Our Interview with Certified Daring Way ™ Facilitator, Brooke Bralove, LCSW-C

In October of 2021, our co-founders Stacy and Rayetta attended The Daring Greatly™ workshop facilitated by local Metro DC area therapist Brooke Bralove, LCSW-C.

The Daring Way is an experimental method based on the research of the famous author and research professor Brené Brown. The method was designed for work with individuals, couples, families, work teams, and organizational leaders. The Daring Way is a group facilitated process that looks at vulnerability, courage, shame and worthiness.

As servant leaders, Stacy and Rayetta feel it is valuable to examine their own vulnerabilities so they can show up fully for themselves, their staff, clients and their families. It was an incredible experience and we are excited to share not only Stacy and Rayetta’s experience but also our interview with Certified Daring Way ™ Facilitator, Brooke Bralove, LCSW-C.

Our Interview with Stacy and Rayetta

Q: What was your biggest takeaway from the workshop?

It was a transformational experience of being vulnerable in a safe space. We walked away from the workshop having experienced how being courageous and vulnerable provides strength for personal growth, in addition to living a more joy-filled life of connection. This is what we support our clients in doing for themselves, and it was amazing to actively do this work as well.

Q: What were your expectations vs. experience?

We really did not know what to expect. It was scary to walk into a room thinking, “I’m going to share my shame and triggers with others.” and walk out of that experience more triggered. But that was the furthest from reality. We came out feeling much stronger in having experienced supportive connection, rather than affirmation of our own worst fears.

Q:  How did attending the workshop with a person that you know well enhance or change the experience? 

We have always felt that we were each other’s (other) life partner outside of our husbands and we felt like this weekend and this workshop affirmed that. To be able to be completely vulnerable with someone who knows you so well was very powerful because we knew that no matter what was said, there would be no judgment, only love. 

Q: How are you applying and continuing the work of discomfort and vulnerability in 2022?

Attending this workshop showed us how important it is to set boundaries and prioritize self-care. Some practical steps in accomplishing this is through holding ourselves accountable for personal goals through working with professional coaches.  As well as reaching out to ask for help and support from friends.

Our Interview with Brooke Bralove, LCSW-C

Q: Why did you begin doing the Daring Way ™  weekend workshops? 

Like many of you, I first discovered Brené Brown in 2013 while browsing the TED homepage. Her “Power of Vulnerability” TED talk rocked me and currently has 56 million views. I was enamored with Brené’s humor, truth-telling, and the ability to put into words things that I had felt, but never had language around. 

I immediately began researching her and found that a therapist I knew in the DC area was trained in her work. We met for coffee and after hearing about the Daring Way™ training program, I applied the very next day, plunging into Brené’s world and work. I attended the Certified Daring Way ™ Facilitator training program in December 2013, in which Brené herself led one day of the training. It was an amazing experience and from there, I was hooked.  

I started co-leading Daring Way™ weekend intensives for women with the colleague I mentioned who introduced me to the workshops, and after a few weekends, I ventured out on my own in 2014. I have led 16 weekends since 2013.

Q: What do you love about facilitating these workshops? 

Facilitating Daring Greatly™ weekends is my passion (the name changed last year). I love working with clients individually, but intensive group work energizes me every time. I believe wholeheartedly in the shame resilience curriculum, the power of shared experiences, and the way in which complete strangers feel bonded after 2.5 days together.

The Daring Greatly™ curriculum consists of videos of Brené introducing themes/topics followed by written exercises and group sharing. The topics covered in the weekend are: vulnerability, shame, authenticity, self-compassion, empathy, values, trust, and perfectionism. After doing a deep dive into these topics, many participants report that their experience was life-changing and felt like 6 months of therapy happened in one weekend. 

I love to see women support each other, resonate with each other, and be vulnerable and courageous in real time. The growth comes in practicing vulnerability in the here-and-now experience. Many of us feel isolated and alone with our problems and think we’re the only ones who struggle. Daring Greatly™ helps participants feel less alone and normalizes their struggles as part of the human condition.

Q:  What do you hope people take away from the workshop? 

The tagline for Daring Greatly™ is “Show up. Be seen. Live brave.” My hope is that every single woman who participates in my workshops walks away feeling stronger, braver, and with a renewed sense of the importance of authentic connection in their lives. 

One of the most important learnings of the weekend is that vulnerability is strength and not weakness. My hope is that this work helps group members get unstuck from simply sleep walking through their lives and undo the feeling of being unworthy of love and belonging. I also hope that the work spurs them to show up for themselves in a way they’ve always been afraid to and to deeply believe that they are “enough.”

Q: What are the benefits of a small group dynamic? Is the group size intentional and if so, why?

The small group format of Daring Greatly™ allows for individual exploration, time for sharing one’s story, ample opportunity to decrease loneliness and increase a sense of belonging. While I have done Daring Greatly™ with as few as 4 people and as many as 9, the sweet spot is having 6-8 members. This group size tends to be more dynamic and energetic and yet, allow time for people to share themselves fully.  

Although I can do this curriculum individually with clients, I prefer the group format because it is through shared witnessing that shame loses its power. Many participants end up sharing deeply shameful life experiences, but being supported in a non-judgmental atmosphere can magically transform those experiences.

Q: As one of the original DC area facilitators – what have you seen over the past decade of facilitating this workshop?

While there are currently over 35 Certified Daring Way™ Facilitators in the DMV, I was one of the first five in the area. Over the last nine years, Daring Greatly™ has changed its name (formerly the Daring Way™), reordered some of the content and videos, and moved from a binder of worksheets to a beautiful workbook. The integrity and content of the work has remained constant which I find incredibly comforting. I think the biggest change that I’ve seen since I began facilitating these workshops is that Brené has become so much more well-known, accessible, and mainstream. I’m always shocked these days if people aren’t familiar with her and her work, since she’s written six New York Times bestsellers and has been interviewed by Oprah and many others. I also believe that more and more people are beginning to believe that vulnerability matters. It’s no longer this crazy belief that some Texan researcher had. It’s real. It’s documented, researched, and experienced in real life.

Q: What is a future goal you have for Daring Greatly workshops?

My goal moving forward is to offer Daring Greatly™ weekend intensives for women, men, and couples because I believe this work could transform marriages. I have only facilitated one men’s weekend intensive, and it was powerful and rewarding. My hope is more men will be brave and want to do this kind of work with the support from other men. 

My goal is to do at least 4-5 Daring Greatly™ weekends per year moving forward. I never feel more alive than when I am facilitating this work because it is pure magic. When people ask me to give them details about the weekend, I usually reply, “I don’t fully know how to explain it to you, but I have goosebumps most of the weekend.”

Some final thoughts

Thank you Brooke Bralove for joining us! If you are interested in attending Brooke’s next Daring Greatly™ Women’s Weekend Intensive, there is one scheduled for February 11-13 in Bethesda, MD for fully vaccinated people. 

To learn more information, check out her website: http://brookebralove.com/the-daring-way/

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