Men make history, and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.  –Harry Truman

This year U.S. Independence Day celebrations (generally celebrated July 4th) will likely be different from those in past years. Picnics, beach and lakefront gatherings, parades, and even fireworks are being scaled back in hopes of encouraging social distancing while better managing the possible spread of COVID-19.

So, instead of thinking about the celebrations, let’s focus on the courageous leadership required to obtain Independence. Note: Did you know that 175+ other countries also celebrate Independence Day?

Independence Day events generally honor the sacrifices required to physically separate from old governments/regimes and start fresh.

In most cases these are national holidays and a time for celebration and reflection. It’s also a good time to remember all the courageous leaders that valued the need for change, growth and persistence despite resistance.

In the United States, on July 4, 1776, 56 men met in Philadelphia and passed a resolution declaring their independence from England, allowing for the creation of a new government and new ways of thinking.

These men were true leaders, they were courageous, they were risk takers, and they certainly weren’t fearful of change! They were also committed to motivating and inspiring others to support a new way of life, despite knowing there would be challenges.

Changes in the workplace can’t be compared to the magnitude of changes in governments, but as leaders we can still inspire improvement. What can we make better? Are there new products, processes, or services we can implement? What’s not working well? Have you solicited opinions from colleagues of all levels and listened to their ideas?

Bottom line, are you leading with courage, and are you empowering yourself and others to go beyond where you/they have gone before? (We’ve coined this CourageAbility™). And, what are you doing to inspire others?

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.–John Quincy Adams