|Welcome to "SIMPLY SUSTAINABLE SUCCESS" - May 5, 2009:|
Helping You Create What Matters MOST in Life and Work --
With Whatever Life Throws At You!
"Freedom is actually a bigger game than power.
Power is about what you can control,
freedom is about you can unleash. "
- Harriet Rubin
Today is Cinco de Mayo, a special day in Mexico, in which people celebrate The Battle of Puebla, and independence from Spain. Viva Mexico!
I think it's also a good time for each of us to think about our own independence, our own freedom, and what it means to us.
When they come to me, almost all of my clients are successful in some ways — some very successful. But they often don't feel free, and independent. Most share common feelings of being stuck, trapped, or overwhelmed in various areas of life and work.
They long to rise above current situations and create what really matters. But, often, they can't articulate what matters. And, even if they did, they tell me, they'd still feel stuck, because they don’t know — or think they don’t know — how to bring into being the results they long to see in their lives and work.
A thirty-something executive told me the fast-track career he'd stumbled into by accident, felt like an out-of-control freight train. "I'm hurtling toward I-don’t-know-where," he said. "And I'm scared that when I get there, I won't like it. Sure, I make big bucks, and that's okay. But I know there's more to success than promotions and salary increases in a job that sucks."
A Hollywood producer told me he worked with TV networks to earn money to fund his own independent films. But stressed to the breaking point by the insanities of network TV, and stuck on the work-and-spend treadmill seeking relief, he felt trapped in that world, unable to return to the filmmaking he loved.
Still another professional, with 20 years experience, told me she was “terminally bored.” She succinctly summed up the common dilemma many share. "I feel trapped,” she confessed, “in a job chosen for me by a naïve 18-year-old."
This trapped feeling — not able to imagine what matters, or create it — arises for two reasons. First, people over-rely on problem-solving as a way of producing results. When it doesn't produce the results they want, they feel frustrated, and trapped.
Second, many people think of freedom only as the absence of restraints, or as relief from negative feelings associated with problems. However, there are two kinds of freedom: “freedom from…” and freedom to….” Both are important.
Freedom From… and Freedom To…
When people think of freedom, they often think about what they want to be free from: mortgages, dead end jobs, bossy superiors, bad habits, 20 ugly pounds, failing relationships, and other obligations and restrictions that they think limit them.
Their choices and actions are designed to get rid of, or get relief from those things. Sometimes, this stance is appropriate. But focusing just on freedom from puts them in the middle of problem-solving, flailing away with inadequate hammers. Being free from restraints, restrictions, and difficulties is not as important as freedom to….
Freedom to is harder to define. It involves the complex interaction of skills, knowledge, abilities, and tools that a person needs to actually do something. Without the ability to act — to create what matters — freedom from restrictions means little. Freedom to… is the version of freedom that the Oxford defines as, “the power of self-determination; independence of fate or necessity."
To see the difference between freedom from… and freedom to… imagine that you stand at the top of a high cliff. No walls, fences, guards, or other constraints prevent you from jumping. Standing there, you are free from restrictions. But, unless you're equipped with parasailing skill, experience, and equipment — i.e. capacity — you're not really free to jump (without killing yourself).
Freedom to comes from having a well-developed capacity — the tools, skills, structure, and experience — to successfully create what matters in all aspects of life, work, and relationships, independent of current events, circumstances, and adversity.
Moving from freedom from… to freedom to… is a matter of setting out what matters most, and then setting yourself firmly on the path toward creating it.
Mastering the skills and structure of creating is an excellent way to increase both kinds of freedom. Doing so increases your capacity for self-determination. It increases you self-efficacy and sense of control. It helps you take ownership for the results you want to create. It increases your independence from fate and necessity. It also makes it much easier for you to get up, and stay up, in times such as we now face.
[Excerpted from the forthcoming ebook Staying Up In Down Times: Creating Resilience, Results, and Real Rewards —With Whatever Life Throws At You!]
>This Weeks Quotes:
“There can be no real freedom without the freedom to fail.”
— Erich Fromm
"There is a wonderful almost mystical law of nature that says the three things we want most — happiness, freedom and peace of mind — are always attained when we give them to others."
-- Fran Power Judd
"If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability."
-- Henry Ford
You are in control of your life. Don't ever forget that. You are what you are because of the conscious and subconscious choices you have made.
Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you.
—John Paul Sartre
"Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom."
-- Victor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
— Marianne Williamson