The Courage Map: 13 Principles to Living Boldly by Franziska Iseli

Ahh, courage. One of those words that sounds beautiful and wholesome and obtainable. However, reality is sure in its own opinions that you cannot hold onto this word with any real adequacy if you aren't put through the fire first. This is a portion of my own experience riding the wave of bravery, but it dovetails nicely into the reading of this next book.

Picking up The Courage Map: 13 Principals to Living Boldly by Franziska Iseli was in part due to a random voice over the email asking if I'd be interested in reading the book because of my great love of Brene Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly as well as Rachel Hollis's Girl, Stop Apologizing, and the honest to goodness realization that it was exactly the next type of book I wanted to read. Of course, I found it to be right down the path I wanted to take. 
The Courage Map: 13 Principles for Living Boldly by [Franziska Iseli]
Book Blurb via Amazon
Courage Can Turn an Ordinary Life into an Extraordinary Adventure 

"Why do some people have the courage to make brave decisions and lead exciting, rewarding, and impactful lives while others only sit on the sidelines, watching enviously?

Entrepreneur and adventurer Franziska Iseli believes that anyone can learn to unlock their inner courage and live an extraordinary life. Iseli decided to write a book about courage while on a multi-year motorbike journey around the world. All of that “helmet time” allowed her to ponder what so many people ask her about her businesses and daring international adventures:

Where do you find the courage to do what you do?

In this, her third book, Iseli shares her 13 principles for living a life of courage and breaking through any barriers or obstacles life throws your way.

Embark on this exciting adventure with Iseli as you discover how to unlock the boundless courage and power within you. Here are a few of the amazing life lessons you’ll learn in this book:

Why courage is the most important life skill you need to learn (and yes, anyone can learn to develop more courage!)

The difference between being courageous and being fearless or reckless (and how to distinguish an impostor from the real deal)

How to expand your Courage Boundaries step-by-step so you can systematically grow your ability to take on new challenges and adventures in life

How to define the life you truly want to live, and a process you can follow for sticking to it (especially when things don’t go as planned)

How to develop an irresistible love for life that will draw people to you, and turn something that used to terrify you into an exciting call for adventure. 

Through her personal experiences and quirky sense of humor, Franziska Iseli will help you face everything life may throw at you with courage: from navigating past “poop showers” to making brave decisions without fear of what might happen in the future. Her fresh prose is not only a delight to read, but full of both insight and inspiration.

This isn’t your typical personal development book. This is real, raw, honest, and full of practical life lessons from someone who is walking the walk and living a life of courage, meaning, and impact.

Fans of Born to Shine by Ashley LeMieux, Untamed by Glennon Doyle, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, and Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis will love this book." 

If you want to learn more about the author, her work, and her books, check these out:
Franziska Iseli

I think what caught my attention the most reading through the Introduction to this book was the first line in the second paragraph: "Best of all, courage is a skill that anyone can learn."

Well, I'm ready to learn, and I hope you'll join me on a new journey through the meaning and cultivation of courage! 

Numeric Breakdown:
1: didn't like it
2: it was okay
3. liked it
4. really liked it
5. it was amazing

1. Writing Style: 5/5
The writing style is, of course, first person narrative as the author shares about her journey through developing a principle of courage. Her introduction gives us a glimpse into her life and where her decision to live boldly began. Author Franziska Iseli tells us why courage matters, how to expand our courage boundaries, what courage truly is, and the four pieces that courageous people do every day.

Her narrative is broken into exposition, at times, which shares what courage is and how you can obtain it through living it by habit. There is a clear motif here, despite the nonfiction background, which shares with us the overall concept of courage through habit guiding us to become the person you want to be. It's a state of mind and action which allows you to be consistent and intentional about letting go of fear.

The author does a fine job of sharing her own story while giving the explanation for moving forward with each step she assigns and guides you through. The style is concise, orderly, easy to read, and delivers manageable content. The free Courage Map Journal you receive online to help you monitor your progress through the steps is a delight and keeps the organization and order moving forward. 

