This Fourth of July weekend, I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom. Amidst the fun and fireworks that mark Independence Day, I consider the freedom that we all have in this nation. And, I worry about the freedoms that we give up.
It seems to me that one way we give up freedom is when we don’t make choices that are available to us. We take the easy road; we make the known choice, even when we know it is not the right one for us. We choose safety and security over freedom and risk. H.L. Mencken once wrote “The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be safe.”
Freedom presents us with choices, yet sometimes we get stuck and forget that we do have other paths available to us than the one we are on. There are always at least two choices in any given challenge or dilemma. Sure, they may have very different consequences (usually not as dire as we fear, however). The tragedy lies in the fact that we often ignore our choices and stick with what we know, in an attempt to feel safe. We then end up in situations that are not healthy for us, or that wear us down, or that don’t allow us to reflect who we really are as men and women.
Along with choices come responsibilities. When we refuse to take responsibility for ourselves, we abdicate our power. We give up the chance to become who we really want and long to be. We stay the same; we forsake our freedom. And our freedom is much too precious to be given away so lightly.
In our work, giving up our freedom can take many forms. It can be not speaking out in a team meeting. It can be staying in a job that we don’t like, because it feels safe. It can be not taking responsibility for our career path, and just drifting along as circumstances lead us. Giving up our freedom in exchange for security often ends in us having neither.
I hope that you will consider how you exercise your freedom in your life, and in your career. If I can serve you in this process of discovery, please don’t hesitate to call.
Sharon Keys Seal