#Lead for Good: Choose Your Destiny
Mohamad Cholid, Practicing Certified Executive and Leadership Coach
“I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.” – Buddha.
On his way to the land of Sham, now known as Damascus, Caliph Umar bin Khattab stopped at a small community to rest. It was there that he received news of an outbreak at his destination city. Umar, who led the Rashidun Caliphate in 634 BCE, then decided to turn around and cancel his trip to Sham after a short moment of hesitation.
Not everyone was happy with the decision. Abu Ubaidah, one of Umar’s closest friends, felt like the caliph was avoiding his fate by forgoing the journey to Sham. By his reasoning, death is, after all, God’s intention for all who lives.
Umar responded: “Indeed, it is true that we would be turning away from our fate. But only towards another one that God has set for us. If you were to ride a camel across a valley, and the path diverges so that one goes through fertile land while the other through an arid expanse, whichever way you choose, it would be by God’s grace. So, whether you decide to take care of the camel’s needs by going through the fertile patch or the other way around, either way, wouldn’t you be fulfilling God’s fate for you?”
That story about Umar bin Khattab has often been incorporated into the conversation when one is to talk about the connection between God’s “fate” and our “choice” – a destiny.
If you were to look into the holy scriptures of most existing religions, you would find, in different variations, lines that describe humanity’s life on earth as a constant state of dilemma (some even characterize it as “distress”, “struggle”, or even “endless trials”). But God provides more than one solution. Every human has the freedom to use their intelligence and other abilities in their arsenal to pick a path that suits them best.
“I can control my destiny, but not my fate. Destiny means there are opportunities to turn right or left, but fate is a one-way street. I believe we all have the choice as to whether we fulfil our destiny,” says novelist Paulo Coelho.
The pandemic, simultaneously with the crisis in our society and ambiguity in how the government governs, is the reality that we are facing together. Some say that all that has happened — since the virus first came out in China to its present status as a global pandemic that has affected our lives — as fate. People have also been feeling lost and exiled, they could not find the vocabulary to understand and make better interpretations about the pandemic.
The situation has turned into a leadership test for those who, due to their expertise or position, have the power to decide and provide solutions to overcome many fronts we are facing now, as part of our effort in resuming normal life with the new and different circumstances.
At a period with a high degree of uncertainty, leaders are expected to be able to create a strategic decision. The stakeholders would surely hope that those in the leadership team come up with the best answer to – or at least the guidance to address – our current challenges, showing that they know “how to play their hands”. Otherwise, if there is no hope, they would be in despair.
If they, who convince themselves as leaders, would fail to do their duty, especially if it causes confusion or anxiety among the stakeholders, it is best if they reevaluate themselves.
There are three core virtues that will always remain relevant to us, and especially to those among us who are decision-makers. Be it in their business organizations, nonprofit, in the government, or even in their private lives.
The first one is courage — bold actions to overcome their imagined boundaries, the willingness to face facts (because fact could not be bended by any consultant) and to keep discovering new dimensions in life.
Second, humility — to realize one’s own limitations and open up opportunities to others who deserve it, as well as control and chip away at one’s ego and potential job-related arrogance.
Lastly, discipline — having the initiative to deliberate, evaluate, improve, and follow up on every step of a solution, or milestone.
Simple? Maybe. Common sense? It could be, but definitely not common practice. Truthfully, we’ve always been expected to hold ourselves to a certain standard. However, most have not implemented those three virtues into their lives, especially those who consider leadership as a celebration of hypocrisy. To those people, to lead is to serve their own interests instead of that of the greater good.
Whereas if only one were to implement those virtues into their policies and involve stakeholders, it would help us be more prepared in facing a new dimension of life, the next level of challenges towards approaching our destiny. Once you apply the three virtues and create a positive impact for those in our orbit of existence (family, team, and other stakeholders) that lasts beyond our own lives, it could benefit us on our journey towards Immortality.
Coronavirus, volcanic eruptions, changes in the head of states, or those we count as achievements, like top positions within an organization or in the governmental offices, as well as the Ferrari in your garage or even a private jet, all of them — according to the clerics, the pastors, or the monks — are but a series of events within one’s life.
It all comes back to our own ingenuity and shrewdness, whether we would let ourselves get tied down by all those events or find liberty from all these temporary affairs so that we could look upon with peace towards the Unknown.
All worldly events can either act as positive triggers to our actions or trap us into doing ignoble deeds — such as speaking without any basis of knowledge or taking rushed decisions without caring about the consequences — it depends on the choices we make.
Whether we continue our lives with our minds colonized by those events or build an esteemed existence from them, God has granted us the ability to decide for ourselves. It’s more about how we make a decision, as Umar bin Khattab did – mentioned above.
“We make a choice not out of unthinking habits but as evidence of our intelligence and engagement,” says Marshall Goldsmith, one among the top leadership gurus in the world.
Mohamad Cholid is Member of Global Coach Group (globalcoachgroup.com) &Head Coach at Next Stage Coaching.
- Certified Executive Coach at Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching
- Certified Marshall Goldsmith Global Leadership Assessment (GLA 360)
- Certified Global Coach Group Coach & Leadership Assessment.
- Alumnus The International Academy for Leadership, Germany.