The Gifts Of Imperfection by Brene Brown: Book Summary

In this book summary of The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, you’ll find my notes, valuable lessons, and important action steps.

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The Gifts Of Imperfection Summary

Wholehearted living is a process that never stops, it’s the opposite of a one time choice.

Courage, compassion, and connection are the gifts of imperfection. When you choose to be vulnerable with your shame and imperfection, you allow yourself to experience connection and the gifts of imperfection.

Being courageous makes the people around us and us better. This ripple effect is powerful when it compounds.

The most compassionate people are the ones with the most boundaries. They use boundaries to hold people accountable, instead of blaming and shaming them.

You can’t thrive emotionally, physically,  socially, and intellectually on your own doing life alone. Your brain and body are hard-wired for connection to other people.

If you want to truly experience feeling joy, meaning, and worthy, you must talk about what gets in the way of this: shame and not feeling worthy.

“Shame needs three things to grow out of control in our lives: secrecy, silence, and judgment.”

The 10 guideposts to wholehearted living include:

  1. Letting go of what people think
  2. Letting go of perfectionism
  3. Letting go of numbing and powerlessness
  4. Letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark
  5. Letting go of the need for certainty
  6. Letting go of comparison
  7. Letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth
  8. Letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle
  9. Letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to”
  10. Letting go of being cool and “always in control”

If you desire to feel really alive, be brave to step into fear and the unknown. It’s scary but what’s scarier is to live a life not true to yourself.

“Self-doubt undermines the process of finding our gifts and sharing them with the world. Moreover, if developing and sharing our gifts is how we honor spirit and connect with God, self-doubt is letting our fear undermine our faith.”

Mini Summary

You can choose to let go of yourself to live a “fake life” for others, or you can embrace who you are and own your life story. You’ll love life, others, and yourself better when you’re authentic.

Live wholeheartedly by switching your mindset from trying to be perfect and identifying yourself with what other’s think, to feeling “I am enough” no matter what happens today. You’ll be more courageous, compassionate, and connected this way. And wholehearted living is a never-ending process, not a milestone.

Strive to DIG deep, especially when you’re tired and stressed by being:

  • Deliberate – Be intentional in what you think and do.
  • Inspired – Get yourself in the right emotional and mental place to feel like yourself.
  • Going – Take action, whether that’s to rest or work harder—just do it.

Three Favorite Quotes

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”

“We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”

Action Steps For You

Owning your story isn’t the easiest thing to do out there.

It takes guts to speak about your guilt and shame. It requires courage to tell people how you’re thinking instead of what they want you to say. And bravery is needed to live authentically with your imperfections.

Though when you practice living a true live where you think, speak, and act in congruence with yourself, not how you’re supposed to be, you open your heart to love yourself and others.

The means to do this are to practice courage, compassion, and connection on a daily basis. Those are the gifts of imperfection.

And don’t try to be perfect, you’ll live a lie because you’re not flawless and no one else is either. You’ll be happier when you embrace you’re human and have your faults, and allow others to help you or give you a shoulder to lean on.

So don’t try to be the Hollywood star you admire (we know they have their issues) or the cool guy at the office. Instead be your authentic self and own your story, then you’ll be blessed with the gifts of imperfection.

I challenge you, today, to go out and tell a trusted family member or friend how you’re feeling today and why. Be vulnerable. Open up and allow them to see your imperfection. If they’re a good friend, you’ll both feel better after this conversation.

The journey to wholehearted living can start today if you open your heart. The choice is yours. Please do it for yourself and the people around you.

And practice loving yourself. Find your favorite hobby so you can go to that to find play, rest, and joy. Give your heart and happiness as much attention as you give your career and success. Ironically being happier will fuel you to be more successful.

Your life will never be the same when you strive for wholehearted living.

Order The Gifts Of Imperfection

Or check out other book recommendations to become more successful.

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Brian Robben

Brian Robben is the founder of Take Your Success, a site dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs grow a profitable business and reach freedom. For in-depth training, visit:

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Gary S.

    Great, I’m going to post it on my blog.

    1. Brian Robben

      Cool, feel free to!

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