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What Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From Brené Brown’s Book, Daring Greatly And The Marble Jar Story

I love when books bring business lessons to life through personal stories. Here’s what I learned from the marble jar story (pages 45-49) in Brené Brown’s, Daring Greatly. 

Brené tells us the story of her daughter Ellen who is in grade 3 and tells her friend whom she thought she could trust, a secret. By lunch all of the kids know about this and are whispering about and teasing her. The teacher notices the behaviour and takes some marbles out of the marble jar. 

When Ellen gets home that day she begins to tell Brené what happened and told her that it was so bad that the teacher took marbles out of the marble jar. Trying to console her upset daughter, Brené asks, what is the marble jar? Ellen tells her that the teacher has a marble jar that at the beginning of the year is empty and when the kids do something collectively good, she puts marbles in the jar. When they act out or misbehave she takes marbles out of the jar. When the jar is full, they will have a class celebration. 

Brené recognized that this was an opportunity to teach a valuable lesson to her daughter. She told Ellen that relationships are a lot like marble jars and asked her daughter, "Who are your marble jar friends?"  

Ellen thought to herself and said, ‘I have those friends!’ and Brené proceeded to ask her what are the kind of things that put marbles in the jar for you? Her daughter said things like:

  • They keep our secrets. 
  • They tell us their secrets.
  • They remember my birthday!
  • The know who Oma and Opa are. 
  • They always make sure I’m included in fun things. 
  • They know when I’m sad and ask me why. 
  • When I miss school because I’m sick, they ask their moms to call and check on me. 

That’s a pretty great list, right? 

Brené had a similar list. 

The next line is where the lesson comes in:  

Trust is built one marble at a time. 

What Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From Brene ́ Brown ’s Daring Greatly Book And The Marble Jar Story With Jennifer Trask

We know this about relationships in general that when you show up for people you are putting a marble in the jar.  

In order for someone to become a customer or client of yours, you’ve got to fill up the marble jar for them. That is what is going to help you build an incredible business. 

What fills up the marble jar for your ideal clients? 

The answer is going to be different for everyone. However, I think we can deduce that there are going to be some similar answers that come across the board. 

Here are some actions that fill up the marble jar for me when I’m following someone in business: 

  • people who consistently deliver great value in their marketing. 
  • people who ask what matters to me and then creates content based on what I asked. 
  • people who tell real stories and results whether it is theirs or their clients. It’s not always from business but any side that helps them (and thus I) become a better person. 
  • people who know how to balance marketing and sales. Overkill isn’t fun so I do like it when those whom I learn from don’t bombard my inbox.  

Now, I would love to hear from you. What puts marbles in your marble jar when you are learning from someone? 

Let’s start a discussion in the comments below. I would also encourage you to ask your audience what fills up their marble jars in relation to you? We can learn a lot from this one exercise!! 

Thanks for being here with me this week. I look forward to your marble jar comments below! :) 

Live Your Awesomeness, 

 Jennifer Trask - First


 P.S. Know someone who could benefit from this post? Be sure to share it with them. :) 

Written by Jennifer Trask at 09:02

User Comments

Jennifer Trask

Dominique Hurley, It's so important. Nobody's perfect and I think sometimes people forget that how one gets to any position comes from the challenges. :)

Dominique Hurley

Great video Jennifer! In line with Brené Brown's other teachings (which I used in class the same day you posted - love the new normal!) I appreciate it when others I follow show their vulnerability. We're all human and showing that we all have ups and downs gives our clients a more wholistic picture - taking us off the pedestal and face to face. I share both on my blog - always showing how challenges happen for me and my growth - hopefully inspiring others to do the same. https://uploads.disquscdn.c...

Jennifer Trask

@nike you are so right. Showing up counts big time! That's where consistency comes in for me. :)

Nike akiti

Hi Jennifer awesome blog! It's so true! My marbles are stories, real ones and I don't mind if they are not your triumph over adversity- so far as there is a lesson and people just saying hello! Because we don't know where hello can lead! Showing up is always good! Lol!

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