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A few months ago, a friend I made through the International Bar Association asked me to speak on a panel about our innate ability to be resilient, the importance of mental health and the power of vulnerability. When Melissa Davis (no relation) began to describe the panel, I blurted out “YES!” with the same level of excitement that my daughter Tessa responded when asked to go Disneyworld. Let me explain why …

About 10 years ago, I was in a dark period going through my second divorce, which left me with an all-consuming sense of shame. One night while trying to figure out how to cope, I discovered a TED Talk by Brene Brown—the world-renowned shame researcher. She unpacked the concept and how it worked, explaining how everyone carries shame and there is one variable that separates those who can live with it and those who can’t. The first group felt worthy of love and belonging, despite their flaws, while the second group didn’t. Understanding that simple idea helped me rediscover my self-worth, courage and confidence. The answer wasn’t resisting the feelings of shame. It was learning to accept my failures without questioning my self-worth. And since that point, I’ve read everything I can get my hands on when it comes to behavior, psychology, relationships and leadership.

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