Freedom. It’s becoming quite the buzzword these days as everyone decides how they want to live out their lives. You often hear freedom being spoken about in the context of work and career. The whole “entrepreneurship” and “self-employment” rhetoric is based on “freedom” from the chains of being an employee and working for someone else. People are selling courses and programs for thousands of dollars guaranteeing the ability to quit your job in six months or less. And they’re quite intriguing. I admittedly have purchased one of those before!
The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hinderance or restraint.definition of freedom, google
You also hear freedom in the context of health and fitness. “Buy our 60-day exercise program with meal plans included and love your body again!” Does that sound familiar? I mean, who wouldn’t want to be “free” of an “unsightly” body in just 2 months?! I’m guilty as charged.
What’s funny is that while these entrepreneurs are selling us these programs and making 6-7 figures, MANY people never get the freedom that was promised. Maybe they didn’t put in the work necessary to do so. Maybe they did and things just didn’t work out. Or…
Maybe the version of “freedom” they bought was not the kind of freedom they wanted or needed after all.
Before you go out and purchase “freedom,” you’ve got to get clear on what freedom means for you. Being an entrepreneur, assuming financial risk for a company, and being responsible for employees getting paid is not freedom for everyone. Sticking to a strict exercise regimen and not being able to eat those delicious doughnuts and cookies is not freedom for everyone.
Maybe freedom is being able to go to work each day and crush it, while paying minimum cost for family health insurance (hello, American workforce) and being able to see your family each night. Or, maybe freedom is developing sustainable healthy eating habits and movement patterns over a long period of time. But, maybe it isn’t any of those things and is something else entirely. For some, freedom is living out in the country with fresh air, and for others, it’s living in the big city with easy access to amenities.
The point is: freedom means something different to everyone.
And in order to chase that freedom, you need to know what that freedom even IS – for you. We live in a world where we continuously allow external forces to decide how we feel, for us. You may have seen on social media that financial freedom means being wealthy and not worrying about money and you may have taken on that belief for yourself.
But, have you sat with yourself and figured out if that’s actually YOUR truth?
Freedom can be framed in infinite ways.
Do you remember permutations from math class? Me either. But Google never fails us: permutations are the various ways that things can be ordered or arranged. Freedom is like permutations. I remember that I could never get the correct answer on those permutations questions because I felt like there were infinite possibilities and the limit does not exist (Mean Girls, anyone?).
Freedom can be framed in so many different ways and it’s up to each of us to decide what that means for us and then figure what we need to do to get there. It’s a personal discussion that we need to have with ourselves before allowing the influence of external forces to seep in and decide for us.
This weekend, I sat down with my journal and wrote down the different areas of my life and defined what freedom meant in each of those areas. I defined freedom for work/career, play, family/friends, marriage, personal, financial, and health areas in my life. I then thought about what I can do to get closer to my version of freedom.
For example: freedom in my work means I can sit down and dive into my work without feeling resistance. To get closer to my version of freedom for my career and my work, I can put systems in place that help me work to the best of my ability – such as writing up a process/procedure for my projects to follow and keep me on track.
Another example: financial freedom to me means that I don’t need to work until I’m 65 (or later). It means the ability to retire way earlier than age 65 and still take care of my family and travel the world. To get closer to my version of financial freedom, I can curate multiple streams of income, invest my money, and save in a strategic way right now to get where I want to be.
As you can see, my versions of freedom are very personal and detailed. That’s how it’s going to be for you, too! The point is this: freedom is personal. And you won’t find out what it means to you by scrolling endlessly on social media and being in everyone else’s business. Your freedom is YOUR business.
So, next time you find yourself scrolling on social media and wishing you had the same freedom as someone, ask yourself if what you think you’re seeing is something you would actually want for yourself. You may find that your version of freedom is something entirely different and unexpected! Remember that you get to write the chapters of your own life story.
What does freedom mean for you? What do you need to do to get there? Take some time to jot down the areas of your life that you want freedom in and write down what freedom in those areas would look like.
Are there areas in your life where you’ve reached freedom? Let us know down in the comments what that freedom has done for you; it’ll be so inspiring!
Are there areas in your life where you have not reached freedom? Let us know what those are so we can cheer you on!