Natalie Sisson |
I’d like you to imagine waking up tomorrow with no limitations whatsoever.
How would you spend your day?
Who would you spend it with?
Where in the world would you be?
How would you feel?
Over the past 6 years, I have asked hundreds of people this question. And guess what? 99% of them have no idea how to answer it. They have never thought about what their perfect day looks like, let alone how to describe it in vivid detail.
It starts by getting very clear on your ideal lifestyle and what that looks like to you. Let the questions at the beginning guide you to finding your answers
Somewhere along the way, people stopped chasing their dreams. They stopped imagining what their perfect day looks like and they started handing over the reigns to society who told them what to do and how to live. I found myself in this place too, where I’d given away my freedom. And I wanted it back.
What Exactly Is Freedom
According to the Oxford Dictionary, it’s the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants. But is that really what true freedom means to you?
I shared in my TEDx talk The Surprising Truth About Freedom that I believe freedom is a right, not a privilege, and it’s up to YOU to create your own freedom plan.
I personally spent the last 6 years living out of a suitcase, traveling the world to 69 countries. I did this because I wanted to explore the world and experiment with living and working from anywhere and everywhere until I designed and created my perfect freedom business that supports my ideal lifestyle.
So ask yourself the question “What makes me feel free?” Then write down your answers, discuss them with friends and start the conversation with people who matter in your life
Then in early 2017, I chose to flip my life 180 degrees when I bought a beautiful house and 2.5 acres of land in New Zealand with my partner, got five chickens and an adorable puppy and put down roots. I discovered a different type of freedom that’s based on family, friends and a sense of community, as well as a profound connection to being on nature’s doorstep for my ideal lifestyle.
Why Freedom Feels So Elusive
As I’ve already stated, your version of freedom is totally unique to you, so it’s up to you to choose.
Freedom for some people it’s sailing around the world. For others, it’s living in a yurt in the forest. For others, it’s the right to vote. To get married, or stay single. To have a beautiful home or to have no home at all.
Freedom is the possibility to have choice and purpose helps you choose. Freedom is the space around you, where your purpose is your compass showing you where to move in that space
When I ask people if they feel free, they almost always respond with saying that the answer depends on something out of their control. For example “when I have more money and feel financially free”. Or “when I can make my own schedule and do what I want”. Or “when I’ve quit my job and can do my own thing”. Or “when I don’t have to be stuck in one place”.
THEN I’ll be/ feel free.
Here’s the thing that most people don’t realize though:
Freedom is a state of mind rather than a specific condition of existence
True freedom starts with your thoughts, and freeing yourself from your own inner critic, or limiting beliefs that tell you what you are and aren’t capable of. We may not have been born with the same privileges, access to education, money or political rights, but we are all given the same amount of time in a day to pursue our dreams and make them a reality. And if we can’t control our external circumstances, we can definitely control our internal ones.
Freedom is the possibility to have choice and purpose helps you choose. Freedom is the space around you, where your purpose is your compass showing you where to move in that space.
Choosing Your Version of Freedom
I’m obsessed with Freedom and the definition of it. I created the Right 2 Freedom survey to ask people this very question. Over 500+ responses later and there is ONE universal truth emerging.
Freedom usually is split into positive and negative freedom. “Freedom from” (absence of constraints) and “freedom to” (freedom to do what we want). There is also a third level “freedom to be”, which is also a positive freedom but on a deeper emotional level; inner freedom.
It is this inner freedom that I believe is the most important, and that we intend to research further.
Freedom for some people it’s sailing around the world. For others, it’s living in a yurt in the forest. For others, it’s the right to vote. To get married, or stay single. To have a beautiful home or to have no home at all
Your definition of freedom may be completely different to mine, but one thing remains the same, it’s our ability to CHOOSE that makes us feel truly free. Through the answers we’ve collected so far we’ve identified four elements of freedom.
- Flexibility – What you want, when you want and where you want. In short, this is independence and choices free from restrictions.
- Self-actualization – This is about fulfilling your dreams, being free to pursue your passion while being free from judgment. This is strongly linked to doing work of your choice – a career or business you love.
- Responsibility – Creating stability for yourself and others by having control of your own security, health, and financial situation ultimately make you feel free.
- Contribution – The ability to contribute, help others and to make an impact is a feeling of freedom on a whole other level.
Going For More Freedom
How do you go for achieving more freedom? Follow these baby steps:
Step 1 – Awareness of (your) definition of freedom (what do you want)
Not many people have truly thought about the definition of freedom and what it means to them personally, but when asked, most can tell you a few things that make them feel free. These are usually literal things they attribute to the meaning of freedom.
So ask yourself the question “What makes me feel free?” Then write down your answers, discuss them with friends and start the conversation with people who matter in your life.
Step 2 – Understanding of (your) needs and purpose of freedom (why do you want it)
Not everyone thinks about why they define freedom a certain way, but everyone does have a deeper reason for why they desire freedom.
If you understand your needs and reason for wanting those “freeing” things in life, it is easier to achieve them.
Again, write down your, why. Why do you want more freedom?
Step 3 – Action: map out personal plan (how can you get it)
Mapping out a plan needs to be done on an individual level based on your needs and wants, so who is better suited to do it but you?
It starts by getting very clear on your ideal lifestyle and what that looks like to you. Let the questions at the beginning guide you to finding your answers.
For more expert guidance, you can start by picking up a copy of my book The Suitcase Entrepreneur: Create Freedom in Business and Adventure In Life. In it I talk you through the three stages of Mindset, Business, and Lifestyle that have personally led me to be a Freedomist, and thousands of others.
So, what does freedom mean to you?
This article originally appeared in lifehack.org