“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson
The U.S. Army provides their recruits with a new identity as they attend ten weeks of boot camp. The army knows it will be a while before their behavior mirrors this new identity. As a part of this process, the new recruits memorize and recite, out loud and often, their creed and core values to make the army’s belief system and values their own.
The Soldier’s Creed
I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States and live the Army values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and
proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies
of the United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.
The army knows what I’ve learned: if recruits believe they are U.S. Army soldiers, they will act like U.S. Army soldiers. In the beginning stages of my journey of purpose, just like our new army recruit, I had not yet embraced my true identity. I was more comfortable with who I was instead of who I was created to be. My past looked like it disqualified me from a future of divine purpose. I had no obvious talents. I talked too much, listened too little, spoke with a southern accent while frequently butchering the English language. I write like I talk, I hate to leave home, and I have no college degree. I’ve been divorced, had an affair, despise math, and am frightened to death to try anything I’m not good at. When I looked at me through my own eyes, I didn’t see much potential; my identity screamed mediocrity. Like our young army recruits I needed to go through boot camp if I was ever going to own my identity. I needed classroom instruction on “who I was,” and you may too.
I took a page from the Army and created my own creed, establishing who I believed I was created to be instead of defaulting to one I had become due to the negative tape in my head. I read my personal creed out loud and often daily for ten weeks! It was a part of my personal boot camp and the results were amazing. At first it took a great deal of courage and I felt a tad bit ridiculous talking to myself in the mirror UNTIL I began to come in agreement with that creed and become the person I believed I was created to be. It was amazing. I became who I said I was. I was finally having the courage to be me. What about you? Try writing your own creed and speaking it out loud to yourself for ten weeks. Let me know what happens.