Thoughts on Faith and Character Based Leadership
Tuesday is the day I designate for writing at least one blog. There are weeks I don’t have much to say, and then there are days I have many things rolling around in my head that I would like to say. Today, I had a discussion with my husband about faith, and it reminds me of an article I just wrote for my church’s newsletter. I would like to share parts of it with you and then tie it to thoughts I have on character-based leadership:
I’m reading a couple of books right now that have captured my thoughts, and I am facilitating two groups in discussions around The Four Agreements, by don Miguel Ruiz. I’m interested in the ideas generated in both books around the concept of faith. Of course, the first book is “The Four Agreements”, and the second is “The Seat of the Soul” by Gary Zukav. Both books encourage me to practice my faith by taking small steps each day to live them fully.
The Four Agreements has this to say about faith:
Blind faith comes from the head, from false beliefs and fear generated by our need to be perfect, and what we think others want/expect us to be. It leads to fanaticism and dogmatism. We feel we have to defend it and impose it on others.
When our faith is generated from within, breaking down the agreements we have made with others throughout our lives, we begin to grow great personal power. It comes from the heart, not the head. It is generated from love and wisdom, not fear.
The Seat of the Soul breaks the ideas around faith down differently, relating it to power:
Blind faith is external power. It is based on fear, seeing that every action is a cause that has an effect, and that every effect has a cause, and survival of the fittest is the ultimate goal. We must be able to control the environment, and everyone/everything within the environment. Examples of reflections of this thought process in our world:
- Police departments/military
- Economics concentrated in the hands of the few.
- Welfare systems
- Consumer protection agencies
- Money as a symbol of power.
- Anything we fear we might lose – home, car, job, an agile mind, our religion, our civil rights
From this perception, we create the idea of greater and lesser value based upon fear. Even the Divine becomes more priceless than the worshiper.
When our power is authentic power, or faith generated from within, we align our thoughts, feelings and actions with the highest part of who we are. We are filled with eagerness, intention and a strong sense of worth. Life is plentiful and precious, with no thoughts of hate or bitterness. We are happily and thoroughly connected with our world.
Your inner self comes to recognize intentions, and to respond to them rather than to the actions and words that it comes across. It knows that the intention behind an action determines its effects, every intention affects both us and others, and extends far beyond the physical world. At each minute of every day you choose the intentions that will shape your experiences and those things upon which you will center your awareness. Every path we choose, allows our character to shine through us, to bring into the physical world through us, its endless and profound respect, admiration, and love of Life.
Our principles and core values remind us that we create our reality through the thoughts we hold. Living intentionally by aligning our hearts, thoughts, words and actions, allows us to live the Truth we know.
Our faith comes from within, and only when we live from who we really are will we find our world to be free of fear, negative emotions, and strife.
To quote from the closing paragraph in the chapter I authored for The Lead Change Group’s “The Character Based Leader “: “As I look at corporate and political leadership today, I see only a handful in leadership I would classify as Character Based Leaders. It seems as if we are being led overwhelmingly from fear, scarcity and greed for both power and money.”
Being in the last 40 days before the Presidential Election has made this quite clear. Many of the issues are related to fear and power. The economy, health care, entitlements, same-sex marriage, women’s health care and freedom of choice – and on and on. We see politicians saying what they think people want to hear, and are willing to pay for, rather than speaking from who they are. Many do not have any faith in themselves, placing their faith on external sources. Not only are they dogmatic, often to the point of fanaticism, they are desperately working to impose their beliefs on the rest of the country.
What does this have to do with faith? “The challenge is for those of us who believe strongly in our ability to lead change to make ourselves heard.”
When we recognize our intentions to live in faith – free of fear, negative emotions, and strife – we are carefully listening to those who are walking with us. We are accountable, trustworthy, and humble. We have a strong foundation built on integrity and authenticity, and a willingness to be vulnerable. Most of all, we care deeply for our fellow humans, we are empathetic and compassionate, without the need to “fix” them because we do not judge them with thought or word. We are solid in who we are, we don’t make assumptions, and we recognize that what people have to say is not personal. Most of all, we do our best at all times. This leads to wisdom, not necessarily knowledge, and love – not abhorrence, hatred or revulsion.
This is what character based leadership means to me.
If you can take only one step toward character-based leadership today, what would it be?
Thank you for reading and for being part of this community – it means so much to me.