Think for a moment, how would you finish this sentence? ”In America, I am free to ___________.” We could all quickly produce an arm’s length list of the many things we feel free to do, be, accomplish each and every day all because of the land we call home. The items on this list would likely range from the very simple and obvious, to the deep and impactful. Can any one of these freedoms really be considered more or less important than the others? What if one of the things you listed was taken away from you today? Although we could quickly divide the must-have freedoms from the nice-to-haves, the fortunate reality is that for those who live in the United States of America, and because of the many men and women who gave their lives for our freedom, we don’t have to choose.
In celebration of Memorial Day today, I hope we can pause to appreciate how we each feel compelled to complete the statement, “In America, I am free to_______.” I personally have quite a few thoughts that come to mind. They range from everyday living to things that impact my family to my career and decision to pursue entrepreneurship. In thinking specifically about how being an American business owner has impacted the trajectory of my consulting firm‘s growth, and my experience as an entrepreneur as a whole, these are the freedoms I hope I never take for granted.
I am free to create (ideas, initiatives, and entities).
Every day I have the freedom to dream up new ideas that have the potential to go out into the world and have a ripple effect on other people’s lives, opinions, and choices. Unless I am intentional about slowing down from time to time and appreciating the reality, and the responsibility of this freedom, it can easily be lost on me. How many of us enjoy this same freedom? A lot! In fact, everyone is free to create new ideas, initiatives, and entities. It’s how anything gets accomplished! And the more we embrace and exercise this freedom to its fullest, the richer all of our lives will become.
I am free to compete (respectfully against and alongside other talented individuals).
America’s a “free world” and with that comes competition – at least that’s what we strive to foster. Healthy competition is a good thing, and necessary for the healthiest economy and way of life. I appreciate that I am free to compete against other businesses and individuals to serve people to the best of my ability. Sometimes, I will be better suited to meet a need, and other times someone else will. The freedom to compete respectfully against and alongside other talented individuals is not a roadblock, it’s an honor.
I am free to collaborate (to increase the reach and impact of my talents).
And when I’m not directly competing against someone, I am more often collaborating. In fact, most “competition” turns into a collaboration sooner than later in my line of work. I find that through collaboration I am able to increase the reach and impact of my talents, serve more clients at a higher level, and scale my business without taking on unnecessary overhead. So essentially the freedom to work collaboratively with other individuals, especially ones who overlap with the talents I have and services I provide is a huge blessing for my professional work!
I am free to challenge (the status quo and fight for the interests of those I serve).
A possibly the most important freedom for which I am grateful is the freedom to challenge the status quo and to fight for the interests of those I serve. We don’t need to look too far to our left or right to see where this doesn’t exist as readily in other countries. And it’s most certainly not celebrated like it is in the United States! Freedom of speech, ideas, and actions (all within reason) is a beautiful thing indeed! I am free to speak up when something doesn’t seem fair, when behavior or treatment is inconsistent, or when I think someone can do better. All of these freedoms (and the countless others) are by no means limited to me or those I know. They are freedoms granted to everyone who considers the U.S. their home. May we always appreciate them and always fight to protect them!
How would you finish this sentence? Is it a word, a phrase, or a whole story? I’d love to hear what response most immediately came to mind when you read the sentence, “In America, I am free to_____________.”
Share your response in the comments below!