When I made the decision to build my business online, it was because I wanted freedom.
It seduced me like it does every entrepreneurial minded person who turns on a computer. Having the freedom to work on a laptop, or even your iphone, from anywhere in the world? Mmm… sexy.
The idea of a life of freedom is what pulls hundreds of people in every year, and I bet you are no different.
Am I getting it right, so far?
What’s Your Freedom Worth?
Seriously. What is your freedom worth?
Right now, I bet you’re having a hard time answering that. Here’s why.
Most people have no idea what “freedom” actually means to them. Oh sure, we can say it means “working from anywhere” or “working with anyone I choose”, but what does that actually mean to YOU?
Do you really want to take off at a moment’s notice and work from an island cottage? Does that even fit your life… your family? The more you think about this, the more you might realize that you’re in just love with the idea itself.
Students and Clones… Which one are you?
Chances are you’ve been following many super smart folks around the interwebs, trying to copy what they’ve been doing. After all, they’re the ones doing the stuff that works, right? They’re living their life of freedom.
I’ve done it. Hell, I still follow and learn from them. They’re smart people and worth following because, well, they’re smart people! They are achieving their goals, building thriving businesses, and doing it in ways that I am doing it, too. I’m sure the same goes for you.
But their freedom is not mine… or yours.
If you would have asked me a year and half ago what my reasons for building an online business were I would have told you, “Because I want to have complete freedom”. If you asked me what that meant I would have fed you a line like, “I want to live and work on my own terms”.
Sounds pretty good, right? Probably sounds exactly like what you want.
Problem is, I had no clue what that meant to me. I had no idea how to value what I was working for.
I knew what it meant for Jonathan Mead (Hell, it’s his tagline). I knew what it meant to Laura Roeder. I knew what it meant to Tim Ferriss, Marie Forleo, Danielle Laporte, and Johnny B. Truant. I knew what it meant for them and many more, but… not for me.
These folks were really smart. But their lives, businesses, and definition of freedom, were not mine or my family’s.
Don’t base your freedom on the social proof of others.
In a world where everyone is selling us their “success templates” for this and their “proven systems” for that, it’s easy for us to buy into the picture perfect life they have painted for us.
The problem isn’t the systems, templates, or whatever is being offered. Most of them do work and provide great results for a lot of people. The problem is when we as the follower, student, or buyer, try to achieve the success that has been painted or achieved by anyone else.
Don’t base your future, your freedom, on the social proof of others. Burn the maps, and follow your own path.
It’s time you clearly defined what freedom means to you.
I’m always fascinated at how easy it is for people to get stuck when it comes to getting specific about their reasons for choosing the path they’re on. People will literally spend thousands of hours working hard to get to a destination without knowing the real reason they want to get there. They don’t even know what they’ll do if they reach it. I know because I’ve been one of these people.
You’ll never reach your thriving destination until you define what it is you’re working towards. Just saying, “I want a freedom business”, ain’t gonna cut it. Allowing yourself to be this vague will only cause you to follow every shiny path (or blog) you come across.
You’re an entrepreneur, remember? You don’t follow others paths, you create your own. That’s what you do. That’s who you are. That’s why there’s no pictures of a “promotion,” a corner office, an employee of the month parking place, or a higher “performance” bonus on your vision board.
Now is the time for you to get serious about what YOU want from this life you’re creating. It’s time to define your freedom, and discover why it really means so much to you.
Your Defining Moment…
This might be a little uncomfortable (and it actually should be), but these questions will help you gain a clearer definition of your freedom. It’s time to get your hands dirty.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. Who are YOU? Seriously. Who are you?
Define yourself and what your beliefs are. Get as specific with this as you can. I want you to write down what excites you, what scares the living shit out of you, what pisses you off, what convicts you, what kind of people you like to hang out with, who you resonate with the most, who you resent the most, how old you feel (forget about your actual age), what symbolizes success to you, and what you want to be remembered for when you die. Add as much to this as you you can. The key is to be incredibly specific about yourself.
Once you’ve made your list, save it and read it every day. I’m serious.
Why is this important? Because no matter what I say or how focused you are, you will still continue to follow more and more smart folks who can teach you. And that’s okay. This exercise will keep you from slowly trying to turn yourself into the people you are learning from. You will continue to grow as you.
2. Will you ever stop?
When you achieve your goals or reach what you consider as success, will you stop? Will you call it a day to live out a comfortable lazy life or will you move on to the next thing with the same enthusiasm and drive you had before?
–But Andy, they say life’s about the journey, not the destination.– I say it’s about both. You need both and here’s why…
You have to know what you want to achieve (or where you want to be in life when you achieve it) in order to start your journey. Your destination and path can change at any time and they most certainly will. But you can’t have one without the other.
Would you like some help?
Here’s what I want you to do right now.
Answer the two questions above in the comments. Get incredibly specific, as if scientists had to reconstruct you and all they had to go by is your answers in the comments (Don’t worry, my secret laboratory has been closed for a while now ;-).
Why is this so important? This is a great community here, and by answering these questions publicly, you’ll be giving your fellow IM brothers and sisters the ability to keep you in check when you start to lose who you are and what your freedom is all about.
Now go to the comment box and define who you are.
About the author: Andy Fogarty makes lives better by helping people gain clarity and focus in their business and personal lives. Right now, many others are using his free 10-part course, Thrive Hacking, to change their lives and so can you.