2. Text Organization: 5/5
The chapters are broken down into 13 principles on how to embrace and achieve a pattern of courage in your life. Each principle is divided into manageable sub-principles and activities to put you on the right track. It's all easy to follow, gives you the option of pausing and conducting the activity, and is a short enough read that you don't feel overwhelmed trying to read, apply, and finish within a reasonable amount of time. Of course, how little or long you spend on each activity is up to you, but I encourage you to really make an effort on each of the principle activities in order to fully comprehend and gain the most from what the author is trying to share with you. 

This has been an excellent read in terms of authenticity via the author, great apportion of each principle and how to apply it to your life, and an easy to read text when gives you the flexibility to start and pause as you go. The free Courage Map Journal is an extra which helps anchor your responses and gives you someplace to write your thoughts, feelings, actions, and what you notice as you work through the book. 

3. Overall Content: 5/5
I'm going to walk you through the 13 Principles in this section, and I'm going to spend a little bit of time over each one and the sub-principles and activities it gives. It's my hope that seeing the content and hearing the context in which I've started to apply it to my life might help you see how it could and would benefit your own. As always, there may be *SPOILERS* as a part of this process, and I'm warning you now in case you want to pause here. 

The first principle starts with "Stories." The author shares a profound truth that I think all readers will feel resonates with them, and that is: you are your stories. Your stories and the way they have shaped you throughout life are there each and everyday you live and breathe. Those stories have sculpted you through their significance, interpretation, and action. You have, either, taken the story and created a pathway to courage and overcoming, or you have built upon the fear and negative perspective that eats away at you. 

Franziska shares how we all go back to the essential beings in our life and realize: "My parents have messed me up" (pg 16). However, she would like to remind us that our parents didn't have us with the express vision of damaging us. It wasn't their first thought: "I want to have children so I can destroy their hopes, dreams, gifts, and souls." If that were the case, we'd be in significantly more trouble in this world than we previously realized. 

Instead, we must come to terms with the fact that our parents are trying to do the best they can based on their own experiences. We must, also, decide how we are going to allow those experiences to gain meaning in our lives. This is easier as an adult looking back than it would be as a child thrust in the midst of a home life they feel they have no control over. However, there are some ways we can start guiding our mental habits into a more positive state of mind. 

Every story is another "layer you add to your being" (pg 17), and you can allow those "disempowering stories" to create "limiting beliefs" about who you are, or you can start "shedding or rewriting the stories that don't serve you any longer" (pg 17). 

The stories you keep with you and "tell yourself are powerful" (pg 18). "They can make you live with irrational fears for years to come, or they can enable you to act from a place of calm courage. You are the author of your own stories" (pg 18). 

The author shares a story regarding her dad and her time attending horse riding events. This is established over pages 19-20, for those of you ready to jump in and read it, but I wanted to give my own perspective in regard to the message Iseli is sharing with readers. 

To adopt this strategy of changing my own story, I thought about an interaction which could have been taken negatively. I was in the beginnings of a relationship with someone I considered on the "same page" as me. We had a lot of shared interests, similar backgrounds to one degree or another, both believed in the Lord, and were serious about making Jesus a part of our relationship foundation. 

Since there were several positive signs, I was encouraged to continue with this relationship, and I hoped I was on the right track. It's so hard to date in this day and age with online dating, fishers, scammers, ghosters, and the like. So, I thought I'd found a positive base to get to know this person. 

As the relationship progressed to a third outing, I was soon to be disappointed. The guy in question didn't seem to be on the same page as me at all. He gave me excuses, lied to me, and then ghosted me. Now, at the time, I was disappointed. It definitely hurts to be dismissed out of hand and without knowing why. This person wasn't being upfront, and they weren't being completely truthful about how they wanted to move forward. You could say, their lack of communication sealed up those doubts in a hurry. 

Although feeling a little uncertain about what had gone wrong, I did second guess everything I had said and he had said and our time together. Of course, this doesn't help anything. It could be noted that I began to look at this from the perspective: what did I do wrong? And even though I'm sure there's a possibility that I could have done something wrong, I feel convicted to not choose to settle for blaming myself. 

