Weekly Insight: Do you have the rarest form of courage?

CourageThere is a powerful statement I have heard many times from thought leaders over the years.  Each time I hear it, it stops me in my life tracks like a flashing light at a railroad crossing:

It’s not what we are doing or where we are going that matters.  What matters is who we are becoming

That belief is at the center of my own personal philosophy.  My manifesto is that our core belief system should require us to have a purpose-driven life.  That means we embrace our unique purpose and live each day as we want tomorrow to be.  We must grow in ways that matter, for ourselves and for others.  Our lives must deliver on our promise, for today and for the future.

I’m currently reading a book by Mark Batterson where that truth was again highlighted.  The specific work, SOUL PRINT is captivating on many levels.  As I’ve been delving into his perspective on our uniqueness and the responsibility that carries for our divine destinies, there were four key points that resonated with me.  I’m sharing those with you here with some of my own thoughts but giving full credit for the insight to Mark as the original architect of the work.

  • Insight #1: The rarest form of courage is to be ourselves. (Batterson)

At some point in life we all become conscious of “image” and we strive on some level to conform to what is “acceptable”.  We’re essentially social creatures and we want to be accepted.  And we quite often fall prey to the belief that to achieve acceptance, we have to become someone other than who we are.  And that brings the deepest form of despair.  The alignment of who we are to what we do is the single strongest contributor to how we feel, about ourselves and our life.  When we experience guilt, stress or anxiety, it is most often because we have an alignment issue. But it will take courage to move past the image and be ourselves.

  • Insight #2: When we adopt a second “persona” we agree to live a secondhand life. (Batterson)

When I first read this particular insight it startled me because it brings into focus the fact that the result is the complete opposite of what we set out to achieve.  We adopt an image that is not true to who we are because we think it will give us something “better”. But in fact, it gives us something far less than we deserve. We are always living in the shadow of that image. It does not empower us, it limits us. The best energies have been “used up” by the original.

It brought to mind something my granddaughter said to me a few years ago that stayed with me.  I asked her why she never wore shirts that had celebrity names or pictures on them like so many of her friends. She looked at me rather stunned and said: “Why would I want to wear something with someone else’s picture and name on it?” How insightful! Why indeed.

In the documentary of her 2011 tour, Katy Perry talked about this clearly. She said that everyone was trying to “place” her – to find a spot for her in the market. They were trying to find another star she could emulate and be the next “??”. Her response was brilliant.  She wasn’t interested in being the next anyone.  She was the first Katy Perry. Wonderful!

  • Insight #3:  Self-discovery is a lot like an archeological dig. It takes time and (some) treasures are hidden. (Batterson)

Here is another point where personal courage comes into play. It takes patience and perseverance to know ourselves. It takes real courage to truly see ourselves. And each layer must be sifted and sorted to understand everything that makes us unique. The good, the bad and the beautiful! As Batterson said, some of our best (treasures) are hidden. We have to be willing to not only seek them but to also bring our best selves into the light. As we excavate who we are, we also discover our purpose because we’ll begin to fully understand our unique talents and their value in the world.

  • Insight #4: The longer I live, the more I thank God for the disappointments in my life. (Batterson)

In so many stories of great triumph, it becomes clear that people do not succeed “in spite of” their challenges.  They succeed BECAUSE of their challenges.  It’s a subtle shift in perspective but it’s everything. We can be grateful for what is happening because we can have faith that what is ahead is only possible because of where we are.  The line from this section of the book that went straight into my journal was this:  “Every past experience is preparation for some future opportunity.”


Having that rare form of courage to be ourselves is not an easy path.  It is, however, always the right path. The first step is self-awareness and we then must be able to separate out what in our realm is really a “second-hand” life. We can and must allow ourselves time and perspective. But more importantly we must embrace and celebrate growth from the challenges we encounter.

We need courage to face who we are and courage to grow to the person we can be.

We need courage to be honest with ourselves and honest with the world.

We need to have courage.

But above all, we need to be.