Books inspire us. They have the power to change us. It is when we read that our eyes open to what we have been blind to. Books wake us up, make us look at the world in a different way. They make us think.
They help us to be better leaders.
One of the books that has hugely impacted the team here at Conscious Creatives is Glennon Doyle’s recent memoir. Glennon’s book, titled ‘untamed: stop pleasing, start living’, has helped us to do just that. It has helped us to realise how easy it is to live to please others, rather than to do the thing that is right for ourselves.
Untamed is a courageous story about a woman who is tamed and then untamed. It is a story about how a woman’s life can be shaped by social conditioning, by shame, and by those around us. Glennon inspires us as she explores how every one of us has the power to break free from that. The power to become our true selves. It is a brave thing to do, but as we read Glennon is there with us. She is telling us what we’ve needed to hear — that we are brave enough to embrace our wild hearts.
The wild within
Mark came across this book when he heard Glennon speak as a guest on Brene Brown’s podcast. Hearing about the book led him to immediately buy it and share it with the team. In a meeting he read to us the prologue for Untamed. It is called ‘cheetah’.
In this chapter Glennon recalls a visit to the zoo with her children. There, she watches a Cheetah Run. The Cheetah is introduced alongside a yellow Labrador, who is described as her best friend. The Cheetah has been raised alongside the Lab, to help tame her. The Labrador chases after a pink bunny. The Cheetah watches. Then she copies. This strong, majestic, beautiful Cheetah is described as running after a pink bunny as though it is a Lab itself, unaware of the wild that is within her.
This moment was one of realisation for Glennon. She did not just see a Cheetah, she saw herself. She saw so many women, so many people, who have been tamed to believe that they are — or that they should be — one thing, when really they are wild. It was a moment where she realised that so many women are strong and beautiful but they have been tamed to believe that they are something else.
Finding the courage to embrace our wild
When I read this passage, Glennon’s words really spoke to me. They made me realise how we can so easily stop ourselves from being our true self because we want to be like others, because we want to fit in, because we want to be liked.
Often when we follow others it is not because we are afraid of our own power and voice, but because we don’t know that it is even there. We have been taught to forget ourselves to an extent that we are unsure of who it is that we really are. When a woman recognises her strength, when she sees herself for who she is, and not for who she feels she should or ought to be, she can be brave and courageous. We can be who we were meant to be, not who we were conditioned to be.
Returning to ourselves
In her chapter titled ‘erikas’ Glennon discusses how this taming and social conditioning led to her trying to control herself. She says:
‘When we are little girls, our families, teachers, and peers insist that our loud voices, bold opinions, and strong feelings are “too much” and unladylike, so we learn to not trust our personalities’.
Glennon goes on to describe the many ways that women have been led to believe that they must control themselves. She talks about ‘trust’, and how important it is to trust ourselves and stop fearing ourselves. This quote makes me think that often it is when people say that we are ‘too much’ or that we are too ‘loud’ it is because they feel threatened. They are afraid of what we might say, afraid of how we might change things. Their fear then becomes our fear. We silence ourselves in order to fit in; we tame ourselves. But we don’t have to let it, we can be loud, we can state our opinions, we can be ourselves.
The strength that lies within embracing our true self
It is not just women or girls that this can apply to, but boys too. Believing that they must be invulnerable, that they should not show their feelings is a way of stopping them from being their untamed and true selves.
Showing vulnerability and sharing our voices are examples of when we tame and hide the attributes that give us the most strength. It is when we start trusting ourselves that we can then be the people that the world needs, be the leaders that we want to be.
Glennon encourages us to listen to the voice that is within us. She inspires us to follow our knowing, to listen to that gut feeling that is saying that something is wrong. She encourages us to be who we really are, and lead from our hearts.
Untamed as a great discussion point for your team
The message of this book — ‘stop pleasing, start living’ — is one that we can take so much from. It is when we live to please and be like others that the world does not see our courageous and bold ideas. It is then that we feel limited to what there is, and shy away from what could be.
When we break free from that, when we become untamed, we can find courage. Courage to be ourselves, to trust ourselves, and to unapologetically embrace our wild. When we do this we can not only become better leaders, but we can realise that we are leaders. We realise that anyone can be a leader.
This book led to honest conversations in our team. We went away and read the book, and came back together to discuss how it had influenced us. Something that Mark took away from it is:
“While I believe this is a book that every woman should read, I think it’s an absolute must for any man wanting a deeper understanding of the different lived experiences of women. There are still so many amazing takeaways that can be applied for men but it’s reading a book so unapologetic in putting women first that really helps frame just how important it is.”
Learning more about the lived experiences of women and how we can become untamed is a great thing to do with your team. It encourages deep and honest conversations, and builds connection and trust. This book might also help those in your workplace realise the power and courage that they have within.
If you enjoyed reading this piece, then we recommend checking out our post written by Mark on how Dare to Lead by Brene Brown influenced and inspired the way that he runs Conscious Creatives.