There's a chance I could look at other situations in my past and compare this time in my life to those times in my life. I could become negative and sad very quickly. I could pour on the self-blame, the recriminations, the doubts, the feelings of abandonment, the feelings of never being good enough, and I could drown in them all. 

But why? 

As Iseli shares, I can see this story in a way that serves me as a person. I can see it as an adventure. I can see it as a lesson. I can see it as a way of growing and understanding. I can see it as a way of God protecting me and showing me that there is something better out there for me, whether it's a significant other or a new confidence in myself and my ability to be happy, joyful, and at peace on my own. I definitely explore those other options in my newest love poetry book Broken Hearts Can Still Love

So, even at this point, I'm understanding the meaning that Author Franziska Iseli is bringing to the table in her book, The Courage Map. I love that she encourages us to "be gentle with yourself as you reexamine your own stories" (pg 20). 

Next, Iseli touches on how drama can affect our ability to be courageous. Again, we can feed into this "irrational human behavior of overreacting or making something bigger than it is" (pg 21). Drama is really just a "call for someone else's attention" (pg 21). When we are in a state of drama, we have to be the center of attention. Our issues are that much worse than anyone else's, and we need the recognition those stories of drama deserve. 

This is a stumbling block in our growth and elevation to a courageous frame of mind. Because in this moment, we are the victim or we're playing the victim or we're supporting the person who's playing the victim. This is not a healthy lifestyle for us or the other person (people) involved in this story. When dealing with this type of situation, you need to be kind, but you can't feed into the behavior or judge it. 

We're all complex human beings, and we might react differently to a situation than someone else. However, our motivation for reacting in anger, disappointment, sadness, bitterness, or drama is because of how we are allowing that story to impact us. You can't take it personally, and you can't fight back. Instead, you have to realize that these dramatic stories are being handled in this particular fashion because of the storyline a person has interpreted. 

Again, how we chose to see what someone else is doing and how it effects us can be caused by our own motivation. We can look for the lesson or the good in the situation, or we can see only the bad and react. Most of our reactions are based in some sort of fear. If we are able to react in love and courage instead of fear, we would have better insight into what the other person or ourselves are facing and why we're presenting the behaviors we've indulged. 

Most of the time, we have to remind ourselves not to take what someone says to us, especially in anger, seriously. We can try to look for the positive message behind the negative presentation. It can be difficult, but if we choose to relook at the situation, relationship, or event, we can hold onto the uplifting point of view. 
When you get caught up in someone else's moment, remember not to "adopt that experience as a disempowering story" (pg 23). 

In order to begin your transformation story, you need to think about and follow-through with these 3 steps: 

a. Observe Your Thoughts: Take time to observe those stories that are coming into your mind and being acted out in your world. As you observe, make connections to the patterns you are experiencing in your thoughts. Kind of a "when I think of A, B happens, and C makes me feel worse or better" type of process. 

Going back to what I shared earlier, if I take the relationship that didn't succeed and try to find the pattern of what happens after that breakdown, I might see my thoughts wander toward blame, feelings of failure, and the idea that I'm not good enough. However, if I try to "rewrite" that story as Iseli suggests and look at it in a new light, I can see how the relationship wasn't the one for me. My takeaway could be that there's something greater for me down the road. There is, also, the understanding of how being alone can help me achieve the goals and dreams I might not have the time or opportunity for if I'm in a relationship at this time. So, I'm looking at "what meaning am I giving to an experience" (pg 24)? 

b. Rewrite Your Stories: When you start listening to your thoughts and really observing them, even writing them down, and finding those patterns, you can see where you need to "rewrite some and feed your mind with stories that support you in becoming courageous" (pg 25). During this time, you need to see what your motivation is for wanting to change your story. If the story you're telling yourself is "fulfilling a certain need," there's a chance you aren't ready to change that story. 

