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About the guest

Abby Wambach

Abby Wambach is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA World Cup champion. She was the United States’ leading scorer in the 2007 and 2011 Women’s World Cup tournaments and the 2004 and 2012 Olympics. An activist for equality and inclusion, Abby is the author of the #1 New York Times best seller WOLFPACK as well as the new adaptation of WOLFPACK for the next generation. She is the co-founder of Wolfpack Endeavor, which is revolutionizing leadership development for women in the workplace and beyond through her champion mindset, individualized coaching, and team-bound focus. She lives in Florida with her wife, Glennon Doyle, and their three children.

Show notes

Wolfpack by Abby Wambach

WOLFPACK: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game, by Abby Wambach

Based on her inspiring, viral 2018 commencement speech to Barnard College’s graduates in New York City, New York Times best-selling author, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and FIFA World Cup champion Abby Wambach delivers her empowering rally cry for women to unleash their individual power, unite with their pack, and emerge victorious together.

Wolfpack Young People edition by Abby Wambach

WOLFPACK for the Next Generation (Young Readers’ Edition), by Abby Wambach

In this young readers’ adaptation of her #1 New York Times best-selling book, two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA World Cup champion Abby Wambach inspires the next generation to find their voice, unite their pack, and change the world.


Brené Brown: Hi, everyone. I’m Brené Brown, and this is the Dare to Lead podcast. Today’s episode is… Ooh, I’m so excited you all. I’m talking with Olympian, activist, author, and complete badass, and my friend, Abby Wambach, about her book, WOLFPACK, the new rules of leadership. I have to tell you that I put WOLFPACK, and I’m going back to some of the business classics, I put WOLFPACK on my top five must-read leadership books. I buy this book for every single person that is graduating from high school, that’s graduating from college. It is leadership gold. I have listened to it with both my kids, the audio book is maybe just right over an hour, it’s just an incredible reframe and unlearning, a re-learning, and just a challenge. I’ll give you this little tease that the two things that have really changed the way I lead: point and run, and leading from the bench. Ooh, I can’t wait for y’all to listen.

BB: So Abby Wambach is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a FIFA World Cup champion, a six-time winner of the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award. Gird your loins, this information’s crazy. She has scored more goals than any other professional soccer player, male or female, in the world. She is an activist for equality and inclusion. She is the author of the number one New York Times bestseller, WOLFPACK, and there is a new adaptation of WOLFPACK for the next generation of leaders. So it’s a new version, kind of a YA version that is now out. She is the co-founder of WOLFPACK Endeavor, a training program that’s revolutionizing leadership development for women in the workplace and beyond the workplace, and she sits on the Board of Directors for the non-profit organization, Together Rising. Abby lives in Florida with her wife, Glennon Doyle, and their three kids. Just get ready to take notes. If you’re on a run or a walk or you’re driving, you’re going to have to listen to it once and then you’re going to have to listen to it again and take notes, or better yet, you should really invest in WOLFPACK. Abby, first of all, thank you.

Abby Wambach: Thank you, Brené. You’re Brené. You’re the person, when Brené calls, you answer, and you show up whenever and wherever you say.

BB: Well, let me tell you, when we started putting together the ideas for Dare to Lead and for this podcast, the big question I got from everyone was like, “Who are you going to have on? Whose leadership books changed your life and turned everything upside down?” And there was a list and there was a list of the classics that are just great books, and I hope I talk to those people one day maybe, but I said, “First, right out of the gate, right off the bat, I’m talking to Abby Wambach and I’m talking about WOLFPACK because this book is leadership gold.” No, I’m not kidding you, I’m not saying this because I love you, but I’m saying this because this is a serious, serious leadership book.

AW: Thank you. And I think when I first started to even consider the idea of writing this book after the Barnard speech, writing a book, you know this more than anybody, gosh, it is a daunting exercise trying to sit down and figure out what the hell it is you know, like, “What is in me? What have I seen? What have I experienced? What have I learned? What do I want to know? What haven’t I learned?” Like all of these things go into it, and I’m so proud of the result. I’m proud of the response. Obviously, if you, the person who so many of us look to for leadership in the world of… I mean, everything like vulnerability, like let’s get out, you basically coined the word vulnerability in our culture and made it what it is today. So for me, this comes in every way, after somebody can actually learn about themselves and go inside, figure out what you know, put it down, you might not get published, but at the end of day, I’m really proud of this book, I think that it’s important.

AW: And I have to say this from the top, that there is no more important time for us, for our children, to have a book like this, a book about leadership, a book about philosophy, that has been tested, decades tested, that is based in honor. Our world feels so freaking on fire in literal ways, and in the political metaphorical ways. We have to have people in our lives that we look to as leaders, but that their leadership is based in honor and not game, not greed, right? And I think that this book personifies that for me.

BB: Yeah, I’ve got goosebumps because… Wow! To lead with and from honor, that’s this book. So let me ask before we go into this, because every good leadership book has this tension of learning and unlearning, and that is a real thread through this. You got old rules and new rules, right?

AW: Yeah.

BB: How much of this book came from your experiences on the pitch? And how much of this book do you think came from your experiences in life? Or can you separate them even?

AW: Well, it’s interesting because I think that I knew some things that not every other person knows, and I didn’t know how to put it to words. And so as soon as Glennon Doyle came into my life and we got married, I would do things just because it was natural, it was a natural reaction response to the world, and she’s like, “That’s different. What is that about?” And so we were able to analyze and digest and figure out what it was that I knew and how it was our Women’s National Team differed in the way that we responded to the world. So the way that we broke down this book and the way I wanted it to be structured, and I think any great leadership book needs to be structured this way is like, it’s an evolution because leadership rules and ideas and philosophy 10, 20, 30, 100 years ago, it’s changed. It changed, and now with our fast-paced technological world, the Information Age, everything changes so fast, it’s like day-to-day things change, leadership styles have to evolve, and I think, especially for women, we have to understand first, before we can become the leaders of our own lives, how we’ve been tricked into not being leaders of our own lives.

AW: And so that’s why these old rules and new rules that I structured this WOLFPACK book around is so important because before you can step into your own power, you have to understand who has been holding back your power all along and why. And I think that that’s a big reason why we did the old rules and new rules structure.

BB: Alright, let’s just jump in. Old rule number one. You ready?

AW: Mm-hmm.

BB: Stay on the path. New rule: Create your own path. Tell me.

