The Gifts of Imperfection: Book Club Questions

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Gifts of Imperfection" by Brené Brown. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Looking for The Gifts of Imperfection book club questions? How can these questions help you deepen your understanding of Brené Brown’s book?

The Gifts of Imperfection is Brené Brown’s book on living Wholeheartedly by overcoming shame and developing self-worth. In the book, Brown shares ten guideposts for living a Wholehearted life.

Continue below for The Gifts of Imperfection book club questions.

The Gifts of Imperfections Discussion Questions

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown explores the theory behind living Wholeheartedly, as well as ten practical steps you can take to invite Wholeheartedness and worthiness into your life.

Here are The Gifts of Imperfection book club questions for you to answer and discuss:

Build Shame Resilience 

Learn how to combat shame by building shame resilience.

  • Describe the last time you felt shamed. What did your shame relate to? (For instance, it could be connected to your job, your appearance, your relationships, or something else entirely.) What triggered this shame? 
  • What were the symptoms of your shame? Consider any physical reactions you had to the shame (for example, sweaty palms or a pounding heart), as well as any thought patterns that it triggered (for example, “I’m not good enough”).
  • What do you think the root cause of your shame was? For instance, did it come from societal expectations, the opinions of a loved one, or your own perfectionism?
  • One of the most powerful ways to combat shame is to talk about it. Is there someone you trust who you could talk to about your shame, and who could offer you support? What would you say to them?

Practice Self-Compassion

Learn how to practice self-compassion.

  • Describe a situation in which you were very self-critical. What drove this self-criticism? Had you made a mistake, or failed in some way? 
  • Consider how perfectionism may have played a part in this incident. Did you strive to appear perfect, only to fall short? Were you criticizing yourself for failing to meet impossible standards? 
  • Imagine you had the chance to react to the same situation again. How could you treat yourself in a more compassionate way? (Remember the three tools of self-compassion: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.)

Practice Gratitude

Acknowledge the things you’re grateful for, and learn how to practice gratitude each day.

  • Describe all of the things that you’re grateful for today. (This could include small things, like your coffee this morning being particularly delicious, and big things, like having a loving partner and a fulfilling job.)
  • How has listing the things you’re grateful for made you feel? For example, do you feel joyful and fulfilled? Are you surprised by how much you have to be grateful for?
  • Think about how you could incorporate gratitude practice into your daily life. Choose a method of gratitude that suits your routine best. For instance, could you make time in your day to write down what you’re grateful for? Could you complete a gratitude meditation each morning?

Practice Calm

Learn how to practice calm in stressful situations.

  • Describe a recent situation in which you struggled to remain calm. What made the situation so stressful? 
  • How might putting the situation in perspective have helped you to remain calm? (Was the situation really as bad as it appeared, or did you catastrophize? Did you really have all of the information you needed to judge the severity of the situation?)
  • Did the situation trigger any strong negative emotions—for example, anger or fear? How did these emotions influence your reaction to the situation? For instance, did they cause you to hastily act in a way that you now regret? 
  • Imagine you’re faced with a similar situation in the future. What could you do to stop yourself from having an instant emotional reaction? (Remember: Breathing exercises, pausing before you act, and evaluating your feelings can help you to keep your emotions in check.)

Use Your Gifts and Talents

Learn how to incorporate your gifts and talents into your working life.

  • Name two or three of your gifts and talents that you’re not currently using in your working life. Describe these gifts and talents in detail.
  • Pick one of the gifts or talents you outlined above. Why do you think you’re not using this gift or talent? What’s stopping you from putting it into action?
  • Consider how you could start to use this gift or talent. Is there a way you could incorporate it into your current job? Could you make a career change that would allow you to use it? Perhaps you could start a “side hustle” based on this gift or talent?
  • After brainstorming, do you feel more confident about your ability to use your talent? Why or why not?
The Gifts of Imperfection: Book Club Questions

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Brené Brown's "The Gifts of Imperfection" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full The Gifts of Imperfection summary :

  • How to stop feeling like you're not "good enough"
  • How shame affects your self-worth
  • The 10 guideposts to living Wholeheartedly and cultivating worthiness

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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