However, if you can "find another way to feel loved so you can leave the old story behind" (pg 25), then you will be able to start a new story and a new pattern of learning and living. Sometimes, it helps to write down the positive beliefs you wish to adopt over the negative ones. The author shares a five of her own beliefs on page 25, but I want to share a few of my own:
  • I trust the Lord is creating a positive life for me to live because He knows the paths He has for me as shared in Jeremiah 29:11. 
  • People's opinions of me do not define me as a person and can be used to learn lessons and grow. 
  • I'm not in charge of saving anyone, but I can direct them to the One who saves.
  • I can be adaptable to the challenges I face.
  • I can see the good in others, even if they aren't sharing their best moment with me. 
Author Franziska Iseli shows how we can take the blame off of others as well as ourselves by seeing the message, meaning, and lesson in what we face each day. By giving it a positive name instead of a negative one. Just as with our parents, we can choose to blame them for how our lives have turned out, or we can empower ourselves and them by saying, "They did the best they could with what they had." 

I would like to add a caveat to this option. I think it's good to go to a person who has hurt or offended you and try to share with them what they did and how it effected you. This is not to mean you are going in with anger and guns blazing and spewing that blame upon them, but instead, go in a calm manner, tell them how they hurt you, and let them know you'd appreciate if they would do x, y, z in another way. This may or may not work. However, at least you have shared the pain with them, and they can either make amends and work toward changing their behavior as well, or you can forgive them, realize they need to make those changes without you, and move on with a fresh heart. Their drama doesn't need to continue to be held onto by you. 

With this in mind, note that some of these experiences "might have been incredibly difficult, leaving behind deep wounds and scars. Be gentle and patient with yourself. Take one step at a time and seek help from a therapist or close friend when you need it" (pg 25).

c. Take Consistent Action: Once you've observed these patterns, replaced the negative reinforcement of your thoughts over these difficult situations, (for me adding forgiveness to the mix of self or others), found positive belief statements to replace the old pessimistic statements, you have to take action. Start utilizing these statements in a small way. As you step out in courage, you will be able to embrace your new way of responding. Making habits, practicing those habits, and solidifying those habits will help you to "create ripple effects by ..." utilizing action. 

For example, one of my bullet points above is in "trusting the Lord to help create a positive life for me." I can act on that positive lifestyle by sharing and showing others a positive way of living. Such as: sharing my writing in the hopes of making an impact or difference, sharing my positive interactions with others in order to maintain a joyful outlook on life, sharing my story and how I'm rewriting it in order to inspire others to live courageously, and pray and read my Scriptures to find those verses and chapters to reinforce this confident and optimistic outlook. 

There are certainly more ideas that will come with time, but I think this is a great start to my understanding and incorporation of the first principle of living boldly that Iseli is trying to impart to me and other readers. 

I don't necessarily have time to break down and give examples for all of the other 12 Principles the author gives us in this book, but I will touch base on them briefly, giving what I feel are the highlights, in order to make you even more acquainted with this book and how it can improve you life. 

The second principle is "Truth." Iseli first asks readers to determine what their own truth is and how it shapes them and their actions. This might be a great moment to sit down and think of what your truth might be in terms of your finances, relationships, and career. You might facing a lack of success in any or all of these areas, and your underlying thought-process can activate your actions which then become your habits. 

These habits might not align with what you are truly seeking within your life. Therefore, you need to know your values. What do you value, and why will it be a great insight into your truth? "Knowing your truth is also about understanding who you are- not what you do or what your own, but who you are as a human being" (pg 29). 

Once you recognize what your values are it will be easier to stand for them, honor them, and act upon them. "Having clear values gives you the courage to maintain your integrity in situations or relationships that pressure you to act according to other peoples' values, intentionally or not" (pg 29). 

Wow. That's a lot of truth packed into that statement alone. What we stand for can create the world around us. 

Owning your truth can lend you a place of grace. On the foundation of your values, you can understand yourself and respect yourself and others. You might not be able to agree with others on certain topics, but you can still accept, without judgement, their perception of events. You can see that other's disrespect comes from a place of fear, and it doesn't need to become a weapon against you. 

Remember, other people have their own stories because of the life they have lead and how they have reacted and incorporated those beliefs into their story. Being able to react with respect, out of love and even forgiveness when necessary, to what you are being subjected to is a form of courage. You can share respect and dignity with another even when you disagree with them. You can also "choose to bow out of spending time together" (pg 32) with that person. Reacting from a place of judgment will not change someone's mind about how they see an event, person, situation, or lifestyle. 