AW: Yeah. I mean, look, the reason why this chapter was so important and it was important to get from the beginning is because all of these fairy tales that we are told from the time that we are born, it goes even to the color of our clothes, is grooming us to be a certain kind of little girl, to be a certain kind of young woman, to be a certain kind of woman as an adult. And when I really have dug into some of these stories that I was told, the Little Red Riding Hood story, it was just like, it just came to me like, “Oh, yeah, here is this message that from a young age, these girls are taught, ‘Oh, the whole point of this is, I have to stay on the path here, otherwise bad things will happen.'”

BB: That’s right.

AW: And I can promise you this, and maybe you can agree, but every successful person I know, the good things in their life that have come, have come only when they venture off the path, when they’ve risked something, when they’ve gone after their desire, and I think that that is so embedded inside of us to question ourselves as women. “Should I do this? Can I do this? Am I worthy of this?” So for me, and this wolfpack idea rings through and the theme runs through the whole book, but if I could go back and tell my younger self anything, it would be this, “Abby, you were never Little Red Riding Hood, you were always the wolf.”

BB: Boom! Okay, just boom. The call to the wolfpack at the end of this chapter is wear what you want, love who you love, become what you imagine, create what you need. You were never Little Red Riding Hood, you were always the wolf.

AW: Yes.

BB: Damn! Okay, two. This is a tough one. Okay, Chapter Two: Be Grateful and Ambitious. Old rule: Be grateful for what you have. New rule: Be grateful for what you have and demand what you deserve.

AW: Yeah. This was a big one for me. I learned this rule a very hard way. I find myself on the stage standing next to the late Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning, and the three of us were getting a retirement award called the ESPYS Icon Award. And I’m on that stage, I’m so thrilled, I’m honored, I’m feeling grateful, like, “Wow! Here we are, we women, we finally made it.” And then when the lights turned off and the three of us turn to walk off stage, it hit me like a literal ton of bricks that the three of us were walking into three very different retirements. Their biggest concern was where they were going to invest their hundreds of millions of dollars that they collectively earned, rightfully so, nobody’s trying to take that money from them. But my biggest concern was how the hell I was going to pay my mortgage that month, like true story.

AW: And you know, as a national team player, I fancied myself, I represented Team USA, I’m very patriotic, I love my country, and I had amazing life, I traveled the world, I did amazing things, but I didn’t make enough money for the rest of my life, and I realized there that night in my hotel room like, “Oh, I spent my whole career just feeling grateful for all that I had been given.” I didn’t think for one second throughout my career, “Oh, I earned this.” In my mentality, I thought, “Oh, somebody else, probably a white man has given me this chance.” Not that I earned it. So I have had to do a lot of work, I still do a lot of work around this because it has been so ingrained in me and to unlearn this lesson of just being grateful and also remembering to demand what you deserve. That is how we can fix some of these inequalities that we see. So I promised myself two things that night in the hotel room. 1: That Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Crystal Dunn, the women on the U.S. Women’s National Team, would not share this moment with me. And 2: That if this moment happened to me, somebody who… I, in some ways, thought that I skirted any of this inequality, that I was the one that was getting offered seats and let into some of the biggest rooms in the world.

AW: But now I realize, “Oh, this is happening to me too. Oh, this is happening to every woman in the world, every woman in every industry, in every state, in every city, in every country. This inequality is happening to every woman, and it has to end.” Be ambitious, be grateful. We don’t want to lose our humanity, but you also have to demand what you deserve.

BB: When I read this chapter, this is like my life’s work, this chapter, because sometimes I still, at my age, say yes to things that I want to say no to. I do it less and less. Because I’m so afraid that I won’t seem grateful for what I’ve been given. I never think about what I’ve earned. I always think about, “Don’t say no. This could all go away, and no one will give you any more.”

AW: It’s so hard…

BB: This is ingrained, isn’t it?

AW: It’s so hard to break free from that, because I still myself struggle with the same thing. We work in such a weird business that… Do you think men think about this? Like a best-selling author, like you Brené, a former Olympian who was able to do the best of the best in their careers, do you think the guys are like, “Well, this could all go away”? No, they’re like… That never for one second crosses their mind.

BB: I don’t think so, yeah. No, I think that’s right, because you know, I used to do this feminist pedagogy when I taught graduate school, where you designed your own syllabus, your own grading system, and you graded yourself rather than me grading. I had to stop doing because it was so painful because at the end of every semester, the guys in the class would come up and say “A plus, I effing crushed it,” and the women would be like, “You know, I’m giving myself a B. I could give myself a B minus, but a B… Does that feel greedy?” I’m like…

AW: Oh, my god.

BB: Oh, my god. Stop. But the call to the wolfpack, which I consider myself one of, at the end of this chapter is be grateful, but do not just be grateful. Be grateful and brave. Be grateful and ambitious. Be grateful and righteous. Be grateful and persistent. Be grateful and loud. Be grateful for what you have and demand what you deserve.

AW: Yes. Amen. I think that so much of our humanity as women is wrapped up in this just like, “Oh…” this meekness, right? Like, “Oh, thank you so much.” But the truth is, we all have to… In some ways, I’m just like, “Screw it, I’m just going to go out there and say, ‘You know what, I want to be rich, I want to be wealthy, I want to have freedom.'” Because in the end, that’s what we’re talking about, it’s not because I want to buy cars and have material things, though I should be able to do that if I wanted to. I should be able to have a little bit of swagger and have ambition. Ambition has been beaten out of us, and I think it’s important that we collectively say, “You know what? We have to not just be grateful, but we have to go after whatever it is that we want and demand it because otherwise I’m not going to give it to you.” They won’t.

BB: No. And they shouldn’t. God, Gloria Steinem says, “Women have to learn how to wrestle away power from others, because if we can’t wrestle it away, we won’t know what to do with it when we have it.”

AW: Okay, first of all, I love that you can even remember that quote, I mean Gloria’s just… Whatever she says, I’ll do for sure.

BB: I’m with you. Okay, number three, this was maybe the most emotional chapter for me, Lead from the Bench. Old rule: Wait for permission to lead. New rule: Lead now from wherever you are. Tell me the story.

AW: Yeah, so in 2015, it was the last year that I played with the Team USA, and we were in the Women’s World Cup in Canada. This is four years ago. We also won the World Cup, so yay us! But that World Cup, this is going to be my last go around of a world championship, I’m 35 years old at the time, and if you don’t know anything about sports, it’s okay, 35 years old is old. I’m slower. Hopefully, I’m a little bit smarter, but this tournament itself, it’s longer than any of the other tournaments are, so halfway through the tournament, our coaching staff sat me down and they explained to me that at the end of the tournament, when it was like, win or go home situation, they wanted me on the field at the end of the game, so what that meant was I would be starting the game on the bench, okay? That’s just the most fancy way of saying that I got my ass benched, okay? [chuckle]

BB: I’m tracking.

