There’s a lot of talk about “personal freedom” these days. Exactly what do we have the right to do, say, wear, create, etc.? It seems like we’re constantly being told how to behave and what is and isn’t acceptable.
When we look at rock stars and their attitude toward rules and mandates, we may think they have a “devil may care” mindset, living larger than life and giving no concern to what others think or want. While it may appear that way, rock stars (at least the ones who don’t burn out with drugs, alcohol, or illegal activities), are actually very careful in how they approach personal freedom. If you’re looking to excel in your life and your business, you could learn a thing or two
from these titans of music.
In this two-part series, we’ll take a look at the different areas in your life where you can exercise personal freedom and the areas where you can extend freedom to your employees or your team.
We’ve probably all been in a position in our lives where we feel controlled and stifled by someone else’s commands. It’s not only difficult to swallow, but it’s also nearly impossible to be our true selves when someone else is calling the shots.
Here are three areas in your life where you should exercise your personal freedom.
Freedom to Say ‘No’
If you consider yourself a “people-pleaser,” this may be the most difficult concept to accept. It’s okay to say ‘no.’ In fact, it’s essential to your well-being, your performance, and the way you train people to treat you. Everyone in your life will make demands on your time and emotional/mental bandwidth. If you don’t protect yourself, no one will.
Too often, ‘yes’ is the default answer when someone asks for something. Rather than responding without evaluating a situation, tell them you’ll have to get back to them. Buy yourself some time to soul search (and look at your calendar) to see if you want to do something and if you are able to do something without negatively impacting your schedule.
Freedom to Let Go of What’s Holding Us Back
We’ve all got them… limiting beliefs that dictate what we can and can’t accomplish in our lives. Sometimes, we are aware of them and have a little voice inside our head whispering “You can’t” or “You’re not good enough.” Sometimes, however, we don’t even know that those limiting beliefs are there. All we know is that we haven’t yet accomplished our dreams and we feel pretty crappy about it.
In order to destroy these limiting beliefs, we need to first realize they exist and identify what they are. When you feel your energy level dropping or your mood changing around a project or task, take a moment to check in with yourself. Identify what emotion you are feeling and then look inside to determine what thought is resulting from it. Once you’ve done that, you can manually “correct” the thought by considering all the ways in which it’s not true. The more you do this, the quicker you’ll be able to shift your state and get back on track to reaching your goals.
Freedom to End Relationships
While it’s difficult to admit, not every person who plays a role in our life is good for us. We tend to hold on to friends and romantic relationships out of a sense of nostalgia for the past, feelings of obligation in the present, or fear of the future. None of these are good reasons to keep a person in our life. Sad as it is, even family members can sometimes fall into a toxic category.
Take an inventory of the people in your life and ask yourself a few questions:
- Do they encourage you to be the best possible version of yourself or do they spout negativity that keeps you from achieving your dreams?
- Do they support you when you need it or are they constantly draining your energy with their own problems?
- Do they respect your boundaries when you establish them or do they consistently ignore your wishes?
Found someone not pulling their weight? It’s time to (kindly) distance yourself from them and make space in your life for positive relationships.
Janis Joplin once sang, “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.” When it comes to bringing out your inner rock star, Joplin couldn’t have been more right. Exercising your personal freedom will make you a happier, healthier person and a better boss/spouse/parent/friend. And hey… you’ve got nothing left to lose.
Stay tuned next month for Part II where we dive into how to give your employees personal freedom in their jobs.