You can always "voice your opinion in a graceful way, without showing disdain or judgment" (pg 35), and this might lead others to be more open to hearing your opinions, values, and truth because you are being kind to them. 

Within this chapter, the author goes on to break down truth traps, entitlement, ignorance, making assumptions (which you know just makes an a** out of you and me), lack of appreciation, and inconsistency. Each section is an important part of understanding how you can understand your own values, react with your own truth, not see other's opinions as threats, and maintain your voice with habit. 

"Principle 3: Intentions" begins with giving us the option to choose our adventure. We can see our adventure as a way to "use our values to make sure we are making decisions that are aligned with our truth" (pg 40). 

During the breakdown of this chapter, you are asked, "How do you want to show up?" A wonderful way to get started is to write down your personal intentions. Those intentions will lead you to take action, and you want your actions to reflect the story you hope to tell and the truth you want to exhibit. 

Your intentions are different from your goals, although they might seem very similar. While goals can be check-marked when accomplished and added to as your goals grow and evolve, having intentions is more "a way of living" (pg 42). When picking your intentions, you want them to reflect your goal of living courageously. 

You'll want to "pick your style," "push yourself - just a little bit," "align your intentions with your values," "manage your state," and "set your sails." 

"Principle 4: Trust" reminds me of the story I want to write. I want to trust the Lord will help me down the paths I take. With that in mind, I thought about the sub-sections within this chapter as guidance on how to put my trust more fully in Him. 

a. Trust in Your Abilities: I can do this because I'm told that I've been equipped with everything I need from the beginning. God has already placed everything inside of me to become the person I've been created to be. This includes my gifts, talents, passions, and values. Like Dr. Tony Evans shared on his sermon "The Secret of the Seed."

b. The Universe Has Your Back: The author has this as one of her core beliefs, and she finds that is assists her in making those brave decisions. I can see her point here, but I would like to align this piece back to my own belief. I'd rather say, God Has My Back. It helps me to see how He is helping me to live boldly, defeat fear, and rely on the trust I place in Him. 

The Scripture from John 14:27: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" reminds me that I have the ability to trust. If I can trust in the Lord, then I can trust in my ability to make decisions based on my foundation in Him. 

As you see, I'm taking what Iseli is sharing with us, and I'm applying it and reflecting it back to my core beliefs in order to align it with my truth and build on the trust I'm operating. I love when I can take a book and immerse it in my life, knowledge, hopes, dreams, and principles of how I want to live my life. There's a few other subsections to this chapter, but I'm going to head to the next.

"Principle 5: Intuition": Iseli tells us that our intuition is "one of the most powerful tools in our toolbox when it comes to living courageously" (pg 56). She explains that intuition is "based on the subconscious processing information you have gathered through your lifetime of experiences" (pg 57). It's that moment when "'something' tells you to remove yourself from a place or situation because it's not quite right, but you don't know why" (pg 57). 

I've had this before, and I know others have as well. Sometimes, I call it discernment. It's that insight or perception of knowing there's something more happening than what is being seen with the physical eye. 

For me, I've always seen it as a way for the Lord to communicate with me in an inner way which can alert me to what might be happening around me. There are times when I feel my intuition is spot on, and other times, I feel as if I have missed the mark. Iseli gives us seven ways to tap into that intuition. 

a. Tune In And Observe: "Practice self-awareness" and learn to understand what your body and mind is trying to tell you based on what you see, hear, and feel. Be open to interpreting those pieces. "Pay attention to your physical reactions" (pg 59). You don't need to use these insights as way to say no to what you're attempting to do, but it is good to utilize this wisdom to make better choices and to not react in fear. 

b. Connect With Your Heart: For me, this means looking into those unseen stored "information and memories" to keep my heart open and understand what lessons I'm being asked to remember. 

