While there are some people who were born with a sense of confidence and self-assured presence, many more of us have had to overcome fears, doubts, insecurities, and perhaps even shame. While these challenges can at times feel insurmountable, I’ve come to wonder if perhaps we are the lucky ones. Through our challenges, we find out who we are deep down inside – what we are made of, what we have to offer, and what matters the most to us. And when we ground ourselves in that self-awareness, we can do incredible things.

There is an old saying: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. In the moment of challenge, we do whatever we have to do to make it through to the other side. If we take time afterwards to reflect on what we learned, we grow. Over time, we get stronger. We learn what is truly important to us, not just what we tell ourselves is important. We learn how to navigate uncertainty and sometimes even danger. We learn how to take care of ourselves and those we love.

And if we step beyond blame and guilt towards both self and others, we become response-able – able to respond to whatever we encounter with dignity, authentic power, and strength. We can take charge of our lives in the most healthy and empowering ways. It’s a process of growing, step-by-step, into our greatest potential – showing up as real, unapologetic, and authentic. There is no secret to how to do this. We just do it. We learn how as we go.

We are living in a time of breaking open of the human spirit – a time when more and more people are standing up to be seen and recognized for all of who they are. Over the next three weeks, I’ll share three videos that address this “coming out” process – this life-long journey of living fully into the real, unapologetic, authentic you.

On the plane flying home from the Netherlands last week, I watched the movie The Greatest Showman. It’s inspired by the life story of P.T. Barnum, best-known for inventing the concept of the big-tent circus. The cast of his circus was made up of people who had been made outcasts of society.

Though there was some criticism when the film was first released for how Barnum was portrayed in the film – not showing some of the abusive aspects of his personality – the overall message of the movie is one of redemption. It’s about standing tall in the unabashed truth of who you are, even when there is risk of rejection or harsh judgment. It’s a story of learning to stand in the power of your heart, march to the beat of your own drum, honor the gifts that you have to bring to the world, and meet life with fierce love and with unapologetic honesty and compassion.    

This week, we begin this short series with a video clip of actress and singer Keala Settle introducing the song “This Is Me” in a backing audition to potential producers and promoters of The Greatest Showman. In the movie, the song is sung by Keala’s character, the bearded lady Lettie Lutz, and the circus performers. This video clip captures the first time that the song was heard by anyone outside of the cast and music team. Therefore, it was the first time that Keala sang this song in public.

In the beginning of this five-minute clip, Keala talks with film director Michael Gracey about her own fears and doubts to fully step out, claim the message of this song, and stand tall and proud to sing it. The song went on to become the “anthem” of the movie, winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

If you have ever struggled to step out of hiding and stand for who you are and what you bring to the world, this song is for you.

 

To watch a clip of the song within the movie with subtitles of the lyrics, click here.

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