I’m going on an epic adventure to Europe! I’ll be documenting it on Instagram! Come along for the ride! 🙂
Freedom is one of my favorite words.
Even saying the word “freedom”, I feel the surge of infinite possibility rush through me.
Growing up, I was inspired by people who were champions for freedom.
My heart swelled with excitement when I heard stories about Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Joan of Arc, Rosa Parks and Toussaint L’Ouverture. They were true heroes in my eyes, and I too, wanted to be a hero.
I believe that their stories serve as a reminder that within each of us is a heroine or hero waiting to be activated. However, to activate our inner heroine we must be deeply devoted to our freedom.
Which brings me to my second dream (read the first one here) for you this year. I want you to be free and experience the extrinsic and intrinsic pleasures of true freedom.
I speak to people every week who share with me their deep desire to shine their light, share their gifts and make a difference in their lives and in the world. However, they feel stuck. It might be due to a soul sucking job, not making enough traction in their business or career, or even from being single or in the ‘wrong’ relationship for years.
As I listen to their dreams, their fears, and their disappointments, I hear narratives detailing their individual pursuit of freedom; with epic triumphs and heartbreaking defeats.
What I’ve found is that there is a ‘Paradox of Pursuing Freedom’. Many of us pursue freedom as if she’s an elusive sphinx. We believe that once we solve her mysterious riddle, we’ll be welcomed into the promise land of freedom. But after a lifelong game it takes a toll on us, leaving us tired of this circular pursuit.
We wonder why do we always seem to end up at the precipice of freedom? How do we get from here (where we are) to there (where we want to be)? The answer?
We were born free.
It’s just that somewhere along the way someone told us we weren’t free, maybe not with those exact words, but in a way that made us forget our birthright. To reclaim our freedom, we’re only required to do this: Make one single bold choice, followed by another and another and another. Once we do, the sphinx disappears because we’ve solved her riddle. We are no longer on the brink of freedom but we are its beacon.
THE REQUISITES OF FREEDOM
Freedom Requires Discomfort
In our culture, we view discomfort negatively. We do everything in our power to get away from discomfort, especially, emotional discomfort. So we sleep, we eat, we drink, we binge watch tv, and do anything to get us away from “that feeling”. When I think back to the times when I experienced the most growth it happened when I leaned into my discomfort. That’s because,
When Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel, he had to lay on his back for hours a day. He even wrote, “I’ve already grown a goiter from this torture.” He endured this torture for four long years. However, this torture led to him creating a piece of art that’s revered all over the world.
Although, I love my creature comforts as much as the next gal, I know clinging too tightly to them will stand in my way of creating my own masterpiece. The next time you experience discomfort (not the kind that requires medical assistance) instead of fighting it, lean into it, and realize you’re at your growth edge.
Freedom Requires Investment
Over a year ago, I had a conversation with a man who dreamed of getting his writing project produced into a film. He told me that he was able to get meetings about it at a few high profile production companies, which if you know the entertainment industry is huge. However, every producer he met with wasn’t completely sold on the script. They unanimously felt it required changes.
When I asked him if he considered hiring a script consultant or taking a class to revise his script, he scoffed at both of those ideas saying they were too expensive. I recently saw him, and in over a year’s time he hasn’t gotten any further in his quest to get the project made.
I’m sure you’re thinking, why doesn’t he just hire the script consultant or take the class. I was too because it seems like such a no-brainer.
Which leads to this important point — freedom often requires that we invest not only our time, but also our money towards our vision. For some people this can feel uncomfortable and even upsetting. You might wonder if your investment will be worth it, why can’t you figure it out yourself, or find whatever it is for a lower cost or even for free.
I get it, it’s scary to put your money where your heart is.
While some of these ideas might be worthwhile to entertain, most of these thoughts don’t get us any closer to achieving our vision and only delay our victory.
To combat this endless cycle that keeps you stuck in the same place, follow these three steps.
STEP 1: Identify the ways that you’re putting off investing in yourself for someday. Maybe you need to get into a class to fine tune your craft or learn a new skill. Or you might need to hire an expert like a designer to refresh your brand and website or a coach who can help you break through blocks. Or maybe you need to take things off your plate and outsource your house cleaning and laundry. Right now make a note of the top 5 ways you’re committed to investing in yourself this year.
STEP 2: Take inventory of ways you’re spending your money that don’t support your vision. I once had someone admit to me that she was spending close to $100 a week on Starbucks alone. That wouldn’t be a big deal if she wasn’t also struggling with coming up with the cash to support her passion. If she slashed her latte budget to $25 a week it would leave her with $300 a month or $3,600 a year to invest in herself. So what do you need to give up or cut down on? Expensive lattes, cute outfits for your dog, nights out, excessive travel? Write down 5 things you’re spending cold hard cash on that you can cut down or cut out all together. Then break out your calculator, and next to each item jot down how much money it will leave you to invest in yourself.
STEP 3: Finally, notice where you’re stopping the flow of money. Do you need to get a part-time job (even temporarily), launch or re-launch your business, sell items in your closet or even Airbnb a room in your home? Where are you leaving money on the table? Write down 3 ideas of how you can create some cash and pick one of them and start to tackle it today.
Freedom Requires Radical Responsibility
Have you ever met a person who constantly makes excuses? Whenever you talk to that person they say something like, I can’t do 123 because of xyz.
We all have our “go to” excuses. We say we can’t because of our job, our spouse, our kids, our bank account, our living situation, our time and on and on.
However, true freedom requires that we give up all our excuses and take radical responsibility for our lives.
So, instead of saying, “I can’t (fill in the blank) because I don’t have time/money/energy etc,” say “I’m choosing not to (fill in the blank) because it’s not a priority for me.”
When you say this to yourself, allow it to land in your heart and notice how it feels. If you feel anxiety, horror or even sadness take a step back and explore what’s really stopping you from making the choices that are aligned with your vision.
There might be something else driving you. Is it fear? Is it complacency? Is it a limiting belief or shadow belief? What does your gut say? I’m willing to bet there’s something deeper going on underneath.
On the other hand, you might realize that going to that party, exercising for two hours a day every day, or that project you thought was important is no longer a priority for you. If that’s the case, as long as it’s not coming from a place of self-sabotage, let it go and place your focus on your true priorities.
Are you willing to pay the price for freedom? If so, what steps are you going to take? Share them with me by leaving a comment below.