#HRBookClub: Braving the Wilderness

Last night I finished reading Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone, by Brene Brown.

I read this book because I joined Laurie Ruettiman’s #HRBookClub. It’s a book club with no real rules; it just challenges you to read more, and hopefully more widely.

I’m so happy I did.

This book argues that in order to find true belonging, we must brave the wilderness, that is, we must be willing to go it alone to be what we believe. It can be frightening, but the true reward is in finding peace in who you are and with your principles, and then discovering that you are in fact not alone.

I related to this because I can vividly recall times when I’ve stepped way out of my comfort zone and challenged close friends, mentors, and colleagues. I remembered speaking against popular opinion that had gathered seemingly insurmountable momentum that I believed was guided my mistruths or ill intent

I entered the wilderness, and it was terrifying.

I felt completely alone, but I wasn’t.

In fact, my ventures into the wilderness have led me to discover others who were already there. I found allies in truth and civility and happened upon stronger relationships because of it.

The wilderness will always be scary, but the fear of the unknown and the discomfort it might produce is always greater than its reality.

And as I learned in Braving the Wilderness, the journey is always worthwhile.

“You are only free when you realize you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.” – Maya Angelou

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