c. Practice Mindfulness: This is a popular phrase in today's world. I'd like to put my own spin on it. I think of mindfulness as moments to think and to practice peace. In my way, I will sit and consider an issue I'm dealing with. I will acknowledge how the situation makes me feel. Then, an attempt will be made to figure out why I'm feeling this way: what has happened in the past to throw up this guard or negative story? After, I sit with Jesus. I tell him how I'm thinking and feeling. I share with Him my worry. I pray for peace, mercy, and grace. I seek forgiveness if needed, or I accept the need to give forgiveness. In the end, I picture myself handing it over to Him and asking him to help me know what I need to do to get through that trial. This brings an immeasurable amount of peace. 

d. Embrace Solitude: Enjoy those moments of quiet, rest, ability to do nothing. This is a great time to practice that mindfulness, to pray, to meditate on all the positive areas of your life. It's good time to go on a walk, swing, swim, breathe deeply.

e. Make Decisions Faster: In order to do this, the author encourages readers to rely more on their intuition to process the information and make decisions quicker. This helps prevent procrastination and indecision.  

"Principle 6: Love": Being able to keep an open heart is knowing the difference between love and fear. It's the ability to create a "connection to yourself" by finding that inner calm and authenticity. You don't have to worry about running out of love, dividing your love, or giving your love in fear. 

"Love is infinite" (pg 67). So often, we rely on love being conditional. I love you when you do this. I love you when you say that. I love you when you are this way. However, this is NOT the true meaning of love. Love abounds in so many different representations when we allow it to be seen without any conditions. 

Your experiences incorporated into your life's story, founded by your perceptions, and nourished by your truth and intentions develops your trust and intuition, and should strengthen your love. If you are living in a negative and fake world, you aren't able to be open to sharing your love with others. Instead, it will always be conditional because of what you've been taught and how you see love as a whole. 

"Challenging emotions are part of living" (pg 69). Delving into your emotions and learning how they can teach you in your life, and being open to their uncomfortable feelings, will allow you to grow. It will also help you to accept yourself, how you love yourself, and how you love others. This directs us back to those story moments where we might need to rewrite our story, and where we need to understand where others are coming from in order to love more abundantly and freely. 

"Principle 7: Kindness": Some key sections I really enjoyed and found valuable in this chapter were "Be Kind to Yourself," "Always Respond With Kindness," and "How to Move to Kindness." The other subsections of this chapter give insight into how to manage kindness in your life. Personally, I've always been fascinated by the act of being kind. It's something I've always tried to aspire to and put into action during all of my interactions. I'm sure there are times when I have failed miserably, but it is something I sincerely believe in and try to enact it within every part of my world. 

These key points within this chapter were very helpful to me, and I can say they are ones I will go back to reread at a later date. These things are pointed out by the author as ways we can move toward kindness: "People Are Doing The Best They Can," "Conspire For People's Success," "Be the Observer, Not the Judger," "Pick Your Flavor," "Meet People At Their Level And Then Lift Them Up," and "Make 'Always Respond With Kindness' A Habit." 

Each of these points are incredibly important and enlightening, but I loved "Meet People At Their Level And Then Lift Them Up." This is an area I try to work toward every day. I want the people I interact with to know I care, want them to prosper, am willing to help them, and wish to be there for them. 

"Principle 8: Imperfection": This was an awesome chapter to read because it reflected back, for me, to my reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. That was such a powerful read for me, and I have been working toward relooking at it with fresh and purposeful eyes. So, chapter eight gave me time to learn more and see what imperfection means through the eyes of Author Franziska Iseli. 

Our desire to find and create perfection leaves us stuck in one place. Nothing is perfect. No one is perfect. Choices are messy. Life is full of pros and cons. "'I'm just waiting for the right moment' is an excuse to not show up and be courageous" (pg 83). How true this is. We might not see it in this light, but if we always wait for the "right moment," we might not ever move forward. 

If I waited for perfection, I never would have went to school and trained to become an elementary teacher. If I waited for perfection, I never would have become an Indie Author and started to create my own stories and put them out there for others' entertainment and edification. If I waited for perfection, I never would have learned how to drive on a manual, double-cab truck (Thank you, Dad!). If I waited for perfection, I never would have learned to begin to accept myself for who I am. If I waited for perfection, I never would have started to see my mistakes as stepping stools to my future success. 

