I woke up today thinking about freedom. An image of a hawk flying effortlessly, high in the sky, came to mind. At that moment I felt light, joyful, and free. Freedom isn’t a value that has always been top of mind for me, not until recently. Lately I make decisions by weighing two things–the amount of freedom I feel and how secure I feel.
If I feel a tug in my gut that makes me feel repressed or constricted, I hesitate. This feeling is not overwhelming, but it’s prominent enough for me to notice it. It’s subtle because I’ve listened to my intuition more of late and don’t find myself in situations where I am at major odds with my values, including that of freedom. This feeling does not produce much, if any, anxiety now either, because I see all situations as having options. I know I have a choice in all matters; I can pick the one that best suits me, even if that means going against conventional wisdom. But, how can I now make such choices so much more easily?
We all want to do what we want to do, don’t we? We all want to be free in some sense. Free of an unrewarding job, of a nagging spouse, of pesky homework, or of menial chores around the house. So how can we tell when this sensation is about not wanting to be constrained by something unpleasant, but necessary, and when it is about something that goes against our principles of freedom, independence, and choice? To gain perspective on your situation, you can ask yourself the following questions:
- What is my mission or goal at this point in my life? If you don’t have one, then the first step is to figure this out. This is the first catalyst to living more boldly, setting a meaningful goal, and I detail how to do this in my book Growing Bold. Once you’ve figured this out, then you can use this as a guidepost or an anchor to help you decide what to do next.
- Have I paid my dues? What sacrifices have I made to achieve my goal? Are there more sacrifices that I need to make to ensure success in reaching my goal?
- Is my house in order? What commitments (financial, emotional, time-wise, etc.) have I made? Have I honored or satisfied them or do I still have some unfinished business?
Answering these questions can give you greater clarity about what your next move should be to experience, either now or sometime in the future, the freedom you desire. Once you’ve done what is necessary you can move forward without guilt and without creating unnecessary struggle as you work toward your goal.
When I ask myself these questions, it’s so much easier to make a decision, even one that doesn’t seem logical. Having identified my mission (to help others find meaning in their lives and to inspire them to take that first step toward reaching it) I can ask myself, In what ways will what I’m considering help me achieve this mission? Have I done what is required of me (made all the sacrifices) to take this next step? And, Will taking this next step allow me to honor my commitments? I don’t always get the answer I want, but asking myself these questions gives me confidence that I am making the best decision for me.
Try this for yourself and see. And let me know how it works out for you.
Photo Credit: Bs0U10e0