This is Entrepreneurs of Faith, an Independence Day episode of Monetization Nation. Today is the 4th of July, which is America’s independence day, and a day when we celebrate freedom. I’m Nathan Gwilliam, your host. In today’s episode, we’re going to discuss five essential rights and freedoms we need as entrepreneurs.
Freedom to Choose
One of the greatest gifts we have been given is the gift to choose for ourselves. God gave us the gift and freedom of agency.
As entrepreneurs, it is essential we have the ability to make our own choices and pursue our own paths. An entrepreneur starts with an idea and organizes a business through financial risk and hard work. Creating our own business wouldn’t be possible if we weren’t given the right to agency.
Dieter Uchtdorf, a religious leader, said, “You have agency, and you are free to choose. But there is actually no free agency. Agency has its price. You have to pay for the consequences of your choices.”
With the ability to make our own choices comes responsibility for our actions. We will receive the consequences, whether good or bad, that come from our choices. However, when we do make mistakes we can remember that Jesus Christ has given us freedom from sin if we repent and turn to Him.
Freedom from Sin
Jesus Christ sacrificed his life for the spiritual freedom of mankind. He gave His life on the cross so we could overcome death, and he suffered in Gethsemane so we could overcome sin and live again.
In the Bible, it says, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (KJV Romans 8:22-23)
As humans, and especially as entrepreneurs, we are bound to make mistakes. We may mistreat our employees, make a business decision that compromises our ethics, or let stress damage our family relationships. However, no mistake or sin is too great to be forgiven. Jesus Christ gave us the freedom to be forgiven of our mistakes.
Though God gave us the right to agency and worship, government and leaders have taken these freedoms away from men throughout history for control and power. In 1776, the United States of America took action to protect these rights.
The Declaration of Independence
After years of war and sacrifice, the United States broke free from its allegiance to the British Crown and became independent. On July 4, 1776, the United States formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, giving Americans rights and freedoms for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The declaration was America’s first formal statement of independence and the right to choose their own government. American colonists and British soldiers began conflict in 1775—the Americans fighting for freedom and the British fighting to retain control. The Revolutionary War grew and in mid-June of 1776, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston, wrote the Declaration of Independence Congress adopted (Source: History.com).
The second sentence of the declaration reads, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (Source: archives.gov)
July 4th has since been declared a national holiday in America, known as Independence Day. Families and friends get together to celebrate our rights and freedoms as Americans. As entrepreneurs, these freedoms are essential as they give us the right to create our own businesses, pursue our dreams, and create the life we choose.
Freedom of Life
The Declaration of Independence protects our freedom to choose the life we want. We can choose to pursue business ventures and take risks or we can choose a career working for someone else. One of the biggest benefits of entrepreneurship is that it allows us to take control of our lives and take advantage of our freedom of life. We can choose to declare independence for ourselves in our careers and gain financial freedom.
Instead of working a 9 to 5 job under someone else, we seize the opportunity to choose our own hours and choose our own work. When we become entrepreneurs and create a successful business, we gain some amazing freedoms in our lives.
When Steve Jobs was 21, he and Steve Wozniak started Apple Computer from a garage. They both had a vision of a life they wanted to create for themselves and to do this, required some risk and hard work.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition,” Jobs said.
With the freedom of entrepreneurship comes hard work. If we want to be successful as an entrepreneur, especially at the beginning we may have to work even harder than we would in a regular job as an employee. We need to be willing to put in the time and resources to successfully execute our vision if we want to succeed. They are willing to invest and work hard now for their freedom down the road.
In order to gain freedom of life, we often need to sacrifice time and resources. While Steve Jobs had to put in hours of work at the start, those hours of hard work led him to live a life he chose, not a life someone else chose for him.
Freedom of Liberty
The right to liberty allows us to be free from oppressive restrictions imposed on our way of life. It also requires us to be aware of the rights of others, and not oppose them.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.” Liberty requires us to take responsibility and use the freedoms we have been given under the rule of law. We can’t use our freedoms to oppress someone else’s freedoms.
As entrepreneurs, we not only have the opportunity to make our own lives better, but we can also shape the lives of others by respecting their freedoms.
In a Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, wrote, “If people have the freedom to do what they want—whether that’s taking a chance on a new idea or building their community—the inherent creativity and goodness in people will help different parts of society flourish. But the rule of law, strong economies, and community health are all related. When we impose unfair systems, it is easy to get in the way and push everything out of balance.”
He explained that we should strive to “give people the dignity and confidence to be entrepreneurial rather than making them feel helpless and dependent.”
For example, Defy Ventures focuses on helping people with criminal histories become successful entrepreneurs. The founder, Catherine Hoke, came up with an entrepreneurship training program to help others (Source: Forbes). As entrepreneurs, part of our responsibility with our freedom is to help others. And, as we gain financial freedom for ourselves we will probably have the ability and desire to then help others gain their freedom.
Freedom to be Happy
The Declaration of Independence protects our right to pursue happiness and our dreams. As we take control of our lives and use our freedom responsibly, we also need to remember that we have the freedom to be happy. If we are choosing a life in which we frequently feel upset, oppressed, angry, or sad, we have the freedom to change that.
Guillaume Apollinaire, a French poet, and writer said, “Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”
As entrepreneurs, it can be easy to get lost in the end goal. We get so focused on the tasks and projects we need to do that we forget to enjoy the process. If we aren’t happy, we have lost the true spirit of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship isn’t only about creating a life of freedom, but also a life we love that brings us and people around us joy. That’s what we’re trying to create.
Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
1. God gave us the gift and freedom of agency. We have the ability to make choices for ourselves, and we are accountable for our actions.
2. Jesus Christ already paid the price so we can overcome death and sin. He gave us freedom from our mistakes, freedom to be forgiven of our sins.
3. For Americans, the Declaration of Independence protects our freedom to choose the course of our life. And, citizens of many other countries have the same protections for their freedom. Entrepreneurship allows us to take control of our lives and take full advantage of our freedom to live the life we choose.
4. With the freedom of entrepreneurship comes hard work. We need to be willing to put in the time and resources to execute our vision if we want to succeed.
5. The right to liberty allows us to be free from oppressive restrictions imposed on our way of life.
6. As entrepreneurs, we not only have the opportunity to make our own lives better, but we can also shape the lives of others by respecting their freedoms. As we achieve freedom ourselves, we will naturally want to help others achieve that same freedom.
7. The Declaration of Independence (or possibly a similar document in your other country) protects our right to pursue happiness and our dreams.
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