I am on a mission to help you find more personal freedom in your life every single day.
That’s why I write this blog and produce the Quest for Freedom podcast.
In order to make my mission a reality, I’ve been working on a bit of research background around what personal freedom really means to you and I.
This is really what the true essence of this podcast is and it’s going to become much more about this from today on.
That’s because, a couple of years back I had this HUGE vision. It was so big it scared me.
How was little ol’ me going to conduct the world’s first research into freedom and create a framework that allowed people to figure out where they were on the scale of freedom?!
Despite my fear (that always comes after a burst of enthusiasm at a new idea), I put together the vision at right2freedom.com and started getting survey responses when I put it out to my community.
Maria Nicholas came on board to volunteer her time looking into how we could turn my vision into a framework and I created the 7 Phases.
She flew over to New Zealand even to make it happen and we worked away looking into successful social enterprises, non profits and frameworks that have been proven out.
I had my CFO at the time, Jon Roberts, look over some of the survey responses and start to pull out some trends and findings – he liked data, I preferred the findings from it.
I engaged with the group of lovely Right2Freedom volunteers, who’d taken the survey and then offered up their time to help in various ways as indicated here, to start helping with some initial research on articles, blogs and books to define freedom.
Michelle Frost kindly headed up some Zoom calls to delve into this deeper with them.
And then I stalled, and the project stalled.
I left it alone for a bit, focused on my business and let other things distract me away from it. It still felt too big.
Then, along came the idea for this blog and podcast. What about doing the research and experimenting real-time, on my own journey to personal freedom, while helping others.
That felt much more doable. A way to dip into it and make some progress, without letting the pressure of my own expectations get to me.
A few months ago, after a discussion with one of my Freedom Plan members Nina Frankowski, I felt reinvigorated with this project.
She, like me, is fascinated by freedom and loved the concept behind Right2Freedom.
With her background of making sense of research and data and analysing into something meaningful, she set to work looking at everything that had been done to date, to pull this into a framework.
It felt like overnight she brought to life what I had been dreaming of from the beginning.
She dug through the surveys and found the nuggets of gold. And now with over 600 global responses and counting, she’s done an incredible job of making sense of it all.
Then a few weeks ago, I asked the team at Lifehack if I could write a topic on personal freedom and unleash the first initial findings and thoughts behind this framework in the blog post.
They loved the idea, and so as a contributing writer I published this piece originally
It’s based on some of the ideas in my TEDx Talk, but it’s the first time I’ve released this information around this new freedom framework that I am working on.
So with Lifehack’s permission, I’m sharing the article here (and on the podcast).
How to Break Free From Your Own Constraints And Live the Life You Want
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.
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.
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 around 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.
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 Right2Freedom 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.
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 judgement. 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 makes you feel more 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 makes 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 being a Freedomist, and thousands of others.
So, what does freedom mean to you?
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