Learning Takes a Lifetime

“To be the person who we long to be—we must be vulnerable. We must take off the armor, put down the weapons, show up, and let ourselves be seen.”

– Dr. Brené Brown

I love this quote and many more from Dr. Brené Brown over the years. When I picked up her latest book, ‘Dare to Lead’, over a year ago I was immediately hooked. All of her concepts and insights that have been so valuable in my personal life were now all rolled together and translated into a way that I could apply them to my professional life. I immediately bought this book for others on my team and friends who were in leadership roles because I was so excited for others to learn what I was learning. I also wanted to have others to talk to about how we could make changes in our organizations to become stronger leaders and team members. We ended up forming a book discussion group at Label Insight that consisted of a diverse group of people from across the company including finance, engineering, customer success, design, and operations.  Over an eight week timeframe, the discussions opened up our eyes to the importance the role of empathy plays in an organization. I now consider empathy a valuable tool in my leadership toolkit. But, I was eager to learn more…

This past week, I got the opportunity to take the next step in my ‘Dare to Lead’ learning journey by attending a 2-day immersive course to become Dare to Lead trained facilitated by an amazing team from Alated. In this training, we walked through exercises based on Dr. Brené Brown’s concepts related to courage in living your values, brave leadership, empathy, and vulnerability. We left with practical tools that we could use to help others better understand these concepts and ways to use them in our daily interactions. Throughout the two days, we were forced to be self-reflective and face our fears and difficult situations with intellectual honesty and vulnerability. Feeling all the feels makes things real!   A couple of the biggest takeaways for me were learning more about the ways we get empathy wrong and also gaining confidence in living true to my values.

I consider myself a life-long learner and encourage everyone to look for opportunities to learn new skills, improve weaknesses, or deepen strengths you already have. Studies show people who proactively seek opportunities to learn build self-confidence, keep their brain healthy,  and become better contributors to the world around us. Whether those learnings are directly tied to their current professional role or just something they are personally interested in, like learning to play an instrument or learning a new language, the benefits are the same. When I hire, this is a quality I look for in the people that work on my team. I find that life-long learners are creative, innovative thinkers. They are more likely to find out-of-the-box solutions to problems. They are more willing to share ideas and accept feedback (good and constructive). And, overall, they are fun to work with because you can learn new things from them!  

The Dare to Lead course opened my mind on how to approach difficult conversations in a more proactive way instead of waiting to be reactive. Another one of Brené’s quotes really struck me:

“Leaders must invest a reasonable amount of time attending to fears and feelings or squander an unreasonable amount of time trying to manage ineffective and unproductive behavior.”

– Dr. Brené Brown

As a lifelong learner, I also want to spread my knowledge and see a ripple effect from my learnings. If you want to have a conversation about this, please reach out, would love to share more and learn from you too.


Annie Geile is a writer for the Chicago Customer Success Podcast. She is Label Insight’s Vice President of Customer Success. Annie has been a part of the Label Insight team since 2013 as one of the early editions to their executive team.

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