AW: Yeah, and so there I was back in my hotel room again, completely devastated. I was embarrassed. I didn’t know how I was going to face the world. I had played nearly every minute of every World Championship I had entered up until this point in my career. I was leading goal scorer of the world. How can I be getting bench? Like, all of these questions started to surface and bubble to the top. And so, I had a decision. Okay, am I going to be a good teammate and sit on the bench and cheer my team on? Or am I going to live inside of my ego? Be a bad teammate, pout and try to show the world that I was good enough, that I should be the starter. And let me tell you in that hotel room that night I played out these scenarios all the way to the end. [chuckle]

BB: Did you really?

AW: Yeah, because I had a healthy ego on my shoulders. I’m a competitor. And I would be lying if I said that I didn’t want to be on the field. That was what I imagined for the previous year leading into this championship, me on the field like I always had been. So yeah, you’re allowed to be devastated and disappointed when life benches you in some way, but what you aren’t allowed to do is miss your opportunity to lead, because every single thing that I had yet to learn about leadership was in fact sitting right there next to me on that bench. And something that I’ve actually just realized, Brené, we recently… I just said this a couple of interviews ago, is what I did in those moments of accepting the role that I was given, no matter whether I agreed with it or not, what I did in that acceptance was it gave the players on the field the confidence to go out there and play, because what my acceptance was, was also acceptance of them, and it was a belief in that, so they were able to go out and do the thing.

BB: Yes, a vote of confidence.

AW: Totally.

BB: Yeah.

AW: But what that did long-term, it’s crazy to think about it for four or five, six years ago that this happened, that it hammered into stone the kind of person that I am to those teammates. So when they call me now, they call when their lives fall apart, when they need me, because they know that I’m going to show up, because they know that I chose them over myself and my ego in those moments. And so I was labeled “Great Captain, Great Leader,” by the way that that response, and I am more proud in many ways of the way that I responded to that life’s benching than any other goal that I ever scored for Team USA. But now, in hindsight, I’m so proud that those teammates that I have and had on that team call on me when they’re going through a divorce, when they’re having a child and something’s going wrong, when they need surgery, or when somebody dies, they call me, and that Glennon and I were just talking about that recently, it’s like literally the honor of my life, and I built that because I showed up for people when it mattered the most, and it just solidified in them who I was and what my character was about.

AW: And everybody has these moments, everybody has these benchings, these moments in life where they get tested, and how will you respond, that is the truth, that is the answer. And I’m just telling you, this is not to glorify myself in any way because I don’t care about that, just telling you that if you have that moment, you get to decide, and your life in some ways does depend on it, so choose wisely.

BB: That’s just who I want to be. What did leading from the bench look like for you during that game? How did you show up?

AW: Well, first of all, I’m sure everybody listening might understand that I might be a tad bit competitive, so as soon as I decided that I was going to be a good teammate, I was just going to cheer on every single one of those players on the field. So in fact, I was so loud, so obnoxious that the coaching staff moved me to the very furthest end, in the very last bench seat [laughter] because I was not allowing them to concentrate on the game. And then I think that during the game, what it looks like is just I’m cheering, I’m present, I’m there, I’m also motivating the players next to me, because there are oftentimes a moment in the game where somebody to my right or left was going to go sub in and that person is scared because you have to go in and make a difference and you don’t want to get up and make a negative difference. So you have to, as a bench, as a crew, it’s a whole different situation and mentality.

AW: So it’s like, Kelley O’Hara, she was going into the Germany game, and I just said to Kelley, I was like, “Why don’t you just go in and score a goal? We need a goal. You have to go in and score a goal for us.” And sure as shit, she went in and she scored a goal. We go up against Germany, and it puts us in a two-zero advantage, which at the end of the game was huge because it allowed us to be a little bit more relaxed and winning that game got us into the final. So for me, that’s all Kelley, but those roles in those moments, you have to say the thing that’s going to allow that player to your right or left to be their best self. That’s just it. That’s like the end game.

BB: God, that’s what it means to lead, and you cannot both lead and inspire other people and spend an ounce of energy protecting your ego. The energy is finite, you got to put it on other people or your ego. Choose.

AW: Yeah, you got to leave your ego at the hotel. That’s just the truth.

BB: Yeah, yeah.

AW: In every way, in everything that I’ve done good, in all of the championship games that I’ve been a part of, you have to be willing to completely make a fool of yourself, and the only way you can do that is if you leave your ego in the locker room or your ego at the hotel, because so many weird things happen in championships, whether it’s the semis or the final, and the way that you respond to those weird moments oftentimes dictates who wins that game.

BB: That’s right.

AW: Penalty kicks, or injuries, or weird stuff often happens, because there’ such high energy, so you can’t be serving yourself and the team’s success at the same time, it’s just never possible.

BB: That’s true whether you’re on a pitch in Canada or you’re in an office in Anaheim. That’s it.

AW: 100%.


BB: Okay, Four. Make Failure Your Fuel. Old rule: Failure means you’re out of the game. New rule: Failure means you’re finally in the game. Big lesson. Tell me the story.

AW: Yeah, so when I was 16 years old, this is when I first got my chance to start playing in the U.S. Youth National Teams and situation, so I got a letter in the mail inviting me to come to camp at Chula Vista, California, which is the United States Olympic Training Center out West. And it was unbelievable, they sent me this awesome big bag and Nike gear, it was like the first free anything I ever got. And if you’ve ever been to the Olympic training centers, everything is pristine, the grass just seemed greener, the food tastes better, all of the buildings seemed brand new, though I know they’re not. And at 16 years old, I spent my entire childhood watching the Olympics, watching Winter Olympics and imagining that I was a figure skater, which by the way I never was, but I always thought that that’s what was so beautiful and so creative and artistic, and now here I am finding myself where the greats train for the Summer Olympics, and it just happened to be the same year that women’s soccer was allowed into the Olympic Games for the first time in 1996, and that’s the Atlanta Olympics.

AW: So our women’s Senior National Team was also basically living there for three weeks every month for the six months prior to that Atlanta Olympics, so they had a locker room dedicated to them, they were living in the dorms there, yada, yada. Well, at 16, we happened to be there during their week off, but what was cool about that is we got an opportunity to take a tour of their locker room.

BB: Oh, god.

