20 in 2020: Brave Leadership

Brave Header20 books worth talking about (in Rich Gassen’s opinion)

My next installation of 20 in 2020 is Brave Leadership by Kimberly Davis. I’ll start with the web summary:



While we may think that we need to follow some kind of prescription to get results, the most amazing leaders are those who dare to be their true selves, powerfully. People want to give their best. But in a business world that’s so competitive and uncertain, how do you connect with others more authentically to tap into their elusive want? Brave Leadership is the essential guide for leaders in today’s ever-shifting world. Wherever you are in your leadership journey—new, seasoned, young, or old—if you aspire to be the best leader you can be, then this book is for you. It will help you—

  • Uncover your barriers to brave
  • Escape overwhelm and frustration and learn to manage stress and anxiety
  • Prepare for high-stakes meetings and conversations
  • Have the influence you want to have
  • Set the direction of your career
  • Connect powerfully
  • Feel more confident, courageous, satisfied, and purposeful
  • Tap into the want of the people you lead to get the results you need

0 copyOn a quest to make these powerful conversations more accessible, professional-actress-turned-leadership-educator Kimberly Davis shares the transformative tools she uses in her workshops to help thousands of leaders worldwide. Drawing from years of working with leaders of all experience levels and industries and the latest research in psychology, sociology, business, and the arts, this provocative and inspiring book bridges traditional business how-to with a personal development approach to demystify what it takes to be the brave leader you were born to be.

Brave is being your most confident, powerful, and authentic self.


This book is full of great nuggets for you to improve your skills as a leader, communicator, presenter and more. A few things that stood out to me:
Davis recognizes the carrot and stick approach to managing doesn’t work, and recommends a different approach to motivating others. This mirrors what I saw in Dan Pink’s book DRIVE about intrinsic motivation, and is a foundational component to the rest of her advice.
She also states: “To be a brave leader, it’s critical to challenge how you might be limiting yourself and others due to confined thinking.” This is also important, since so often we are either functioning with imposter syndrome or undermining our own progress with pessimism, procrastination or some other method of resistance. Changing your view to a more optimistic approach can open doors you never thought were possible.
The best thing about this book is you learn how truly authentic Davis is in real life. She’s an actor by training, but this isn’t acting anymore; instead, it’s genuine, real ideas from her heart about being brave in today’s world. And, she lives it every day! I am fortunate to get to meet her next month at the NLV Conference, but I feel like I already know her personally from her posts and comments online.
Chapter nine covers vulnerability, and references Brené Brown’s work in this area. Davis says: “Vulnerability is our biggest barrier to brave and the gateway to our most powerful self. Being brave involves navigating vulnerability, not trying to avoid it. Vulnerability triggers chemical reactions in our brain that produce warning signs and body sensations that are often disproportionate or a misrepresentation of the true risk we face.” 
This idea is reinforced by Dr. Melissa Hughes and her research on the brain.  Hughes tells us that the cortisol we experience in these types of situations can completely stop us from acting on ideas due to unnecessary fear.
Kimberly Davis focuses a large portion of the book on developing a super objective. A super objective puts you on an active path to be your most confident, powerful, and authentic self. It doesn’t make life easier; it makes you and your results better. I won’t go into details here, but she has an entire worksheet on how to develop your own super objective and then put it into practice. She states: “You need not be a CEO or a celebrity to work on your purpose. Everyone can make an impact.” Super objectives help you home in on your purpose and move the needle.
I am part of a networking community of practice, and can’t agree more with Kimberly’s stance on connection with others, especially in a work environment. “When someone takes the time to have a real conversation with you, don’t take it for granted. While I know we’re all terribly busy and important, making an investment in our relationships at work will pay dividends for years to come, so it’s critical to be all-in. Pay attention to what’s going on with the other person during your conversation. What do they need from you to experience you as genuine, worthy of trust, reliance, and belief? Listen for what they are not saying. Be fully present. Get real. Because the stakes are higher than you might imagine.” 
Besides this book getting a lot of press coverage in the past 25 months, there are some great interviews with Davis to get even more information from her about being brave.
To close, here’s a recent Linkedin post from Kimberly: 
“Two years have passed. It’s really hard to believe that two years ago this month I launched Brave Leadership out into the world. My life has changed in ways I didn’t expect. No, I’m not rich or famous (not even in my own mind). No, Oprah hasn’t called. No, my phone isn’t ringing off the wall non-stop. My life has changed in better ways.
0-1Having written a book has given me access. People have trusted me with their stories. They’ve shared their heartbreaks and struggles and deepest desires. They’ve invited me into their lives and remind me every day why this conversation matters. They are you. We’ve discovered together that we’re not alone. We light the way for one another. This fight to be better, to be our true selves powerfully in this world—the fight to own our brave—is a fight that takes a village. Thank you for fighting by my side. Happy Birthday, #BraveLeadership!”
If that doesn’t show her authenticity, I don’t know what will.

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