Earlier this week, we celebrated our Independence Day here in the US. It’s a holiday that always prompts me to think about the word “freedom.” This word gets thrown around a lot this time of year, and depending on who you are and your experiences, you might have varied and complicated feelings about what the word means. I make it a point each year at this time to reflect on the freedoms I have and how I can continue to be a force for good in a world where not everyone enjoys the same freedoms I do.
Personal growth and development are actions we have the freedom to choose.
Today, I’d like to revisit this word in a slightly different context and discuss the notion of freedom in our leadership development and personal growth journeys. I want to share with you three freedoms that pave the way for progress in our personal growth. If you are someone who wants to see powerful, positive change in your life, your community and in the world, practicing these freedoms will help you—no matter who you are or where you live.
THE FREEDOM TO DREAM
Every great leader I’ve ever observed or studied was a dreamer. The road to progress and transformation starts with dreams and the bold choice to communicate a vision of that dream to improve the world around you. No one can take that freedom from you! It’s our responsibility as leaders to see the dream and then inspire others to help achieve it.
THE FREEDOM TO FAIL
Not every decision I make is the best one, but the freedom to make mistakes and then learn from those mistakes is the most powerful catalyst for progress in my life. That’s why I wrote the book Failing Forward, to help others learn how to turn their mistakes into stepping stones for success. The permission to try something new without having to be perfect is one of the greatest freedoms leaders should experience. And once you’ve experienced it, you will grant it to others as well.
THE FREEDOM TO ACT
Finally, we must all claim the freedom we have to act on our dreams. This freedom requires courage and often involves obstacles. For some, the path to success is much longer and harder than it should be. But progress still happens through the smallest of actions, and those small acts often grow into bigger ones with more impact. If you start acting on your dream today, you are already making progress, even though you might not feel successful yet.
Wherever you are in the world and in your personal growth and development, I encourage you to take some time to reflect on your freedoms—both the ones you have and ones you don’t. Then start dreaming, start failing forward, and start deciding which actions you can take to pave the way for progress in your life and in the lives of others.
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