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Canada Day Celebrates Our Freedom And Our Responsibilities

Canada Day marks the beginning of “freedom” for most of us…

Freedom from schedules and routines – school, sports, church, work.

The day is spent celebrating with friends and family, appreciating the constitutional rights and freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the country. It needs to also be a time to own our responsibilities, as individuals, as leaders, and as a country.

It’s also an opportunity to hit the reset button, though, and spend time thinking about how you’re going to grow – personally and professionally – over the next two months.

It’s a chance to lay a foundation for the fall, the rest of the year…and look into the year to come.

What will you do with that chance?

On your mark, get set…wait!

Isn’t it fascinating?

The longer we feel trapped, locked down, or isolated, the greater is our desire to go do something…anything…everything!

In our family, we’re getting tiny glimpses of our granddaughter – between those lockdowns – who is developing a precocious personality. We find it adorable…I’m pretty sure her parents find it exasperating at times.

Watching her personality bloom reminds me that we all have an opportunity to make changes, add skills to our repertoire. In fact, it’s our right…and also our responsibility.

Here’s what I mean…

I would propose that we reframe something written in the late 1960s and put into law in 1982, during the first Trudeau wave – Pierre Elliot – not the current wave – Justin Trudeau. I’m talking about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

There is so much emphasis on quoting it. One of the qualities that makes Canada a great country is this opportunity, and Canada Day throws a spotlight on this particular charter.

However, as in any area of our lives, where rights and freedoms are not balanced by responsibilities and privileges, we can end up with things getting out of kilter.

It is your right to eat whatever, whenever, and how much you choose, but where should the responsibility land for the costs of this approach…on your health, on the environment?

Is it a right or privilege to be able to drive, to graduate school/college?

Maybe at a deeper level, is freedom a right or privilege?

The debate about this concept should be neither political nor philosophical.

And this is the core theme of thriving through crisis, change, and being able to call that experience growth. When things become merely legal or philosophical, it is to allow this to become a study or something like a filibuster.

The result? There is no actual Return on Investment or desired outcome.

2 simple steps for recharging your battery

Here are two simple steps you can take to balance rights and freedoms with responsibilities and privileges, so you can recharge, grow and change.

1. Take inventory

Take a look at what are the areas of your life where you need to do recharging. Examine these six areas of a healthy human being:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Spiritual
  • Psychological
  • Relational
  • Moral

For example, with the last journey of this pandemic, we have seen so many people become emotionally fatigued.

The symptoms of emotional fatigue aren’t like a physical injury but will still take time and the right tools for people to rebound and deal with the grief or loss or emotional drain of this past year.

2. Don’t mistake unplugging for recharging

Don’t ever misconstrue unplugging from work as recharging.

If we look at ourselves in the context of a rechargeable battery, we all have those areas that work like domes lights in a vehicle. They drain our battery…it’s not always a big or significant drain. It’s a constant and steady draining.

Think about putting your cellphone on airplane mode. Will that recharge the battery? Of course not.

When we look at recharging, it requires the same responsibilities and privileges that give us energy. This might mean…

  • Pursuing a hobby
  • Serving others
  • Getting outdoors for an adventure

The list goes on. They all serve to recharge the six areas of normal, healthy humans.

Ask yourself an important question, too: if the pandemic – and the lockdowns – continue and you’re not able to get social time, what is your plan to fuel that part of recharging…relationships?

Celebrate your freedom, exercise your responsibility

It’s tempting to just fire off from this Canada Day weekend and celebrate your rights and freedoms. But, what would happen if you and I took the time to intentionally change – to explore our privileges and responsibilities?

There are so many things right now demanding responsibility, change. No one should pretend that the Indian Residential Schools, finding the remains of children, is something that we just pretend did not happen or does not matter. The tragic reality of this though is that no matter how much we would like to, we cannot change history. The only option is to learn from it so it does not get repeated. But I guess this is really about responsibility and freedom, isn’t it?

When change happens, viewed in hindsight, is called growth. So what would be some reasonable, desired outcomes of the two months of summer that could potentially give us a better focus headed into the fall and the forthcoming year?

My encouragement to you for a better fall, year, workplace, and home life is to take the season and redefine a positive, healthy new norm that can be grown and developed.

This means it will not be something that can be hatched, but nothing worthwhile comes easy, does it?

Would you like help with your growth journey? Let’s talk.

Related reading:

Crisis Response: An Opportunity To Build Your Culture (Part 1)
Crisis Management Is An Opportunity To Build Your Culture (Part 2)
What Is A Crisis? It’s In The Eye Of The Beholder