AW: And at 16, this is like my Disneyland. This was the pinnacle for me, just to be in the same locker room that the women get dressed in and go and put their cleats on before they go train and after they go train. So we walk into their locker room and I’m thinking it’s going to be this beautiful thing, it’s not. It’s like, it’s smelly, it’s like every locker room you’ve ever been in, it’s just like a little bit messy, a little bit smelly, and of course, I go straight up to Mia Hamm’s locker, number nine, and her cleats are there, and I’m the weird kid that just does the thing that wants to do the thing, so I grab her cleats and I start rubbing her cleats on my legs, and I know that sounds like so bizarre and weird, but I actually think it might have worked. [chuckle] Maybe the Mia cleat energy worked and gave me the goal scoring ability that I one day was able to have on the full team.

AW: But looking at this locker room… Like I said, it’s like every locker room and all of us are just awed by it, and one of my teammates pointed out this picture that was taped up on the wall right next to the exit, the door that every player would leave that you would see, you can imagine them seeing this picture as the last thing that they would see before they would head out into the training pitch every single day. And you’d think maybe this is a picture of them winning their last training or something positive, right? But it wasn’t, it was actually of the Norwegian Women’s National Soccer team the year before in the 1995 Women’s World Cup, having just beaten the United States, knocking us out of the World Cup in ’95, and this picture was of the Norwegian Women’s National Team obnoxiously, in my opinion, celebrating that win over the U.S. They were doing this stupid warm celebration. And at 16 years old, I grew up in a Catholic household where we just brushed every weird thing that happened in our lives under the rug.

BB: Yeah.

AW: And so this is the first time I’m being confronted with truth and how we’re going to deal with what just happened in our life, and what we’re going to do with a failure is we’re going to honor it, and we’re going to put it in a place where we never forget it, where we remember it and actually where we are going to turn it into a source of fuel for us every single day, we’re going to see this picture and we are going to remember.

BB: Wow.

AW: And I remember we talked about that picture for the rest of the week that we were there at 16 years old, because you sit in tons of meetings and you go on the field and you’re doing double days as a 16-year-old Youth National Team player and you’re just like, you feel like you’re getting bombarded with so much information, and the reason why you feel that way is because all of it is new, and what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to teach you about the culture. And I learned more from this one picture than any words or any meeting that I sat through during that week, I was like, “Oh, that is what they do here.” Even now to this day, I have gold medals and a World Cup Championship, and they’re in my sock drawer. And I actually have medals, a third place medal from 2010 when we almost didn’t even qualify for the 2011 World Cup, and the reason because of this picture, it’s ingrained in me not to forget the moments where you didn’t succeed, because for every successful person I’ve ever met, the things that they talk about the most, and this is true, I don’t know if this is true for you, but it’s true for me.

BB: Totally.

AW: The things they talk about the most aren’t the times when they reached their highest highs, it’s like no, it’s usually the thing that they talk about is when they fell right before they were able to rise, and how important that moment was and how life-changing that moment was and how grateful they are for that moment, and that they were able to take that moment and turn it and spin it, like Glennon would say, spin it into gold. And our Women’s National Team, that’s just what we did, and that’s what they do, no matter what. Even right now, when the judge throughout their lawsuit against U.S. soccer, even now it’s like, “Okay, I see you, and we’re just going to keep fighting.” This feels like a failure right now, but we’re going to figure out how to make this into something good, because that has got to be the culture that you create around teams. It’s not about the loss, it’s like how you always respond to it that matters.

BB: Yeah. I love the call to the wolfpack in the end of this chapter is: Try. Period. Fail. Period. Feel it burn. Period. Then transform failure into your fuel. And it’s so crazy to me as someone who studies vulnerability and courage for a job, that people expect innovation and creativity, but they set up cultures where failure is not okay. When innovation is by definition, fail, iterate, fail, iterate, win. And so ever since I read that, I think about that picture sometimes in my mind, I don’t know even know what it look like, I need to get a copy of it so I can get it more vividly, but I think about, when people talk to me about my work and my success, I always go back to the moments of being able to wallpaper an auditorium in rejection letters and the tenacity it took to keep going, borrow money from my parents and self-publish a book. That is the success story.

AW: Totally, and to make it a little bit more real life, like for instance, our youngest daughter, Emma, she’s got what’s called Osgood-Schlatter’s, and it’s just a painful growth underneath her knee, so she played soccer and one day she came home and was telling me how painful her knee felt and I just blew her off, I did what we were raised to do, is just rub some dirt on it, suck it up. That’s how I responded to her. And we put them to bed and I got into bed with Glennon and I was like, “Look, I just don’t feel very good with the response that I had. I don’t know what that’s about.” And we got into it and realized I was on autopilot, and I just went into the way that I was raised and so we got to be more conscious, yada, yada, yada. Long story short, Glennon was just like, “How about you apologize to her?” And it was the first time in my life that I had considered, “Oh, parents can be wrong.”

BB: Yeah.

AW: I love my parents and they did the very best that they could with what they had, but apologizing wasn’t a thing for them, so we fail as people all the time, but then we never acknowledge it.

BB: Everyday.

AW: So the only way we can really, truly move forward and use failure as our fuel is to actually acknowledge that a failure existed and happened.

BB: That’s right.

AW: So the next morning, she comes down and makes breakfast and I explain this whole thing. I’m like, “Emma, I’m so sorry. I don’t want to be the parent that doesn’t lean into you, that doesn’t reach for you when you say that you’re in pain, even if you are a little bit overexaggerating in my mind, I still want to be the parent that always shows up for you.” And I just said, “I’m so sorry.” And she said, “Oh, it’s fine, don’t worry about it.” But what that did was bring her and I closer. When we want to figure out more about some of these failures and how can I use the failure and turn it into fuel, it’s like one of the biggest elements is just accepting the fact that you messed up and then apologizing for it, so that you can get through it, and then you can actually get closer as not just a group of people on a team, but it can happen in your family.

BB: Oh, my god. Everyday. Everyday. It’s really funny, I have to tell you this quick story because I taught my kids very early that when someone apologized for something that they did, they need to say thank you instead of no worries, or it’s not a big deal. So I remember apologizing to my son three or four years ago, he’s 15 now, he was probably 9 or 10, I said, “Listen, I’m really sorry about how I showed up with you last night. I was stressed out, I was tired, and I overreacted and I apologize, and like you, I did not come from that, and I thought I was so proud of myself.” And he looked at me very earnestly and he said, “Thank you, I accept that apology.” And the first thing in my mind was, “You little shit.” [laughter] I was like, “You can’t say that back.” But I was like, “Thank you.” And then I walked out of the room and I almost started crying and Steve’s like, “Are you okay?” And I said, “I apologized to Charlie and he said, thank you and he accepted it.” He’s like, “You started that, not me.” Because we just didn’t… I was raised by the same Catholic family, there was none of that.

AW: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

BB: Okay, Five. Champion Each Other. The old rule: Be against each other. New rule: Be for each other.

