The character trait of the month is FAITH, the confidence that actions rooted in good character will yield the best outcome, even when I can’t see how.
There’s a voice in the darkness. When I’m lost and can’t find my way I’m comforted because this voice gives me direction. I don’t really understand how it works, but it’s clear the intelligence behind this voice has a much bigger, much broader, more accurate view of where I am and where I’m going than I do. Sometimes, when I follow the voice, it takes me places I’ve never been before and shows me ways to get there I could have never imagined on my own. When I pay attention the voice helps me avoid routes filled with other lost souls. When I choose the wrong path the voice gently corrects with no condemnation.
You might think I’m crazy with all this talk of voices, guidance and direction. You might believe I’ve replaced reason with a blind belief in something that makes no sense, or accuse me of ignoring everything science has proven true. “It’s not rational,” you might say, “…this belief in a disembodied voice capable of seeing the world in ways you can’t with your own eyes.”
But regardless of what you think of me. I hear the voice. I trust the voice. I follow the voice. Because when I follow the voice and I finally arrive I am greeted with five sweet, simple words.
“You have reached your destination.”
Siri is the voice in my phone. She’s connected to an unseen wireless network that spans the globe and reaches into the upper orbits of outer space. The satellites with which she communicates provides a view of this world I will never see with my eyes alone. By faith I ask Siri to help chart my course and follow the route she lays out. I don’t understand fully the miracle behind this technology. But it’s proven to be a reliable resource that helps me get where I need to go.
This story highlights several misconceptions about faith. Some believe faith is the opposite of reason, that faith is blind belief in something that doesn’t make sense. On the contrary, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Did you catch that? Faith is substance. Faith has evidence. Faith isn’t about seeing the path right in front of you. It’s about knowing and following the path you can’t see yet but are certain is there because indirect evidence reveals that it must be.
That brings us to another misconception, that faith is the enemy of science. But that can’t be. Faith is the starting point of the scientific process. We observe our world and draw conclusions about what must be true even if we can’t yet prove it. We build a hypothesis, a hope, and then we test that hope. That hope becomes proof, that proof gives me the confidence, the faith, to step onto a 400 ton jumbo jet and believe I can fly.
Faith is the confidence to act based on a strategic point of view rather than a tactical one. It’s the calm assurance that comes, not from clearly seeing the step right in front of me, but from knowing this path leads where I need to go. It’s the result of core values, tempered by wisdom and informed by experience.
Everyone makes the best decisions they can based on the information available at the time. Faith gives us access to the best information. It broadens our view beyond the obvious and inspires a vision for what could be fueled by a passion for what should be based on guiding principles that have proven effective.
Leaders that inspire are leaders of faith. They see beyond the here-and-now to encourage and empower people to go places they’ve never been and do things they never done before. They see more than the next step. They see the big picture and help other see it too.
Will you lead from the narrow view of what’s right in front of you or will you lead by faith? How you answer that question determines how far you will go, how quickly you will get there, who you bring with you and what obstacles you will overcome together.
There’s a voice in the darkness. It could be yours. Will you live and lead by faith?