"Dare To Own You" & Your Authenticity With Liz Brunner's New Book
Liz Brunner understands that it takes courage, confidence, and authenticity to grow.
Brunner co-anchored the #1 rated 6 pm newscast at ABC-TV, WCVB NewsCenter 5 in Boston, during her 28-year career on television. She has worked diligently to earn incredible exclusive one-on-one interviews with prominent figures such as President Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey. Today, Brunner is the Founder & CEO of Brunner Communications.
In her new book, Dare To Own You: Taking Your Authenticity and Dreams Into Your Next Chapter, she mixes her memoir with progressive tools, to inspire and motivate. She shares the personal obstacles and risks she had to overcome to show the reader that it takes determination, resilience, faith, and trust to reach your next chapter.
If you are ready to enter your Next Chapter, keep scrolling to learn more about Liz Brunner’s new book, Dare To Own You: Taking Your Authenticity and Dreams Into Your Next Chapter. Brunner understands that it takes courage, confidence, and authenticity to grow and she is here to help you!
Can you please share a little bit about your background and how you found your passion for journalism?
I’m passionate about storytelling. I didn’t go to college to become a journalist. I am a music major who taught High School choral music for two years, and sang with a semi-professional chorale group that toured Europe. However, after a couple of years into teaching, as much as I loved it, I began feeling as if there was more I was supposed to do in this world, although I had no clue what that was. I worked in retail to pay the bills and began the process of trying to figure out what I would do next. I’d done one TV commercial when I was Miss Illinois in the Miss America Scholarship Pageant, and wondered if maybe I could do something in television. I bravely and blindly called up two stations in Champaign-Urbana, IL where I was living at the time and went on informational interviews. After about six months of conversations with the CBS affiliate, a position was created for me. I learned everything on the job. It was my own graduate school. As a singer, I was sharing stories through song. As a journalist, I shared stories in the spoken word. It’s all storytelling, which is simply what a journalist is, a storyteller.
What inspired you to write your new book, *Dare To Own You: Taking Your Authenticity and Dreams Into Your Next Chapter?*
For years, people have been telling me, “Liz, you should write a book!” These were often friends, or people who heard me deliver a keynote speech, clients, or workshop participants. So, I guess, it became a wish that someday I might write a book, but honestly, I had no idea what it would be about. In the summer of 2019, after reading what I felt were enough “how to write a book” books, I put my fingers to the keyboard. I’d only written a couple of chapters when I felt like I was going off-course, so I stopped writing. And life, as it often does, got in the way. I didn’t pick it back up again until April of 2021 when I got connected with Grace Point Publishing and a program they offered. They connected me with a writing coach with whom I shared those brief few early chapters. My coach kept saying that she wanted to know about this story or that story, and to keep writing. I thought, “really, you want to know more about that? Ok!” As I continued to write, I discovered I had more to say, and the more I had to say, the more I wrote. I was compelled. I felt as if the stories just started pouring out of me, and by the end of July, I had completed the manuscript of my first book. It all still seems surreal at times.
When did you begin to fully understand that your passion in life was helping people become their most authentic selves?
I’ve always enjoyed helping people, particularly young people who were interested in getting into the TV industry, or reporters who asked me to critique their resume reels. When I launched my business and began working with clients, there was such a transformation within the people I had the honor of working with that my passion continued to grow. I still feel it today. I often see the progress in clients before they do, but as they continue to grow, transform and become more authentic, and then see that growth in themselves, well, it’s the best feeling in the world.
Is there a female figure who has been your biggest source of inspiration while you were on this transformative journey?
It would have to be both my grandmother, Dr. Dorothy Chacko, and my mother, Mary Russell. My grandmother’s quote, “no knowledge is ever wasted” was the impetus for my book. I heard this quote many times growing up. It truly inspired me to understand and own that every experience—good or bad—is “knowledge.” Knowledge that can help us all transform, create new and next chapters, if we are willing to reflect on those experiences and discover what we can learn from them, what skills we have beyond the obvious. And, if we are brave, we can learn to trust that we know more than we think we know.
In your book, you explain how fear is not a reason to stop. When you left Channel 5 and started your own business, why was it so important that you “jumped off the cliff”?
I was petrified to launch a business, especially when I never ever wanted to run a business in the first place. But, I believed that if fear was the only thing stopping me from leaving my 28-year career in television, that was simply not a good enough reason. A quote by Dr. Robert Schuller kept giving me courage: “what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” What would any of us do if we believed we wouldn’t fail? If we didn’t allow fear to stop us? So, I took a leap of faith. It truly felt like I was jumping off the cliff and hoping there would be a parachute!
