I was asked this question on a recent webinar. So I asked myself: ‘Do I have the power to think, act and say what I want, whenever I want? Do I have the resources I need – primarily time and money – to do what I choose to do each day?
Because, to me, that is freedom. Sure I have to work to pay the bills but I enjoy helping my clients and am fortunate that I get to choose who I work with. I don’t measure wealth in monetary terms and so ‘enough’ represents financial freedom.
And I would research, read, write and create tools and resources that are helpful to entrepreneurial business owners even if I didn’t need to.
Time of course if finite and we all get the same amount each day. It’s how we spend it that counts.
Which caused me to re-consider my definition of freedom: is being able to just do what you want enough?
I realised that it wouldn’t be for me. So what’s missing?
Then I remembered these words from Alan Weiss:
“When we engage in neither meaning nor happiness we waste our days. When we are engaged in meaning but not happiness we are sacrificing our days. When we are engaged in high happiness but little meaning we are in a stimulating or addictive environment. Only when we are immersed in both meaning and happiness do we create an optimal, contributing life.”
That resonated with me.
I met a bank manager recently who – still in his 40s – told me how many years he had to work until he could retire. It was a lot. He wasn’t happy and hated his job. I was incredulous. He was enslaved by the promise of a big pension and was willing (or unable to see the alternative) to sacrifice some of the most productive years of his life for that promise. How sad.
Simon Sinek put it eloquently in a whole book: Start with Why? If your clients and customers get why you do what you do, you create followers and fans, a tribe as some express it, but more importantly you have meaning.
One of the things I get to do – with Sarah my partner in business – is help people who want to start their own business. Either one they choose or one of our ‘businesses in a box’ which are currently My VA Business and My Bookkeeping Business. It is hugely rewarding to see our members become successful and definitely hits the happiness muscle.
Everyone can enjoy the freedom brought by having meaning and happiness in their lives. Its a choice, but one with which you often need help putting in to practice. If that’s you, or someone you know, get in touch. You’ll be glad you did.