There are a lot of reasons not to try, but you should never allow your fear of failure, your hope for perfection, and your reliance on others' perceptions to keep you out of the game. You have gifts and talents to share. Not everyone will like what you have to give, but at the end of the day, your ability to be courageous and try is far more valuable than anything anyone has to say about it. 

"Principle 9: Non-Attachment": I'll be honest, this was one portion of her teaching that I had a hard time wrapping my mind around. I'm not certain I've come to grips with it completely, even though I understand several of the points she made in regard to it. 

To give you a brief overview, Iseli shares that "non-attachment doesn't mean not trying" (91). We all have desires, hopes, dreams, and goals, but throughout this chapter she's encouraging us to let go of the outcome. She remarks that when you "stop worrying about the outcome and start focusing on the present moment, you will be guided by courage instead of fear" (pg 91). 

Iseli gives us a piece of freedom by letting us know that when we let go of the outcome and base our decisions in courage, we are allowing the end result to be whatever it is "meant to be." "Whether you think it's good or bad, it is what it is. The world settles itself" (pg 91). 

I'm not sure if this is freeing or creates even more fear, lol. It's certainly something to think about, and she provides a lot of examples to breakdown her principle and help you understand it more. So far, out of all her chapters, I have to say I find this one - perhaps - the scariest. She encourages readers to "find clarity," "commit," and "detach" when going through this process of learning to let go and seek non-attachment. 

The one quote which stuck out to me as I read was "I've been challenging myself to detach more from material things because I know that, as much as it's nice to have stuff, it's not the stuff that supports you in living your best life" (pg 92). This is something worth considering and applying to your lifestyle of courage. 

"Principle 10: Flow": We are introduced to this section by a heading that pops out a little ways down the first page of its instruction: "Adaptability Is Your Secret Power." Reading through this principle, we find that our ability to adapt, go with the flow, and not fight against change (when it's necessary) is integral to our growth toward a courageous life. The most important sections for me were the areas where Iseli breaks down ways you can embrace the concept of flow. "Push Gracefully," "Surrender And Then Surrender Some More," "Be A Chameleon," "Embrace Option B," "Say Goodbye to Your Inner Control Freak," and "Be Present" were all fabulous pieces of this bigger thought-process.

I found "Say Goodbye to Your Inner Control Freak" a bit humorous, but it was valuable as a reminder of how we can't control everything. Remember the chapter on Imperfection and Trust. Sometimes, we have to take ourselves out of the equation in order to fully appreciate the moment. It's definitely piggy-backing off the concept of non-attachment and rewriting your story. If Plan A doesn't work out, we can always create a Plan B. 

"Principle 11: Playfulness": This might be one of my favorite chapters. I think, in life, we become so focused on the outcomes, the need for perfection, the desire to have others see us as valuable, that we forget to just enjoy the moments as they come. 

I was standing outside with my pups the other day, and it hit me, I don't enjoy the sunshine, fresh air, and beautiful tree shade as much as I should. I can blame my hesitation about being outside on my allergies (which have kicked up with the Spring), but I think it was the ability to realize my mistake and take a few minutes to really appreciate the outdoors that was most important. I took in the breeze. I relaxed in the sunlight. I lived in the present. It was a miraculous feeling, and it gave me a greater sense of peace. 

Throughout this chapter, I tried to think of moments when I had a piece of playfulness in my life. I thought of the voices I do for our pups and the "messages" I pretend they are telling each other and my mom. I took time to write letters to people who are dear to me, and who I sometimes don't reach out to enough. I thought about the invitations I've received lately from friends to join their church women's group, their introductory yoga class via online, how one friend asked if she could use my poems as part of her online class, how my friends have checked in on me to see how I've been, how one friend sent me homemade cards, how I joined online classes during this time of quarantine, how I've been able to write more often and with greater routine, how I've been asked about when the next book in my Christian Fiction series will be out, and how others have shared pictures and songs to cheer me on and make me smile. 

The blessings are there, and I need to recognize them more often. This chapter reestablished this knowledge and need within me. It was thought-provoking and provided seven ways to be more playful.😊

"Principle 12: Evolution": This chapter is certainly a powerful and empowering read. It gets to the heart of realizing how we change when we refocus our mind, relook at our memories in a new light, and begin to put into practice what we hear preached. It's a beautiful weapon in this world, when we see ourselves grow and change with confidence. 