AW: This is also really important for women because so often we are made to believe that we have to compete against each other in order to get heard or to get the seat at the table. Our Women’s National Team, we genuinely, genuinely wanted each other to succeed, and the best story and the best way that I can explain this is, in every soccer game, there’s a goal that needs to be scored, and I’ve thought a lot about this because I’ve done it more than most people. And I can tell you certainly that I can tell everything that I need to know about the way a team celebrates a victory or a goal. So let’s just hypothetically say that the ball is in our defensive end and we’re trying to go towards the goal to score a goal, that’s the whole point of soccer. So the defender gets the ball, they’ve just won it from the other team, and they pass it out wide and the midfielder gets the ball, then you do a little bit of passing in the middle of the field, that same midfielder gets the ball and she crosses it to me, and I score my goal.

AW: Now, what happens? You celebrate. But how do you celebrate? Have you ever thought of how you celebrate some of the goals of your life? Are you pointing to the person who passed you the ball? Because when I want to punish my children, I force them to sit down and watch my old goals just so that they never forget how awesome I used to be. [laughter] In one of these punishment sessions, Emma, she said, “You’re always pointing, who the heck are you pointing to?” And I told her, I was like, “Look, I’m pointing to the person who just passed me the ball. I’ve never scored a single goal in my life without the help of a teammate.” And so here we are in this moment, I scored the goal, I’m pointing and let’s just say, in life, have you ever assisted somebody to score the goal? They’ve maybe not gotten that… The camera always turns and showcases that goal scorer, the light turns brightly on the person who gets the credit. How are you responding if you are that assist maker? Are you rushing towards her?

AW: The reason why our Women’s National Team genuinely wanted each other to succeed is because not a single one of us was afraid of leveling up. Not a single one of us was afraid of the challenge, because there’s a big difference between competing against each other and competing with each other. So when Alex Morgan scores a goal, I had to think, “Oh, wait, thank you, great goal.” And now it’s my turn to turn up my volume. I got to play bigger, I got to play stronger, so that we can score as many goals as we possibly can, and it was the same way in practice. Yes, we didn’t agree on everything that happened in practice, we got mad at each other, but as soon as we got back into the bus, things were fine, but in the real world, how does this apply to you? So let’s think about a table, the proverbial table that everybody talks about, that two seats are oftentimes only allowed for women, and over the course of human history, it has been made clear that these women have to fight each other for these two seats at the table. I’m here to tell everybody who’s listening, that there are 10 seats at this table.

BB: That’s right.

AW: Why aren’t we all trying to vie to have representation of whoever we’re trying to represent? So if there’s five seats at the table that can be for women, why are we only going for the two? Like Shirley Chisholm said, “Bring a folding chair.” Or like Ava DuVernay said, she’s like, “You guys are over there trying to break through the glass ceiling that a house… That men built.” She’s like, “I’m just going to be over here building my own house.” And it’s like, yes, that is it. But we have to stop fighting against each other, we have to unify, we have to unite, and I’m telling you, I have been a part of situations where it was highly competitive, people were trying to get that starting job, but in the end, we had to accept our roles and knew that the only way we would win is if we fought together, not against each other.

BB: God. I have to tell you that I changed how I lead after this book in many ways, but one of them is, point or run, point or run. When the spotlight is on me, I point at the other people that made it possible, when the spotlight’s on someone else, I run toward her and lift her up and cheer her on. Point and run.

AW: And Brené, there might be nobody better at it than you truly, you are always trying… I know from all the emails that you and Glennon send back and forth to each other and how amazing you are at lifting other women, other people up for their work, you are truly a work of art in this way.

BB: Oh, thank you. Well, maybe it’s because I love sports so much and you changed me in this way too, but we’re so much better together. Alright, this is my favorite… Maybe my favorite chapter. Scariest chapter in the book. Six, Demand the Ball. Old rule: Play it safe, pass the ball. New rule: Believe in yourself, demand the ball.

AW: Yeah, so a couple of years after that first experience at the Chula Vista training center, I found myself back again training with the U-18 Women’s Youth National Team, and I was getting ready, I was right next to the field putting my cleats on and somebody was like, “Look who’s coming.” And we look up and it’s this woman who you can recognize her from a mile away, at least I could at the time, her name is Michelle Akers, she’s got this awesome huge head of curly hair, she’s ripped, she’s like 35 at the time so she’s at the end of her career. She played for Team USA for a long time. She was on that amazing ’99 World Cup winning team, maybe the best soccer player that’s ever played the game. You can ask Mia Hamm, she would agree. And here she was, walking towards our practice, and I was like, “Why is this happening?” She’s 5’10, like 160 pounds. Literally, she personified all of my dreams, I wished to be her at 18 and here she is, walking towards our practice, so I’m having a total freakout. She then sits right next to me on the bench while I’m putting my cleats on and she’s like, “What’s up?” And I’m like, “Not much. What’s happening?” I don’t know what’s happening. My body isn’t even there, I have no idea what’s happening.

BB: “I’m nervous.”

AW: So we go on to the field and we start warming up, and our coach puts us in this five-v-five environment, it’s a drill. So essentially it’s five versus five, it’s a small field drill which is supposed to create tons of offense, so we have two big goals that are two 18-yard boxes apart, so 36 yards apart, so it’s supposed to encourage like you have a scoring chance anywhere on the field.

BB: Right.

AW: And Michelle is in this drill with us.

BB: Oh, god.

AW: Unfortunately, she happened to be on the other team, and I’m pissed. I’m like, “God, why am I not on her team?” But what, for whatever reason, our team started to play really well and we went up four to zero, and yet I was still even jealous not to even be on the other team with Michelle because watching her go through this drill, she was coaching the players around her and she was trying to motivate them and organizing them and putting them in the positions on the field. Frankly, I think that they were just terrified to be playing with her so they weren’t doing so well, and that’s when the coaching staff blew their whistle and said, “Five minutes left.” So three quarters of this game has gone by, and now we have a quarter left at this game and we’re winning four to zero, and her own goalkeeper happens to have the ball in her hand. So Michelle runs back to her own goalkeeper, gets one inch, I swear to you, one inch from her face and goes, “Give me the effing ball!” And the goalkeeper was literally, it looked like she was going to cry like, “Wait, why is she yelling at me?” She’s like, “Just take it,” you know?

