the arena


Maybe I’m late to the game, but I only recently started hearing about Brené Brown.

In case I’m not the only one in the world who hadn’t heard of her, she’s a research professor with experience in social work who talks about things like courage, vulnerability and shame. You know, the fun, feel-good stuff that seems like it comes naturally to everyone else.

She’s given a few TED talks and written some best sellers. And a lot of people like to quote her. No biggie.

Anyhow, I saw this keynote speech of hers given at the 99U conference (an event geared toward helping creatives).

She talks about the challenges of creativity, specifically when it comes to criticism. The talk is centered on the idea of showing up by entering the arena and what happens when you do.

I found her words both helpful and comforting. Right now, the challenge for me is learning to deal with my own inner critic. And man, that guy never lets up!

This talk also helped me be a little less scared about the critics who will inevitably show up as my work becomes better known. This is something I’ve worried about a lot in the past and I expect to have to work through in the future. I feel a little bit better knowing that while such people may have a place, they don’t need to have a say in how I live my life.

One practice she’s adopted that I appreciate is not listening to the criticism of those who are themselves unwilling to enter the arena. Still, as great as that sounds, I know it’s not always easy to do.

If you’ve faced either type critics in your life, I highly recommend Brené’s talk:

Why Your Critics Aren’t The Ones Who Count