Is there a specific chapter in your book that is meaningful to you and if so, why?
This question feels nearly impossible to answer simply because I poured my heart and soul into each chapter. If I were to choose only one, it would be Chapter Two; Accepting and Celebrating Our True Selves because of the poignant revelation that came to me. This chapter includes a great deal about my ancestry and family history. I felt compelled to include it in the book, and yet, could not fathom why. Why would anyone care about my lineage? The day that I wrote this chapter and added it to my manuscript, I literally got up from my computer, and went for a walk. I needed to understand why it was so important to include. With tears streaming down my cheeks, I asked out loud to the “universe,” why? Why is this so important to include? What came to me, for the first time in my life, was the weight of this heritage that I have felt and carried with me. I had become a prisoner of my own making, locked inside some unconscious expectation I felt I had to live up to. It dawned on me that many people put expectations on themselves unknowingly. They may feel an expectation to follow in a parent’s footsteps and therefore, never follow their north star, their true passion.
For those who have not read your book yet, do you believe in “fake it till you make it”?
I do. Yes, you may feel like an actor in your life, at that moment, but I believe what you are really doing is practicing positive, new behaviors that will ultimately become your truth, help you grow, and be more confident.
Dare To Own You: Taking Your Authenticity and Dreams Into Your Next Chapter speaks about the determination, resilience, faith, and trust you had to reach your next chapter. Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your younger self?
I love this question! Here’s what I wish I could tell my younger self; “it’s all going to be ok. No, it won’t always be easy, in fact, it will be very hard at times. No one is immune to challenges in life, but you are strong, you are smart, you are worthy, you are more than enough. You will figure it out. Give yourself permission to trust you know more than you think you know. Everything will work out for your highest good.”
Throughout your triumphs and failures, has there been a specific memory that became a great learning experience for you?
There are two that come to mind. First, when I confidentially shared with one of my mentors that I was scared to launch a business, that I didn’t think I was smart enough to do so, let alone know how to even begin, I felt incredibly vulnerable as if I was taking down a veil of secrecy. I feared this top level executive would think less of me, think I wasn’t as confident as I wanted him to believe that I was. I’ll never forget what he said; “you’re smart. You’ll figure it out.” Powerful words and an even more powerful lesson to trust myself and own me.
The second was equally as powerful. It was another conversation I had with a different mentor. I told him that after two-years of questioning what I might do next, if/when I left television, I had narrowed it down to three possible lanes; I could work in corporate communications. I could maybe go into the nonprofit sector, or I could start my business and help people with public speaking, presence, presentation and storytelling skills, and yes, of course media training. He said to me; “Liz, you are well-known, you are well respected, you have credibility. That is value. Why would you give that value to anyone else? Start your business and if in six or nine-months you don’t have any clients, or don’t like what you are doing, you can always go and do something else.” It was in that instant, I made the decision to launch my business. The lesson for me was that I wasn’t owning all of me. I wasn’t giving myself enough credit for what I could offer and share with the world. This was an incredibly pivotal day and one I will never forget.
Your career and diligent work has gifted you with incredible exclusive one-on-one interviews with prominent figures such as President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and many more. Can you please share the various emotions you felt before, during, and after those incredible experiences?
When you know you are about to meet a world leader, such as the President, or an icon like Oprah, of course, there are nerves! You want to make a good impression. You want them to like you. All of those are human emotions, but each and every time—especially when I was about to meet President Obama—I kept telling myself, be fully present. Enjoy this moment. Just be you. It’s an honor to meet a sitting president no matter one’s politics. Not many people have that kind of opportunity. I feel very fortunate, but it also took me four years to get that interview, so I was determined to make the most of it, and I did. It’s a day that I will never forget. Perhaps one of my proudest television memories too.
If someone who reads your book only remembers one thing, what do you hope that would be?
No knowledge is ever wasted! If I can create “next chapters” for myself, so can they!
For the readers who are emotionally ready to leap into their next chapter, where can they buy your book?
As a successful entrepreneur, what advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. It’s one thing to have a vision. It’s another to implement it. It takes initiative, determination and perseverance. Surround yourself with good people who have strengths in the areas that you don’t. Be willing to be vulnerable and ask questions. It may very well not be an easy path, but if you believe in yourself, if you give yourself permission to take that leap of faith, it can be an incredibly rewarding journey.