As business leaders and private citizens, most of us struggle with a dilemma when it comes to faith, free-will and leadership. Proportionally, where should the emphasis be placed with respect to each of these three areas when making life-changing decisions? Do we make these life choices guided by faith, based solely on our own instincts and experiences, or do we seek out the advice and counsel of others. And how much control of the outcome are we willing to give up in the process?
In reality though, the decision-making process is really not that complicated, is it? Far too often we’ve heard people say “it is in God’s hands now” when they are faced with life-altering challenges or major decisions in their lives. I’m not saying that we should not seek God’s guidance and favor through prayer. Quite the opposite. However, are we not denying our own free-will and right to choose by placing the burden for decisions within our control solely upon our Heavenly Father?
I’m clearly not an expert when it comes to spiritual matters but let’s face it, God is pretty busy right now caring for the needs of over 7 billion people in the world today. Do we really need to over-burden Him to help us decide what house to buy, or whether to buy the blue car or the red one, or what to wear to our daughter’s piano recital? Didn’t He empower us with the freedom of choice (and common sense) for a reason, to make these mundane daily life decisions on our own?
We cannot and should not absolve ourselves of the responsibility for making the decisions that ultimately affect our future. Case in point, Mr. Charley Reese, a retired columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, wrote a provocative article related to the topic titled “545 vs. 300,000,000“. In the article Mr. Reese wrote “One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.” However, let’s be clear, we the people own the problem since we are the ones who voted them into office. You see my point … each of us is responsible for the choices we make and the leadership role we assume. There is no dilemma here.
Earl Nightingale said it best “We all walk in the dark and each of us must learn to turn on his or her own light.” If we want to get better at solving our common everyday challenges and providing for a brighter future, then we need to understand that faith, free-will and leadership can and do co-exist and work inter-dependently. Author and world-renowned spiritual advisor Mindy Audlin in her book What If It All Goes Right? challenges readers to use the “What If Up” approach as a way to master the essential skills for thriving in a rapidly changing global society, and to help create a new world of peace, prosperity and possibility.
How can you exercise your free-will and become a more effective leader? For starters, begin each day by asking yourself some simple “What If Up” questions such as these examples:
- What if I could make a difference in someone’s life today, where would I start?
- What if I could meet all of my commitments today, how would this change things for the better?
- What if I could fully utilize my talents and abilities in service to others, how would my life and the lives of others be different?
It really does not have to be any more complicated than this despite the complexities and all of the associated challenges we face within our global society.
Global leadership is about changing our thinking in terms of the definition of leadership and where the responsibility for leadership decisions resides. This “New World” definition of leadership places the major emphasis on the influence each one of us has in creating a way for people to contribute and to make something extraordinary happen. Through this collaborative process we also strike a balance between faith, free-will and leadership by applying our individual skills, talents and resources where needed most.
Ask yourself this final question, “Who is driving the bus in your life right now? Is it God, the government, your boss, a family member, or you? When you make a conscientious commitment to assume broader leadership responsibilities for the actions (and the outcomes) that affect you, it will make a difference in your life and in the lives of many others.
What are your thoughts on this subject?
COPYRIGHT © 2012 John Carroll