“Courage empowers us to reconcile the past, stand in the present,
and shape the future.”
Courageous Living is an approach to life defined by honor, humility, integrity, compassion, faith, honesty, and strength of heart. Whether we’re just getting started in life, winding down an active career or in transition, or reinventing ourselves somewhere along the way, each season of life demands newfound courage. The Five Pillars outlined below are a code for living courageously that I use in my talks, workshops and on my web site, www.kendruck.com as a Manifesto. They were designed as guidelines for those of us who aspire to become the highest and best versions of ourselves—and make the world a better place.
By cultivating the spirit and practices of each Pillar, we develop qualities that are both grounding and transcendent. Together, they make up the secret sauce that helps us “ripen” as human beings; and become ambassadors of loving-kindness, joy, peace, and gratitude.
Let’s take a closer look at The Five Pillars of Courageous Living:
Pillar #1: Honest Self-Assessment
Becoming the better, stronger, smarter version of ourselves begins with self-reflection and taking an honest inventory of our lives. By doing so, and also by telling ourselves the truth about what we discover, we become aware of the ways in which we can make mid-course corrections and awaken to, and activate, our highest potential.
Pillar #2: A Strong Work Ethic for Facing In
Aspiring to be the best versions of ourselves, we choose to bravely face into, rather than turn away from, life’s challenges, and to harvest its opportunities. We reach down inside of ourselves to summon the newfound strength, faith, vision, empathy, wisdom, courage, humility, and integrity that allows us to move purposefully through the moments, years, and seasons of our lives. Despite the temptation to hide, deny, repress, and avoid this inner work and world mastery, we take a deep breath, roll up our sleeves, and get to work on the things that really matter—including our own health and well-being, as well as that of those we love.
Pillar #3: A Resilient Spirit
Learning how to turn life’s adversities, setbacks, rough stretches, and losses into opportunities for personal and spiritual growth, we build resilience—and character. In addition to processing our innermost feelings, our persistence, fierce determination, and faith, propel us to higher levels of effectiveness, awareness, and compassion. Whether we’re caught up in the demands of career and family, or going through intensely stressful times of our lives, our resilient spirits allow us to prevail. We are works in progress as we continue to learn, stretch, grow, flex, and upgrade our Operating Systems as times and circumstances change.
Pillar #4: A Willingness to Reimagine the Future
The practice of Courageous Living shows us how to live fully in the hours, minutes, and days of our lives—and to reconcile the past. The process of reimagining, however, allows us to time-travel through our imagination to radiant new visions, understandings, and enthusiasm. Through these bold imaginings, we can discover when and how to change our trajectories and create beautiful new blueprints for serenity, joyfulness, and healing.
Pillar #5: A Grateful Heart for Paying the Good in Our Lives Forward
By living courageously, we also aspire to become the very best parents, children, husbands, wives, co-workers, neighbors, and friends. We also assume our share of social responsibility for leaving the world a better place, showing our gratitude for the blessings, gifts, freedoms, and miracles in our lives. By paying the good forward, we turn darkness into light; face down the ugliness, injustice, pain, and suffering in the world; and become advocates for peace, justice, kindness, equality, and positive social change. In time, our children, grandchildren, and future generations become the beneficiaries of our efforts.
Making a significant quality of life improvement in your life during 2018 will require turning these concepts into action. Whether that means treating yourself with greater kindness and compassion, repairing a broken relationship, improving your health, preparing for retirement, or grieving the loss of someone/something precious and irreplaceable—now is the perfect time to take a deep breath, imagine how much better you are going to feel and take the first steps. I look forward to sharing more about how each of us can transform these conceptual Pillars of Courageous Living into concrete action throughout this coming year.