorry can't remember which), wherein she was in the school pickup line. Some other mom came up to her and asked her how she is able to go on trips for work and have someone else watch her kids (or something similar). Brene said that her old self would have said something nasty/mean (that's me definitely), but that instead she just sort of pretended that she didn't hear it and said she had to go so that she didn't say something shaming herself. So, this example also brings up my #2 question. My instinct is to use words as a weapon to eviscerate that person. I know that doing that is mean and unhelpful to either of us. However, this person would definitely NOT fall into my "people I trust" category. So, what mantra can I come up with to essentially bite my tongue so as to not make the matter worse, while also standing firm and confident in who I am and the decisions I make (being authentic), but not opening myself up to this person's issues? The thought of not responding and going home to work through that feels like suffocation. This is my vulnerability trigger for sure. Biting my tongue is so very hard for me (whereas for others it is speaking up). So, I need to tell myself something that will extinguish or at least lessen the force of anger/shame poison that want to be vomited from my mouth. But, I do not want to swallow that poison either. I want to transform it into something productive. Thank you!

  5. I love when Oprah says Failure is there to just move you in a different direction. It totally changes my idea of failure now. Love it!

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  6. I am still crying. I don't cry....
    I can't afford a course yet, but can soon get a book at a time. I soon must find the courage to leave my dead end job. I want to teach both my teen daughters not to be like me, pretending to be strong by not being vulnerable, I just don't know how. After 13 yrs of taking care of a chronic epileptic child, who is now 22 yo with a 16 yo mentality. God healed her in 2014 after 2 brain surgeries now, she is ready to explore the world. My youngest daughter is 17 yo in her last year of high school and had to be so independent, because of her sister's illness. It feels like now that I have time for her she'll be off to school or the Airforce. She wants to serve and her dad and I who were Army veterans. Now, I don't know who I am and I always saw vulnerability as weakness and with all I have dealt with in my 53 years I still feel like I have not grown up yet. I am crying because this is the part of me that has not grown up. I thank God you put words to my deepest feelings. I want to learn and understand your work so that I can help you women in my church on day to live wholeheartedly early in life.. God bless you Brene.

    Jacqi
    Houston, TX

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    • 09/21/2016

      Hi Jacqi!
      I hear you!!! I feel your feelings too! I am 62 and have been taking care of others for a long time. I want so desperately to break free and dig into my own "stuff" and take a course. I know I won't have the time to really concentrate on it and get from it what I need. I also don't have the money right now either ;-/ It is difficult to find that elusive balance we need between kids, job, parents, life, it can be incredibly difficult! When did/do we have time to be vulnerable, we are too busy being strong for others. God bless you Jacqi, I know you will get it because it is on your heart to do it sister!!!
      Eileen Davis (changepassion.com)

    • 10/08/2016

      Jacqui and Eileen,

      I also am at a turning point in my life. not only was a single mom taking care of her babies(4 of them) but most recently was helping my one daughter babysitting my grandson. I also look in on my 89 year old Dad who is not really ready to admit he is older and needs more help than we currently give him.
      These haven't been healthy relationships, as always "being there" has not gained me any respect!!!!

      My daughter has found additional help (thank God) with the baby and I am kind of scouting out someone to be a "personal aide" to my Dad. Meanwhile, I need to figure out what i want to do with my life, i feel i haven't yet lived. I do need this distance, however, i don't think its healthy to "throw people away" that aren't healthy for me,... but I do need distance. I have learned at this age in my life, it's completely healthy and normal to crave alone time, and to spend it in contemplation. I am learning self-compassion and at the very least learning to identify what some unhealthy relating patterns are. And I am 52 !!! I hope I can further instruct my grown kids in what is truly important in this life.
      Karen

  7. 09/19/2016

    I love, love, love this work and all the learning and growing that I have gained through watching, reading and studying Brene's work! I started learning about shame resilience with "The Gifts of Imperfection," and read each new book as it came out. Recently, I have engaged in the Connections Program by Brene and I love it! Through this I am now reading "I Thought It Was Just Me, (but it isn't)," which was only on my Amazon Wish List until now. I have a blog where I talk about life and spiritual growth and would like to discuss what I am learning through my readings/learning process but wanted to make sure I was not infringing on any copyright laws. I am wondering who I ask about this and how I can get a hold of this contact person. I hope someone can point me in the right direction-thanks in advance!!!