AW: And so Michelle got the ball and she dribbled through our entire team and literally left every single one of us on the ground. Anybody who came near her just, Boom! She just powered, powered through leaving us in her dust, scores a goal. And in this specific game, it was winners keepers, so her own goalkeeper went into her own goal, got one of the balls and was ready to play. Michelle ran all the way back to her own goalkeeper again, and again, got one inch from her face and was like, “Give me the ball!” And I think you know how the story ends. She gets the ball, dribbles, scores, does it again and again and again until she takes them to victory. So I’m upset, I’m pissed, I’m like, “How can we just lose? We were crushing them.” Right? “How can this just happen?” But after thinking about it, this is one of the most profound experiences of my entire life because I had never seen somebody, let alone a woman, step into her power like that. When the coaching staff told us that there was five minutes left in the game, something happened to Michelle, something inside of Michelle turned on.

AW: The first three quarters, she was doing everything that leadership was calling her to do, she was organizing and motivating and cheering her team around her on because she was trying to lead by putting them in front of her, and then when the going got rough and the time happened, and the coach has called five minutes, she had to step into a different form of leadership to ensure the success of her team, because at the end of the day, it wasn’t about learning, the learning happened in the first three quarters. It was about winning, and she stepped into her power more than I’ve ever seen, and I needed that lesson because as somebody who scored goals and can take over situations like Michelle did, I would never have learned that had I not seen it, had I not seen Michelle step into her power. And by the way, there’s a massive caveat here, because you can go around in your life saying, “Give me the ball, give me the ball, give me the ball.” But if you don’t follow through, then you’re just a liar.

AW: If you demand the ball, you have to follow through, and you have to hold yourself to that account. So if you demand the ball and you don’t follow through, how do you respond to that? Are you apologizing? Because guess what? I’ve demand the ball before in world championships and finals, and I didn’t follow through, I didn’t win every game that I stepped on the field for, but then I showed the people around me my sorrow, I showed the people around me and I told them, “I promised you what I could do, I told you to give me the ball and I didn’t follow through, and it will never happen again.” So Michelle is just like… Not only was she my idol, but this moment shaped me, it shaped the way that I interface with my life, it shaped the way that I think about leadership, because leadership is not a static thing, it has to change based on your environment, based on the people around you, based on the circumstance, and based on the timing of the drill that’s left.

BB: Yeah. Oh, my god. I love the call to the wolfpack. I have to read this, it’s the call to the wolfpack for this chapter. Believe in yourself. Stand up and say: Give me the effing ball, give me the effing job, give me the same pay that the guy next to me gets, give me the promotion, give me the microphone, give me the Oval Office, give me the respect I deserve, and give it to my wolfpack too.

AW: Yes.

BB: Whoo! Okay, Seven. Old rule: Lead with dominance, create followers. New rule: Lead with humanity, cultivate leaders.

AW: Oof. Yeah. So I had this really cool experience in 2008, we were getting a new coach, she happened to be from Sweden, and as a patriot, as a U.S. National Team player, I wasn’t sure about this, I didn’t know how this was going to go. We’re the United States. I probably had a little bit of xenophobia in me that I’ve worked through people from other countries. No, we’re the United States, we can figure this out. So here, Pia Sundhage walks into our meal room to have our first meeting. She’s our Head Coach, and we took ourselves pretty seriously at the time. We showed up, and we were always like in USA gear, and we just thought really highly of ourselves, I think. And she shows up just in regular jeans and a T-shirt, and she pulls out her guitar, all of us look around like, “What the heck is happening right now?”

BB: Yeah.

AW: We’re used to seriousness and here she pulled out a guitar, and she starts to sing a Bob Dylan song, These Times They Are A-Changin’. And at first I was embarrassed for her. At first I was like…

BB: Oh, god, yeah.

AW: Confused. Like, “What is happening right now?” Sitting back like, this is a nightmare, this is a disaster, and she didn’t care. She didn’t care what we thought. She didn’t care about what was going on in our minds. She was doing her. And so halfway through the song, I start looking around and some of the players are looking at her differently now, and then the song towards the end, I see all of us are leaning forward, we’re interested and curious, because up until this point, and this is no disrespect to any female coach that I had before, ’cause they only were doing their best, but what they thought that they need to be doing was be the male version of themselves.

BB: Yeah, totally.

AW: And I think that this is a dangerous road that a lot of us women and we fall victim to often. So, here this woman was showing up as herself, and music was her thing, and it stayed her thing, and she honored herself completely. I had never seen somebody to do that before, especially in leadership. I thought, “Oh, she’s not going to be serious, like how is anybody going to take her seriously?” Up unto this point, we were the serious folks, like we’re USA, everything had to be [inaudible], and real, and hard core. And now she was giving us this opportunity to be our full selves and to actually enjoy the process. Quite frankly, over this next four or five years when she was our head coach, we played the best soccer in the history of our country. We won silver and gold, and I can safely say that she gave me more permission to be myself, even off the field as a gay woman, as a person who was entering into a kind of fame after the 2011-2012 years. She gave me that permission and made me understand that I didn’t have to be thinking about talking points. I just needed to be myself, and I just thank her so much. And she showed us what it looked like to be a woman who stepped into her full self and led unapologetically, and the amount of people that followed this woman, I mean, even to this day.

BB: I love this, it says, “The call to the wolfpack: Claim your power and bring along your full humanity. Clear the way for others to do the same, because what our families, our companies, and the world needs is nothing more, nothing less than exactly who we are.”

AW: Yeah.

BB: Damn, Abby. Okay, last one. Find Your Pack. Old rule: You’re on your own. New rule: You’re not alone, you’ve got your pack.

AW: Okay. So this is my favorite one to talk about now because it’s even evolved over the last two months.

BB: Oh, really?

AW: Yeah, so the reason why I wanted to write this book is because everybody asks me, “What do you miss the most about playing?” And it’s 100% not the soccer. It’s 100% not the working out.

BB: Really?

AW: Not the running. It’s 100% not that. It is the people. Okay? I miss the environment that 23 type A badass women who all believe that they are the best soccer player in the world creates. It is an accountability. It is a challenge. We were always trying to level up and better ourselves, and sometimes you just need that healthy competition to be able to create that environment.

BB: Yeah. Totally.

AW: So for me, finding my pack has been my whole mission since writing the Barnard speech that created this WOLFPACK book, it has been my whole focus. So a couple of months ago, I got a DM from Natalie Portman. And by the way, I don’t know Natalie Portman. She’s like, “Hey, do you want to talk? I want to talk to you. Do you want to talk?” And I was like, “Sure, here’s my number.” So she calls me the next day, and I’m like, “Hi, Natalie Portman.” And she’s like, “Hey, Abby Wambach.” And she goes on this story about how she had seen me speak at a TIME’S UP Connect event the year prior, or two years ago, even now, and says, “I listened to your story and the inequality that the women face and what I’ve been doing ever since has been building a team to create a new women’s professional soccer team in Los Angeles called Angel City FC. And we want to know if you want to join our ownership group.” And of course, I said, “Yes. Yes, before you can take back the question. Yes.” And what the leaders of this organization have done is they want this not just to be a football club, a soccer club, they want this to be a brand built by women for women. So the major investors are all women and get this, they found 12 women that have Southern California ties that are previous National Team players, the very women who single-handedly built women’s soccer in this country, and they also offered them ownership shares of this professional team.

