Introducing The Rising Strong Workshop

Posted on November 22, 2015 by The Quest

In this conflab, Co-Founders of The Quest, Ade Adeniji and Darren Brady talk about Brené Brown’s latest book “Rising Strong” and their upcoming workshop based on her research.

Ade Adeniji: So, Brené Brown released her new book “Rising Strong” few months ago and we will soon be delivering our first workshop based on her new research. What does ‘Rising Strong’ mean to you?

Darren Brady: For me a big part of Rising Strong is slowing down. Its about pausing, breathing and then looking and noticing what is going on. I’ve had a few challenging situations arise in the last week and I have thought – ‘oh, here’s an opportunity to put these ideas into practice’ I also noticed that in the midst of the ‘drama’ how difficult it was to do this.

Ade: Yes, I can relate to that. I can very quickly make up stories about what happens to me and those “assumptions” often feel very correct and give me a sense of comfort – that feeling of “everything is okay and I am okay”.

The Rising Strong Process has allowed me to have a system to press “pause” and get curious about what’s going on beneath the surface. I loved Brené’s “Physics of Vulnerability” which include – “Once we fall in the service of being brave, we can never go back“. I know for a long time I wanted to be able to go back and pretend I did not want the things I really wanted. But as we know, it does not work that way. This is something we also hear with the guys who journey with The Quest and those who have been on The Daring Way.

DSC02966Darren: I tend to remember headlines – I’m not big on the fine detail – and 2 headlines that come out of Rising Strong for me are:
1. If I’m upset, there’s probably a story I have created around the situation / person
2. People are just doing the best they can with what they have.

These 2 messages jump out at me when I’m in the midst of a problem. They remind me that I’m swirling in my own (usually exaggerated) version of things and also that I need to accept people for where they are. That usually stops me in my (melodramatic) tracks!

Ade: Hahaha, as you know I love the fine detail!

The first thing that jumps out for me is that stuff in Act 1 & Act 2. In Act 1 – The Reckoning; recognising when I have been triggered and then getting curious about the emotions that are coming up. Act 2 – The Rumbling; Exploring the stories I am making up about the situation that triggered me and really delving into the emotions and other stuff that are coming up. So recently I notice that the themes that come up a lot for me are around – Anxiety, Grief, Shame, Comparison, Nostalgia and Self-Worth.

Darren: Yes. For me, I am beginning to fully recognise my fear of rejection, not feeling good enough and Armageddon! I very quickly turn a situation into a doomsday scenario. If anything appears slightly unusual or inconsistent I quickly elevate the situation. For instance, I went through the scenarios that my boyfriend wanted to end our relationship or had had a car crash based on the fact that I did not receive a ‘Good Morning’ text from him. Luckily I managed to talk myself off the ledge and tell myself that nothing disastrous had happened. And, it hadn’t.

Ade: It’s amazing how our brain is used to making up stories and how quickly it happens.

What do you think are the differences between reading Rising Strong and attending a Rising Strong Workshop?

Darren: That’s a very good question. As Brené would say – it is going from the head to the heart through the hands. It is an opportunity to embody knowledge rather than just understand it. It’s the difference between reading a ‘How to ride a bicycle’ manual and actually riding one. We cannot read ourselves into new behaviours, responses and emotions – we have to experience them. That’s the ‘practice’ bit.

I think for a long time now people think it is sufficient to just read a book or watch a video. I wish it were that simple!

Rising Strong CoverAde: Yes, it is something I hear a lot. “I’ve read the book”, “I’ve read the online interviews and I’ve been to the talks” – “I know that stuff already”. For a long time I fell into that camp. I genuinely believed that my behaviours were consistent with what I had read – because I had read it, and in some cases could recite the highlights; but alas!
Going through the Rising Strong curriculum and watching the videos brought a number of things to light and confirmed a number of things. It reminded me of the importance of application of the insights. I guess with a workshop, participants also get to hear other peoples stories which as we know is pretty powerful.

Darren: Yes it is. There is something about sharing experiences, ideas and feelings with another that makes it into an experience rather than an idea in the head. I am learning that, when I am upset, I must let at least 3 people know. I never used to do this and it still feels strange. But somehow it makes it real. It brings into existence something. It puts it out there and once out it can be viewed, interpreted, amended and re-shaped. This cannot be done in isolation -it only takes place in ‘relationship’ to another. When there is a group involved it magnifies the experience, allowing for even further resolution.

What difference have you noticed in people who have come on our workshops afterwards?

Ade: I think workshops also create a space where participants can share their stories safety where they know they will not be shamed for sharing their vulnerability. Not everyone knows at least 3 people that they can share their emotions with. I know for me, this is a challenge. Just the other day I was about to share something with a friend and I recognised that this person had put me on a pedestal when he said – “we are both strong and don’t go through stuff like that”.

In terms of differences after the workshops, it always varies between breakdowns and breakthroughs – which reflects what Brené calls the “Brave and Brokenhearted“. Many participants get to realise how hard this process of wholehearted living is. Which is what I REALLY love about Rising Strong as its all about Falling down, Learning, Getting Up and Trying again. I think this process helps to give everyone who comes on our programs an opportunity to develop a process to help them get up and go for it again. We see many who have foreclosed because they tried and it did not work out or it was just too hard and brought up so many memories from the past.

Darren: Yes. Sometimes it feels like such a monumental task to deal with thoughts, habits and limiting ways of living that I have carried for so long. Having some power from processes like these helps me to stay focused and hopeful. I recognise that it takes commitment to follow through and make significant changes. I have seen some participants do exactly this – making considerable time and resource to moving ahead. They often end relationships, leave jobs, let go of friendships…in order to meet new people, get inspiration, embrace a vision and radically reshape their world.

The adage ‘You get what you give” is apt here. Those who expect things to change without ongoing engagement usually see little happening.

Ade: So on that note, I am really looking forward to delivering our first Rising Strong workshop next month which is for Gay Men only and then two mixed programs in 2016.

Darren: Me too. Its going to be an amazing weekend.


The Rising Strong Workshop for Gay Men will take place on Saturday 12 – Sunday 13 December 2015 – For more info and booking, click here.

In 2016, The Rising Strong Workshop (mixed Group) will take place:

Saturday 14 – Sunday 15 May – For more info and booking, click here
Saturday 15 – Sunday 16 October – For more info and booking, click here

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