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  8. Thank you both from the bottom of my heart!!! For your examples of being brave - being honest - being kind - for shining the lights of your beingness - for those of us who choose to be brave - honest and kind. It is a comfort to know that woman of great personal power, such as both of you, are still knowingly unfolding into more of yourselves - if we are still here - we are still unfolding and that encourages me. I also appreciate what Oprah said about failure being a message to inform one when we are heading in the wrong direction - I can shine that light on my (perceived) failures and this helps me to shake off the stickiness of guilt and be brave enough to get up.......and move along. I will remember these words of wisdom. Oh, yes, and the cabinet - wise - food for thought for me. I will watch this interview again :)

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  9. 09/17/2016

    Love, love, love this - best interview ever! Bravo to you both - I love how Brene really listened and Oprah was candid and honest! Can't wait to hear more!

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  10. 09/15/2016

    Loved it!!! There was a lot to learn from that conversation, but what I found the best part was hearing what she said about herself, ".....she had a beautiful soul" It was inspiring to hear her talk so positively about herself.

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  11. Beautiful interview! I never wanted the conversation to end.

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  12. Truth. Vulnerable truth is honest. Courage to admit your struggle.

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  13. 09/09/2016

    I'm not sure I would call this "an interview". It was more like two very good friends sharing what they have learned in life. It was touching and amazing and the kind of brave truth we all long to share. Bravo and thank you both.

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  14. 09/06/2016

    Loved this interview with Oprah! It was awesome to see the interviewer on the other side of the questions. Great video! xo-Jane www.sheermiracle.com

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  15. 08/31/2016

    It was so neat to see Oprah being interviewed like this. Can't wait to see who you have on next. GREAT questions!!!

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  16. Excellent, excellent interview. Thank you Oprah and Brené! I love when Oprah says she learned from listening to other people's stories that "failure was just there to inform you to move in a different direction." Powerful! Thank you.

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  17. 08/28/2016

    Gorgeous interview.

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  18. I came across Brené Brown's "The Power of Vulnerability" in a Ph.D. Organizational Leadership program five years ago. I've been hooked ever since. When I started the Organizational Leadership program, I shared that I wanted to be transformed. I had no idea what was in store for me and the rest of my colleagues. "The Power of Vulnerability" was a huge part of that transformation for me on a personal level. Needless to say, it has truly been a tranformational journey the last five years with Brené Brown's books and now CourageWorks.

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  19. 08/20/2016

    it's hard to embrace my imperfections when I work hard as a medical provider to explain, educate, follow evidence-based medicine and am dissed on yelp when I have not provided what a patient want or feels is needed.

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  20. Beautifully spoken and heartfelt - thank you!

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  21. 08/04/2016

    That was a terrific interview. I loved the questions and of course Oprah's responses. She truly exudes something special-I guess I really don't have the words for it. My new favorite quote- "Failure informs you to move."

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  22. 07/31/2016

    Such an inspiring moment with Oprah. I have been a fan for years. This just reminded me why. So much of my growth has come through resources provided by Oprah on OWN, in the O Magazine and the Oprah Show.

    She struggles with the same things that I struggle with and I just connect with what she shares. Her truth resonates deep within me. Thank you.

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  23. Such a great and honest duo talking about hard topics! It's inspiring to watch such vulnerability with two very brave souls! Thank you

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  24. <3 <3 <3 this immensely...such deep truth and wisdom. Thank you both!!!

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  25. 06/15/2016

    I am inspired by you both. I struggle for the words to describe how I feel about you as women, as leaders and as soul-searchers. You inspire me to be brave. Your real and down to earth way of speaking to each other and to your audience is a much needed breath of fresh air, compounded with a heavy dose of honesty and bravery. I consider you to be two of some of the greatest women of our time. Brene, I look forward to seeing you in Colorado in November at Mile High! Oprah, I may never have the pleasure of meeting you personally or seeing you in person, but know you have my greatest respect and admiration. Even when it's tough, I hope you both keep on doing what you do, because what you do is extraordinary.

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    • 06/23/2016

      I couldn't have expressed my thoughts any better. So, all of the above! And, to reiterate, hearing two compassionate honest women extend that honesty to their own areas of growth and so called weaknesses is refreshing to say the least.

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