A week before Brene Brown drops her latest project — an hourlong special on Netflix “The Call to Courage," which comes out on Friday — she was in Austin to interview soccer star Abby Wambach about the soccer star’s new book, “Wolfpack.”
“I have not read a more important book,” she told the sold-out BookPeople audience that had gathered on Friday in the First United Methodist Church downtown. “And there’s no place I’d rather be than with y’all.”
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Wambach, who is married to author Glennon Doyle, said she was equally as excited to appear with Brown and that Brown’s books, especially her recent title, “Dare to Lead,” had been particularly influential on her own work. They spoke for about an hour and a half at FUMC, whose columns in the front of the building were wrapped in rainbow fabrics in public dissent from the international Methodist leadership, which recently strengthened the church’s ban on same-sex marriage
Brown, a past South by Southwest keynote speaker who is appearing as a keynote at next week’s Mom 2.0 Summit in Austin, said that she’s giving copies of Wambach’s book to her entire team, and that she and her family read the book out loud.
This was their first time to meet, but Brown choked up when she told Wambach a story about her daughter, who will soon turn 20, idolizing Wambach when she was a young soccer player. “She was born in 1997 and played soccer for 10 years, and it did not ever dawn on her that she couldn’t be what she wanted to be because of you.”
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Brown went through each of Wambach’s “new rules for a new world” that were inspired her 2018 Barnard commencement speech, which went viral and caught the eye of publishers. “Abby’s book gets right up in our shame grills,” Brown said. “She’s asking us to find worth” when we don’t feel like we have it or when others are telling us we aren’t worthy.
The women exchanged stories of failure, self-doubt, gratitude and perseverance. “I could wallpaper this church with rejection letters for my first book,” Brown said. “Those people are so sorry,” Wambach replied.
“Every one of us will get benched,” Wambach said, but that’s when you can turn to your “wolfpack,” an everyday team of people to support you and for you to support in return. “We’ll all be up against failure at some point, but we’ll be up against it collectively.”