“This Wallace doesn’t even have a knighthood but he fights with passion and he inspires” – Robert the Bruce
Braveheart is usually a movie that makes it to the top ten list of most men. It is nearly a twenty year old movie and it still continually surfaces in conversations all over America. There was undeniably something about the DNA of this movie that stirs the souls of men (and visionary women) like none other.
Like most of us, the main character in, William Wallace, was a commoner seeking a quiet life of peace and comfort. However, Wallace’s life got interrupted with a tragedy that transformed him from a commoner to a revolutionary. What makes this movie so different than other with similar story lines is that it feels believable. Therefore, we find ourselves lost in the plot curious what we ourselves are capable of and what mission we might be called to. Maybe, just maybe, that is exactly what God wants to bring to light as you read this blog post.
So what was the code that the commoner William Wallace lived by to ignite such a revolution ? Here are 14 of them.
1. A Braveheart leader turns their wounds into weapons
"We married in secret, because I would not share her with an English Lord. They killed her to get to me.”
Wallace’s cause found him through a tragedy. He wanted to settle down and live at peace with his wife – until she was taken away from him. After her death, he felt the pain of so many others throughout his nation. He could have let the pain of her death crush him into a lifelong depression, but he didn’t. He turned his deepest pain into his purpose for living. It is no surprise that many of the most impactful ministries and charities today were birthed out someones crises experience.
Is there any pain in the world that God is asking you to alleviate as your mission?
2. A Braveheart leader is laser focused
“You think the people of this country exist to provide you with position, I think your position exist to provide those people with freedom. And I go to make sure they have it.”
There were probably many injustices that Wallace could have fought for. He could have fought solely against prima nocte (the right for an English Lord to take a man’s wife for himself on her wedding night) which would have been a just cause. But he chose to go after the root. In one word Wallace chose to fight for: freedom. Wallace’s mission was crystal clear.
In one word, what is the task, mission, or injustice that you feel God wants you to act on?
3. A Braveheart leader leads from the frontlines
"Aye. Fight and you may die. Run and you will live at least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now would you be willing to tell our enemies that they may take our lives but they will never take our freedom!"
While the generals from the English army called the shots from behind their men. Wallace battled from the front of the pack. He was not a man of mere words, but a man of frontline action. His calloused hands, bloodied face, and scars were all a major reason so many men wanted to follow him. When men saw Wallace attempt things things that no commoner had attempted before they were awakened to greatness and quickly rallied behind him.
Is your life a daring example of your cause that you are calling people to?
4. A Braveheart leader has contagious courage
“People don’t follow titles, people follow courage”
Wallace did not wave banners to get men to join his cause. He did not have applications. Infact, he told some to go home. But his personal courage and willingness to act on it became contagious. However, it was not just his courage that made people want to join him. It was also the content of his character. A reckless man with courage will have a few followers but a courageous man with character will have an army. It did not take long for Wallace to have an army.
Is your courage for your mission backed by godly character?
5. A Braveheart leader takes initiative
“I am going to pick a fight.”
Wallace was not reactive – he was proactive. He had a forward advancing mentality. He rarely defended himself because he was usually the one with the plan moving forward. His advancements were always strategic and planned. If you are going to make a difference in the world you will have to be a person of initiative. Passivity will get you no where.
When will you seize initiative and begin to advance you God-given mission?
6. A Braveheart leader speaks with words that transform the heart
“First learn to use this (head) then I’ll teach you how to use this (sword)”
Wallace was a warrior poet. Sure everyone wants a Claymore sword after watching Braveheart, but it was the poetry in which he spoke that made him a revolutionary. He never wasted a sentence. He had developed a way of perceiving and discerning what needed to be said. He didn’t use meaningless chatter or lofty paragraphs. He used the right words – clear, concise, and passionate – at the right time. His words pierced the hearts of commoners, nobles, and the Longshanks alike. His 100 second speech at Sterling transformed an army of highlanders and the last word he spoke at his execution is why you left the theatre inspired.
Are you wise and discerning in the way that you speak to those who embrace and oppose your mission?
