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Brené Brown at TED

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So, I'll start with this... a couple of years ago, an event planner called me
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because I was going to do a speaking event and she called and she said,
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"I'm really struggling with how to write about you on the little flier."
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And I thought, "well what's the stuggle?" And she said, "Well, I saw you speak
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I'm gonna call you a researcher I think but I'm afraid if I call you a researcher no one will come because they'll think you're boring and irrelevant (audience laughter)
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And, I was like "Okay." And she said,
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"Well the thing I liked about your talk
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is that you're a story teller.So I think what I'll do is call you a story teller."
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And of course the academic, insecure part of me was like- "you're gonna call me a what?" (audience laughter)
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And she said, "I'm gonna call you a story teller." And I was like, "Oh,
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pfft why not magic pixie." (lots of laughter)
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I was like-
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"let me think about this for a second."
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And so, I tried to call deep on my courage
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and I thought
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Well, you know I am a storyteller. I'm a qualitative researcher.
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I collect stories, that's what I do.
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And maybe stories are just data with a soul. Ya know and maybe I'm just a storyteller.
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So I said, "You know what?
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Why don't you just say I'm a researcher/storyteller." And she went, "Ah-ha-ha (imitates loud laugh)! There's no such thing."
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(audience laughter)
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So I'm a researcher/storyteller.
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And I'm going to talk to you today, we're talking about expanded perception
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And so I want to talk to you and tell you some stories about a piece of my research
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that fundamentally expanded my perception
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and really actually changed the way that
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I live and love and work and parent.
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And this is where my story starts...
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When I was young researcher/doctoral student.
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My first year, I had a
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research professor who on
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one of his first days of class said, "Here's the thing- if you cannot measure it, it doesn't exist."
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And I thought he was just sweet talking me, I was like- "Really?" And he said, "Absolutely."
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And so you have to understand that I have a Batchelors in Social Work, a Masters in Social Work and I was getting my PhD in Social Work. So my entire academic career was surrounded by people who kind of believed the whole "life's messy, love it."
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And I'm more the "life's messy, clean it up." (audience giggles)
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"Organize it and put it into a bento box." (more laughter)
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And so to think I had found my way, found a career
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that takes me... you know one of the big sayings in social work is "lean into the discomfort of the work"
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and I'm more "knock discomfort upside the head and move it over and get all A's." That was my mantra. (audience laughs)
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So I was very excited about this and so I thought, this is
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the career for me because I am interested in some messy topics but I want to be able to make them, not messy.
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I want to understand them. I want to hack into these things that I know are important
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and lay the code out for everyone to see.
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So where I started was with connection.
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Because by the time you're a social worker for ten years what you realize is
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what you realize is that connection is why we're here.
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It's what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.
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It doesn't matter whether you talk to people who work in social justice and mental health and abusive and neglect.
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That connection, the ability to feel connected, is neurobiologically how we're wired. That's why we're here.
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So I thought, "I'll start with connection."
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