A recent intimidating encounter with an antagonist that was rude, loud, arrogant, mean, and aggressive taught me a fresh lesson about the need to be able to affirm your bold identity.
A friend of mine who has backyard chickens was hospitalized and since I live in the country and supposedly know about these things, I was elected to be in charge of the care and feeding of the fowl. There was one problem. A small problem in the form of a three pound bird. That rooster had attacked me in the past and defended that back yard as if he was Napoleon launching a campaign. I know where we get the word cocky.
An attitude adjustment was in order. I thought it was on him, but it turns out we both made some changes. After feeling intimidated – okay, maybe scared is closer to the truth – I realized how ridiculous the situation was and with my husband’s coaching, I got bold. I’m not going to give you a blow by blow account, but as I’ve pondered the experience, a timeless tale about the impact of a bold identity came to mind. Most everyone knows the epic story about David and Goliath. A young kid with no experience stepped into his bold identity and slew the giant that had an entire army cowering.
Certainly, there is no comparison with my skirmish and that of David. But I gleaned seven lessons from the legendary encounter of David and Goliath that are as relevant today as they were centuries ago. Methods change, but principles are timeless.
7 Steps to Your Bold Identity
1) The obstacles you face and tough things you go through will build your strength and resilience if you keep the right attitude. David started as a lowly shepherd boy. In the course of his job, he had to kill some lions and bears. He used his spare time to sing and play the harp. All of these skills were keys to promotion. Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.
2) Feelings of inadequacy are normal. You don’t have to feel adequate as long as you know you are not in this alone. David overcame an enemy no one else was willing to fight. He wasn’t deluded into thinking he was the most powerful warrior in the land, but he did know his identity in relationship to God. That was key.
3) Expect criticism – especially from friends and family. David’s brothers were scornful and belittling, but he disregarded their negativity and pressed through until he had audience with the king. Get critical information on which you base decisions directly from the source, lest the facts be tainted by naysayers.
4) Beware of well-meaning advice that doesn’t apply to you. Guidance offered with the best intentions can still be utterly wrong. King Saul thought David should wear the king’s armor. The armor didn’t fit and it wasn’t a strength for the young David. Thankfully, he went with his gut feeling and not the recommendation of others.
5) Show up and do the work. It’s said that David didn’t set out to slay a giant. He set out to take sandwiches to his brothers and the giant got in the way. Sometimes, what seems like drudgery is actually the road to opportunity.
6) Know your strengths. Stay anchored in your core values and remind yourself that you make a difference. Trust yourself. Become a person you are happy to live with all your life. Dare to develop the seeds of possibility that live within your hopes and dreams.
7) Dare to dream. We either live out of memory or imagination. Choosing what is safe and predictable can become a rut- and you know the saying that a rut is just a grave with the ends kicked out of it. Choosing adventure will lead to a life full of twists and turns you cannot predict.
You are like no one else on this planet. You were made to do something, speak something, or create something no one else can do. The challenge is to arrive at the end saying, “Wow, what a ride!” rather than “I’m glad that’s over.” Stepping into your bold identity is not optional – it’s necessary!
Shakespeare summed it up in what might be his shortest soliloquy: “Boldness be my friend”.