Method Description

The Rising
Strong Exercise

In her interview with Oprah, Brené Brown describes how we’re neurobiologically hardwired to make sense of our struggles through the stories we tell ourselves.

When we construct a story about our troubles, our brain neurochemically rewards us for that story because stories are what helped our ancestors survive. When our ancestors detected a threat, constructing a story would help them make sense of who was good/bad, safe/dangerous etc., which would help them prevent future danger.

We now use this same system for what are often complex situations. As this system makes us prone to focusing on the negatives and jumping to conclusions, our stories are often unhelpful and inaccurate. Our brains also don’t take into consideration the need for discomfort and vulnerability in complex human relationships.

As Brené says, “When you fall, the stories you make up about your fall need to be really tested.”

3 Steps of The Rising Strong Exercise

1) The Reckoning

There are two steps to The Reckoning:

  1. Acknowledge you’re emotionally triggered. This involves developing your mindfulness skills—your ability to step back and observe your emotions without getting caught up in them and reacting impulsively.
  2. Be willing to get curious and look into it. We have to develop the willingness and ability to deal with discomfort and feel our way through difficult emotions. The opposite is emotional numbing—suppressing feelings with food, work, love, sex or other addictions to escape discomfort.

2) The Rumble

What we start off with—the story we create in our minds—can be thought of as our Shitty First Draft.

In The Rumble, we get curious and lean into the discomfort.

The Rumble is where your cognitive restructuring skills come in. Here, you edit your Shitty First Draft, which is likely to contain conspiracies and confabulations.

Conspiracies refer to stories that have limited data points that you then fill in with your values, ideas and beliefs.

Confabulations refer to lies told honestly. An example of a confabulation would be telling yourself that someone turned you down because you are unlovable.

To edit your Shitty First Draft during The Rumble, ask yourself:

  1. What do I really know for sure?
  2. What am I making up?
  3. What more do I need to learn and understand about this situation?
  4. What more do I need to learn and understand about the people in this story?
  5. What more do I need to learn and understand about myself?

3) The Revolution

The Reckoning and The Rumble are what lead to The Revolution.

As Brené says, this process can “revolutionise the way you live, the way you love, the way you lead, the way you parent. It’s completely changed everything for me.”

Listen to the podcast episode


Get the book

rising strong brene brown
"The physics of vulnerability is simple: If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall.

This is a book about what it takes to get back up and how owning our stories of disappointment, failure, and heartbreak gives us the power to write a daring new ending.

Struggle can be our greatest call to courage and Rising Strong, our clearest path to deeper meaning, wisdom and hope."

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