BB: Oh, my god. Goosebumps from head to toe.

AW: So what I’m telling you is, when you can find your people, you will be able to accomplish the dreams that you never even could formalize into words. I didn’t know that I wanted to be a professional sports team owner because I never thought it to be at all a possibility. It’s only been a possibility for white men billionaires, one or two for every team.

BB: Totally.

AW: And here, these women are, trying to innovatively create a new system. They’re not going to operate in the old system, they’re going to create their own system. And because of the time that I spent on the national team, I was offered an opportunity to join. It is one of the honors and joys of my life to be a part of it. And if there is any kind of evidence towards finding your pack that it works, that you can actually get what you want and also do good by it, this is that story then. I’m so proud of this opportunity, and I can’t wait till 2022 when we can get on the field.

BB: Oh, my god. I can’t… I’m already like, where do I get my scarf? What’s the song? What chants do I need to learn? I’m in. God, congratulations.

AW: Yeah. Thank you. It’s so cool. It’s super cool.

BB: Okay. We’re to the rapid fire questions.

AW: Yes.

BB: Are you ready?

AW: Mm-hmm.

BB: Okay. Vulnerability is…

AW: Vulnerability is, for me, the opportunity to get really honest with yourself on the inside and letting people on the outside also see it. So it’s matching your insides with your outside. It’s also probably my wife’s definition so I want to just quote Glennon Doyle for that because I agree with her very much.

BB: Okay. Number two, something that people often get wrong about you.

AW: Oh. Something that people often get wrong about me is they call me Amy. It is the weirdest thing. I don’t know, it’s like because there’s an M in my last name, whenever they see Abby Wambach, it happens like 40% of the time. I’m not even kidding you. It’s hilarious. Amy Wambach, I don’t know why.

BB: Okay. A piece of leadership advice that you’ve been given that’s so remarkable you need to share it with us, or so crappy that you need to warn us.

AW: The one that I’ve been really working on recently that I’m trying to hammer home with my kids right now is this idea of leveling up. So, every single human being is given opportunities in life to put themselves in environments where they’re going to be challenged or it’s going to be harder, or it’s going to be an older group of people, or it’s going to be a more experienced group of people, and you’re going to feel less than, you’re going to feel unworthy, you’re going to feel like you don’t belong, all of those emotions and feelings are real and they are true. But the only way you can actually level up is if you handle those emotions and those feelings. If you just promise yourself, “Okay, here’s the emotion, I see it.” And just promise yourself, “I’m going to show up tomorrow anyway.” And one of the most amazing things that I’ve heard recently, this advice that, “You can quit any time. Why don’t you just keep going? You always have the option to quit. Just like, keep going.” Wow!

BB: It’s so true, right? Isn’t that crazy? Okay. That’s so good, the leveling up. Boy, if you’ve got kids that play sports and you’re listening to that, I’ve got a water polo player and swimmer, and Ellen was soccer and field hockey, and then when you level up in the age bracket, and all of a sudden you’re going from the strongest, fastest, best to the lowest. We’re in the middle of that right now with water polo and it’s, that’s a tough game. So we get it.

[overlapping conversation]

AW: And yes, it never ends, it never ends. Leveling up never ends.

BB: Thank god, because it’s like when I feel the most alive.

AW: When you’re up against the competition or struggling with a concept or working towards something and you’ve got to be better, like you’re forced into being better, I love that too.

BB: One stereotype, and you just did a lot, so you can pick your favorite from the book, maybe one stereotype or myth of leadership that we need to let go of.

AW: That one way is the way.

BB: Oh, my god, that’s it.

AW: When the one leader or the president or the coach gets up there and says, “Do it my way.” Like, “No.” Now, the best form of leadership is the collective understanding of what everybody is supposed to do and a buy-in to that idea, but everybody has to have agreeance and input on that idea. That is the modern version of leadership. Gone are those days where the one voice gets the last say.

BB: Thank god. Okay, what would you say to someone who doesn’t consider themselves a leader?

AW: I would challenge them and ask them, “What did you choose to do today in terms of your nutrition?” And then, “How did you get out of bed? What was the thought that you had right before you opened your eyes and moved your body?” Every single person is a leader in their own life. Period. And I don’t believe that we give ourselves, especially our children, the kids of our world right now, are not given enough power, autonomy to make their own decisions. It’s like, “Do this or you’re out.” Like, “Do this or you don’t belong in this family. This tribalism.” It’s like, “Hold on. Everybody deserves to have an individuality and a choice,” and if you don’t think that you’re a leader in your own life, then who is deciding what you eat and when and how? Who is deciding when you go to the bathroom? You are. You make decisions for yourself. They might not be necessarily world-changing decisions, but for you, they are. You had to get up.

BB: That’s right.

AW: And you have to make a life for yourself. So before you start making world-changing decisions in terms of leadership, figure out your own life. Like in AA, they talk about cleaning up your side of the street before you go out into the world. I think that that’s a really good lesson.

BB: I tell myself that all the time. “Your side of the street, Brené, before you buy the street sweeper.” I’d rather much drive the street sweeper and clean up other people’s crap. What’s your best leadership quality?

AW: That’s a really hard question to answer. I think that one of the things I’m best at is I am completely all in. When I decide to do something, it’s hard to get me off of that. I’m a present person. It’s also my biggest fault too, because sometimes I can get so focused in on something that I’m gone from everything else in my life, but I show up, I do, I really love that part of the way that I partner with Glennon. Because the truth is, is leadership is also completely alive in your family life, in your marriage.

BB: Yes.

AW: Being able to show up is one of the things that I value the most, and it’s not show up in the way that I need to show up, it’s showing up for my family in the way they need me to show up. Those are very different, and knowing the difference is huge.

BB: What’s the hard leadership lesson that you have to keep learning and unlearning and re-learning?