7. A Braveheart leader is inventive
“Its our wits that make us men”
At a young age Wallace was taught that wits – mental sharpness, keen intelligence, and inventiveness – were more important than the sword. Mindless rage warfare would only take him so far with the odds stacked against him. So he continually observed his surroundings and came up with ground breaking strategies. He came up with creative tactics that no one had ever thought about before, which constantly threw his enemies off guard. His success in battle was primarily due to his ability to invent, not due to the strength of their numbers, skill, or weapons
What creative ideas do you have in place for your mission?
8. A Braveheart leader surrounds himself with like-minded comrades
“Your a madman”…”I’ve come to the right place then.”
Wallace led hundreds of men, but he seemed to draw much of his strength from his madmen friends the Irishmen and his childhood friend. These three men stood together in the midst of ridicule from their enemies and fellow commoners alike. Their bond was deep, their conversations were transparent, and they had each others back.
Who has your back in the mission you are embarking on?
9. A Braveheart leader is optimistic in the face of the impossible.
“Why…why is that impossible?”
Nearly every word spoken from Wallace was full of optimism and hope for his nation. When the nobles argued about making negotiations with the English, Wallace silently walked away. When declaring that he would invade England, he was ridiculed by the very men that had just knighted him. His belief in the impossible, stirred so deeply in Robert the Bruce that Robert told his dying father that he wanted to believe like Wallace believed. What some saw as impossible barriers Wallace saw as hurdles to climb over.
What are the impossible barriers that you will face as you embrace your mission?
10. A Braveheart leader empowers others
“You are the rightful leader and there is strength in you. I see it”
Perhaps one of the key traits of Wallace becoming a revolutionary was his ability to see the God-given potential in others. He didn’t belittle his followers, he elevated them. He declared that his fighting men were free men at the battle of Sterling. He also took the liberty to tell the future King of Scotland that there was strength in him to lead his people to freedom, and he held nothing back to tell the future queen of England that she must open her eyes when she becomes queen. All of these people rose to his expectations.
Do you empower and release people who rally around your cause or stifle them?
11. A Braveheart leader gets strength from God
“I am so afraid. Give me the strength to die well” (Prayer)
Wallace did not rely on his own strength. He knelt in humility to God before battle and death. He recognized the true giver of strength and courage and he humbly spoke to God. The strength, strategies, and resources of men can only go so far without God, but the man who fears God and follows his leading walks in wisdom.
Is God your source of strength and direction for your mission?
12. A Braveheart leader is willing to die for what he believes in
“every man dies, but not every man really lives”
Many will give their lives to a mission in life but few would give up their lives for it. The mission Wallace had set out on was so connected to his heart that he was ready and willing to give his life for it. His freedom fighting mission was the one thing that took him from existing to living. When he was willing to make the ultimate sacrifices to see freedom became a reality.
What sacrifices would you be willing to make to advance your mission?
13. A Braveheart leader does not waver
“If I swear to him, then all I am is dead already.”
Wallace would not bend to his enemies pleas or even drink a medicine to numb his pain at his execution. He would do nothing that would make them think that they had the upper hand. Even during his torturous death when the enemy thinks he is going to recant, Wallace yells that famous word: FREEDOM! He went to the end. He finished strong and never wavered.
What temptations do you foresee that could squelch your mission ?
14. A Braveheart leader leaves a legacy
“You have bled with Wallace. Now bleed with me!”
Throughout the movie Wallace carries a cloth that continually reminds him why he is living out his mission. It was his love for his wife and the suffering of people of Scotland that had initially moved him to action. After his death the cloth dropped out of his hand and it was later found in the armor of Scotland’s new King, Robert the Bruce. Wallace’s passion for freedom was carried forward until Scotland ultimately won its freedom.
How will your mission continue to advance beyond your lifetime?
15. A Braveheart leader ……………….?
In your opinion, what would you say is the 15th trait of a Braveheart Leader? Feel free to leave your answer in the comments below.
Caleb Bislow the author of Dangerous and founder of Unusual Soldiers.