Iseli tells us during this read that, "As you go through life, you often have to reinvent yourself multiple times" (121). I sat back to think through this statement when I read it. How true it is. We aren't always the little child in the corner crying over our skinned knees. We aren't always the person who was "dumped" needing to figure out what we did wrong. We aren't always the person sitting alone at a table of couples. We aren't always the person who made a mistake on their project and had it pointed out by the boss. 

These are glimpses into our lives. They are moments, but they aren't what define us as a whole. They're simply the pieces of the puzzle which are creating who we are and who we're meant to be. However, we can see these situations in a new light and grow from them. 

We might have cried in the corner over skinned knees, but we were able to clean them up, bandage them, and go back out and play. Or we had someone there to help us bandage those knees. Either way, we were showing ourselves love and kindness, or we had someone else sharing that with us. 

We might have been dumped, or in this technology-driven world, ghosted, but it doesn't mean we're to blame. There are two consenting adults in the relationship. Each needs to take on their responsibility. If you made mistakes, recognize them and. consider what you could do better in the future. Then, move on. You can't stay stuck in the same place enveloped in self-pity. It makes for a very heavy and wet blanket.

We're alone with our friends who have significant others. Big Deal. You know what I have? A family who loves me, two pups who have to be stuck to my side like glue, a writing career meant to inspire and entertain, the ability to learn a new language (Ja! Alles ist gut!), time to take writing classes (Did you know how amazing of an instructor that Neil Gaiman is?), and the moment to spend time with dear friends who I'm happy for and love. 

I made a mistake! Good. Now, I know what to do better the next time. Humiliation? Embarrassment? The fear of not being good enough? Well, I need to rethink this picture: I'm here to learn. I'm here to make mistakes. I'm here to grow. I'm here to get better. I'm here to be a help. I'm here to share the burden. I'm here to care and give kindness. So, maybe I made a mistake, but I know I'll learn from it and try even harder the next time. 

See? Evolution. I'm growing and changing all the time, and I know I'm working toward becoming what God created me to be. I've got all the seed material to grow into whatever tree I will become. 

Grow on.😉

"Principle 13: Commitment": You have to be determined to reach these goals for yourself. No one else is going to do it for you and allow you to reap the rewards. That isn't how life works, which I'm sure you've already realized. So, you have to make a commitment to yourself to put your foot forward and keep walking. That's why all of these steps are vital in determining what and who and how you want to become. 

In this chapter, we see that every principle is a building block to living a committed courageous lifestyle. Sometimes you have to start over at Principle 1, and that's okay. The meaning you give to each of these steps will be worth it when you walk free from fear. It's a process, and you're on your way just by reading this review and picking up the book The Courage Map

The most important subsection in this chapter is the #1 step toward commitment: "Identify Your Goals" (pg 131). Here is where you ask yourself: "Where in your life would you like to have more courage?" Pick one and work on it by going over these steps. Whether it's your career, your relationships, an adventure, or just the act of overcoming, you have the ability and power to make those changes. 

Start at Principle 1 and make the decision to see your goal through. Really commit to the change, and I know you won't regret it. I've started the process myself, and I'm feeling really good about where I am right now, even if not all of my goals are aligned the way I want them to be. 

Two quotes I value from this section of learning are: "How you show up and act right now is your choice" and "A courageous leader is someone who can lead with kindness, compassion, and empathy" (pg 135). These are my hopes, and I'm ready to commit to the process. 

4. Evaluation/Analysis of What I've Learned: 5/5
Ahh, what haven't I learned? This has been a potent look into my life and the way I see myself. It's been a beautiful journey figuring out how I can apply the principles set out in Author Franziska Iseli's book to my own life. The Courage Map is a book which makes a difference. It helped me to apply the concepts shared and create my own list of values, truths, and commitment.

So, I leave you with this to consider: 
You have the potential inside of you to be courageous. How do you want to grow in courage, and are you willing to start now? 

Thank you for joining me, and as always, Happy Reading!!
~Rebecca Reddell


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