AW: I just said to Glennon, and I was just signing some book plates ’cause I have the Young Readers’ Edition dropping next week, and I said, “One thing that you have taught me, and then I have to keep remembering, I have a tendency to procrastinate in my life and just getting it done, so that five-second, that moment where you choose to do something or you don’t. It took me a long time to buy in to doing it first, and then you have the rest of the day that you’re not worrying about it.” I have to do that over and over again with my physical fitness. So you would think that I’m this Olympian, I’ve done basically the hardest physical feats in the world. You would think this is something I have in the bag, but the working out and the diet piece of my life, leadership-wise, I feel like sometimes I just want to give it to somebody else. Can somebody else take care of it for me? ‘Cause I’ll do it, I’ll do whatever. I wish I had enough money to have a cook in our house all the time that just made the healthiest stuff ever, or we actually have invested in a personal trainer that backs into our driveway three times a week and works us out. So it was like, “Okay, that crosses three days. Now, what do I do for the other three days a week?” So it’s like the leadership stuff for me is just personal accountability. That’s stuff that I can get better at.

BB: What’s one thing you’re really excited about right now?

AW: Well, my wife is a freaking dream.

BB: I agree.

AW: She’s the most creative human being I’ve ever met. We have some really fun… ’cause I also love to think I’m like a dreamer, so I very much relate with her on some of this stuff. She’s creating a lot of really cool stuff on the coattails of Untamed, her book. I’m so proud of how great her book has sold, not because of the sales, it’s just because I believe that the message has to get out into the minds and hearts of women, and men, everywhere, and so the projects that she has going are the things that I’m most excited about. She is the thing that I’m most proud of because I’ve seen her transition and transform into the beautiful human that she is. She’s always been beautiful to me, but at the end of the day, watching somebody fly and feel those moments of freedom that I have felt in my life and to watch somebody else soar in ways that I have also soared, just to be at the pinnacle of your career, I just want to be in her orbit right now because everything that she has got going on right now is so exciting to me.

BB: Me too. I love that answer. Last one. What are you deeply grateful for right now?

AW: I know that this is going to sound so weird, and I know that…

BB: Try me.

AW: Yeah, I know that a lot of people have been negatively affected by this pandemic, and so much weirdness has come of it. But for me, not having to get on an airplane over the last six months has been one of the greatest gifts that I have taken away from this period of time. And this time has also shed some serious light on what’s truly important to me because I was traveling three or four times a week doing speaking engagements, loving it, making more money, by the way, in the four years of my retirement than I ever did as a soccer player, as a professional speaker. Go figure. I was so nervous, but I was able to figure it out. And here I am now not having travelled, feeling like, “Wow, this life is very cool, like my central nervous system is totally settled.” I feel grounded and I’m also very ambitious. I love working and I love making money, and I love having a new challenge, a new something to do. So I’m kind of percolating on that for right now, but I feel grateful for the time that I’ve been able to settle and spend time with our kids and spend time with Glennon. It’s been lovely, and I know it’s been a weird time, so I made the best of it, I think.

BB: Yeah, there’s been some gifts in it for sure, especially the no airports, no flights, waking up with the people you love, going to bed with the people you love. That’s been something. Okay, last question, you gave us five songs that you do not want to live without, Closer to Fine by the Indigo Girls, Crush by The Dave Matthews Band, Hallelujah by Brandi Carlile, I Am Here by Pink, and Wide Open Spaces by The Chicks. What do these five songs say about you in one sentence?

AW: So the Indigo Girls, they were the first group that I was able to listen to something that sounded like me in terms of understanding my sexuality. Dave Matthews, and that time was growing up. The nostalgia for the Dave Matthews concerts that I went to every summer. Brandi Carlile, because we’ve become friends with her recently and her cover of Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen’s song, it’s like maybe the best in the world.

BB: I agree.

AW: Her voice is just outrageous. Pink because it’s our anthem. I Am Here is the anthem that Glennon and I for the last couple of years have been shouting on the rooftops. I have to honor The Chicks, the former Dixie Chicks, with every fiber in my being, and I think so, too, does all women, because they have been saying this stuff, and the Indigo Girls and Brandi as well. But these women were ridiculed and shunned and sent through the exit by saying the things that we all now actually feel and say out loud. And so to them, I say, “I’m sorry that you haven’t been praised like you should have been. I’m glad that you’re back.” And Wide Open Spaces was just like my college time.

BB: You are amazing.

AW: You too.

BB: Thank you for spending this time with us. And thanks for walking us through WOLFPACK.

AW: I’m very excited ’cause I put a few new stories in there for the kids. For me, my favorite new story is the Making Failure Fuel. You either have three decisions when you make a mistake: You blame, you shame, or you claim. Those are your choices.

BB: Oh, my god.

AW: And I think that those are things that kids can wrap their minds around. And like I said from the top, “There is no more important time than in the history of our world for leadership lessons and philosophy to be in the hands of our people that are based in honor. I’m a problem solver and I think that this can solve a lot of problems, especially that we’re seeing on national television these days. Brené, I love you. Thank you for having me.

BB: Oh, my god. Thank you, Abby Wambach. You are an honorable leader, and for that we are all grateful.


BB: I hope you all loved this conversation with Abby as much as I did. Don’t forget that she has released a Young Readers’ version that’s out now, which is just such a great gift. I love the way Abby takes these rules that sometimes we expressly know them and sometimes they live within us without even words being wrapped around them, but we try to follow them and they’re just punishing and not helpful. So WOLFPACK, y’all, it’s a great, fast, power punch read. You can find Abby on Instagram and Twitter @AbbyWambach, A-B-B-Y W-A-M-B-A-C-H. Facebook is Abby Wambach. The new book has a website called, and then Abby’s is Thank you again. I am still… I’ve got so much flow and energy around the Dare to Lead podcast. I’m grateful that you are joining me here. I think we’re ready for braver leaders and more courageous cultures, and I think we can do that just by doing some serious skill building, challenging old ideas.

BB: If you’re listening to this before the election, please remember to vote and always, awkward, brave, and kind. That is also the path to leadership. Hey, and I also want to let you all know, I just did this really fun podcast with The Economist, so check that out where you listen to The Economist podcast. It was an interesting interview about what’s going on in the world, leadership, vulnerability, science. If you’re a Dare to Lead person or if you’re just a big believer in hard conversations about real topics, I think you will enjoy it. Again, that’s on The Economist Asks podcast. Unlocking Us is a Spotify original from Parcast. It’s hosted by me, Brené Brown. It’s produced by Max Cutler, Kristen Acevedo, Carleigh Madden, by Weird Lucy Productions. Sound design is by Kristen Acevedo, and the music is by The Suffers. The song is Take Me to the Good Times.


© 2020 Brené Brown Education and Research Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

Brown, B. (Host). (2020, October 26). Brené with Abby Wambach on the New Rules of Leadership. [Audio podcast episode]. In Dare to Lead with Brené Brown. Parcast Network.

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