Why you should read Atlas of the Heart

One of my programs is called “Books & Belonging.”  It’s a book group for like-hearted leaders and game changers–people who want to make a positive impact on the world and who know that change starts with our own personal growth.  Here is a quick description of one of the group’s book selections and why it is worth a read:

Book: Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown

Book Summary:  Brene Brown uses her research on emotions to provide a “map” of our common human experience.  With over 80 emotions and experiences defined, Atlas of the Heart helps readers explore the roots of their emotions and understand how having the language to explore these depths allows us to connect with others in meaningful ways.

Why It’s Recommended Reading:  Success as a leader or a game-changer lies in our ability to connect with others.  True connection stems from shared human experiences and emotions.  Yet, many leaders do not delve deep into their own emotions for a variety of reasons like the fear of being seen as weak, feeling pressed to move on to the next task, or a belief that leaders must be stoic.  Atlas of the Heart is a great tool to help people explore the nuances of different emotions so that they can better connect to themselves and others.

A Few Takeaways from the Book:

  • We know the importance of developing trust as leaders, but we often neglect the importance of developing our own self-trust.  And, self-trust is easily destroyed when we make mistakes or feel that we’ve failed. How might others sense your lack of self-trust?
  • Anger often masks other feelings such as shame, guilt, worry, and hurt.  When we are approached by others expressing anger, or when we feel anger ourselves, we should stop and consider what other feelings may be hiding beneath the surface. What consequences could you have avoided by taking a more compassionate approach to anger?
  • There is a Buddhist concept of near enemies and far enemies of connection.  Far enemies are the opposite of connecting with people.  For example, the far enemy of compassion would be cruelty or distancing yourself from someone.  Near enemies seem similar to connection on the surface, but actually undermine true connection.  The near enemy of compassion is showing pity or comparing your own suffering to someone suffering in the moment.  Which of your relations have suffered by failing to connect the way you intended?

If you value the role of your relationships in living your purpose, ask yourself what’s possible if you explore your emotions more deeply.

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