Levels of freedom – how free are you?
Levels of freedom – were you free as a child?
As a child I remember daydreaming for the day when I could be free. I desperately wanted to do my own thing. I wanted to eat when I was hungry, sleep when I was tired, watch TV until midnight and get out into the ‘real world’ to earn some money so I could buy all the things I wanted.
My parents had so many rules and none of them seemed logical to me. I felt restricted. I felt imprisoned. Often they’d say:
while you’re in our house, you live by our rules.
How about the freedom you had as a teen?
Finally around the age of 18 I left home to find freedom. I went to university while working as much as possible. At university I wasn’t free. I had to memories loads of facts and pass tests. Some of my classes I enjoyed but many of them ‘I was forced to do,’ so to get my degree. Furthermore, I wasn’t free to truly explore my passions – my family told me, ‘you’ll never make money being an artist, so find a degree that will help you in the real world.’
I studied accountancy and when that didn’t work, changed to business management. It was okay, but the courses I loved where ‘History of Art,’ ‘Humanities,’ ‘Astronomy,’ ‘Poetry,’ and ‘Law.’ For the life of me, I can’t remember one business class I took.
And since my parents didn’t have money, I had to work as much as possible to pay for my degree. That meant that each semester I had to cram all my classes into as few days as possible so I had more opportunity to work during the week.
What freedom have you had at work?
I didn’t find any freedom from work. I was forced to perform tasks that I didn’t like (telemarketing, managing, sales, etc) in return for the money that paid for a degree that I wasn’t that interested in in the first place. But in America, if you don’t get a degree you won’t ever get a good job.
So finally, I get my degree and I assumed the time had come to have my freedom. I got my first post-university job in business and discovered that one of my tasks was to make the coffee. I sat at my desk thinking, ‘I just spent 5 years at University while working almost full time so that I could make the coffee?!’ That’s when I discovered that newbies have to climb a ladder – you start at the bottom and work your way up.
To climb the corporate ladder you have to ignore your wants and needs and make sure that your boss’s wants and needs are met. The biggest butt-kisser gets the raise/promotion. After a few months at Deloitte & Touche (large multi-national firm) I decided that wasn’t the way I wanted to obtain freedom.
Freedom can’t be obtained from working at a large company…
I then decided that freedom must be found working in smaller companies. I was wrong – you still had to be a butt-kisser but it was the owner’s butt you had to kiss rather than a senior partner. And aside from being the person that the boss wanted you to be, the work wasn’t that stimulating. I kept thinking, ‘why am I spending my life working so hard to sell things? I don’t really care about these things.’ Where is this freedom that I so badly wanted as a child?
Ahhhh…but true freedom will come when you own your own company – yes?
Finally, I realised that the secret was to start my own business. That way I could be free. Boy was I wrong. Starting my business and being the boss wasn’t freedom at all. When my monthly payroll expense amounted to over $250,000 I didn’t feel free. I had to make sure we kept growing and growing so I could pay all the employees that depended on me. And sadly, the thing I was selling wasn’t anything I really cared about. I suppose I was trained how to do business, so I did business…
Looking back, I can now see what happened. I never learned how to listen to myself…and even if I did, I didn’t know how to allow myself to express who I really was.
Parents, school, university, job 1, job 2….25, own company, now where can I find this elusive freedom?
It’s been a couple years now since I left my company to find out who I am and what I want. To find freedom.
To say that my post-company journey has been easy would be a serious lie. After 37 years of doing what I was suppose to do I had little training in doing what I was truly meant to do.
So – what is freedom? Well, I’m not 100% sure yet, but I think I’m getting closer. Freedom is knowing that you have the choice to create your reality. Freedom is knowing that at any moment you can change your direction. Freedom is not having a plan. It’s more about flowing with how your mind/body feel and less about producing.
Creating any kind of plan limits your flow. I no longer believe in business plans or 3-year objectives. I no longer believe in projecting where I’ll be in a years time. I like to think about what I want yet I’m realising that I don’t need a 10-step plan to get it because I might not want what I thought I wanted.
An example of what real freedom might look like
This might seem impractical at first, but I think freedom is waking up every day, getting in touch with how our mind/body feel and then living in a flow that is inspired by instinct rather than checklists, action plans and what you’re “suppose to do”.
Is it possible to live like this? Is it possible to wake up when you want, eat when and what you want? Dress the way you want to dress? Work when you want doing what you want to do? And not work when you don’t want to? Go for a run when you want to run. Dance when you want to dance…
To just connect to who you really are and then let whatever you’re inspired to do flow out. Isn’t that freedom?
I’m living life more and more this way. Anytime I feel ‘I should’ do something I’m questioning myself. Anytime I’m feeling blah during a task I’m questioning myself as to why I’m doing it. More and more, I’m taking a pause and thinking, ‘what activity would make my heart sing – what should I do next?’
Surprisingly, I’m not becoming lazy or inactive. In fact, I’m actually becoming more active and more healthy. I’ll be writing an article or working on a website and then I’ll think, what should I do next? Sometimes I decide to do a Yoga DVD, take my daughter for a walk (observing every snail we can find), or clean the house. Yes – sometimes I feel like the next best thing for me to do is to clean…and I really enjoy it. I don’t have to clean…I just feel like that’s truly what I want to do (I love looking at a clean house)!
I’m doing what I’ve always done (and more), but operating from a totally different place. Amazingly, my journey is so much more fulfilling. I wonder just how far I can take this new found freedom…and I also wonder if I’ll be able to financially support myself and family at the same time?!
Imagine a life that you create by truly feeling what your mind/body want and then allowing your mind/body to express itself until it wants something else..and then to flow with that?
So, how is the whole freedom thing going in your life?
Kim Brown helps people to find their life’s purpose and exponentially increase their fulfillment. To get started read Kim’s book, ‘How Life Really Works: The Answer to Finding your Purpose & Personal Fulfillment’