We live in a free country and believe that and that freedom is our birthright.
I believe that freedom is our opportunity not birthright. Although we may believe ourselves to be free, each of us has some areas where we don’t seem to be free to achieve the things that come easily to others.
Each of us has a unique potential for ourselves and our lives. My job is to foster what’s best in people to free them to achieve greatness.
There are three self imposed limits to freedom that make my job difficult.
The first barrier to freedom is to see ourselves as we really are. Some of us see ourselves as what we’re afraid to be, and the other half hold on to a view believing they already are what they wish to be.
Those who are trapped in believing themselves to be small, weak, or powerless are doomed to live lives that feel small or insignificant. These people give up on their dreams or refuse to even have dreams because the dreams always seem bigger than anything they could achieve. They find themselves settling for safe mediocrity.
Those who believe they have arrived have built a house in the clouds. They have no actual foundation for their life and are regularly surprised as to why things don’t turn out the way they think they should. They usually end up blaming other people, organizations or the government for their lack of success.
To be free requires that you see yourself, your strengths and limitations for what they really are. There is no room to deceive yourself into believing that you’re either less or more than who you are.
The second barrier to freedom is to live a truly authentic life. We have been bombarded from birth with images and impressions of who we should be and what we should do as well as what we should want. There is tremendous pressure on us to perform to the expectations of our families, bosses and society. With so much pressure we can easily get off track with who we really are and what is truly important for our personal well-being.
It’s not so much that we forget what’s important as it is getting out of balance or losing sight of our priorities. I have worked with hundreds of people who lost themselves at work and forgot what it means to be a good partner or great parent. It’s an incremental process that takes time and seems to sneak up on us. We are often blinded by the rewards of our successes and the daily demands of our responsibilities that we don’t notice how far we’ve drifted from what we love until there is some kind of breakdown.
Also unnoticed is that living out of balance is an unnoticed weight that saps our creativity, takes our energy, and dulls the joy of living.
The third barrier to being free is to see the world as it is. To be a reality based thinker. Each of us has a philosophical view of how the world works. This worldview shapes our attitudes and actions and affects our goals and plans. This outlook also shapes and creates the possible opportunities and pitfalls before us. That worldview is created and maintained by the cumulative beliefs and experiences of our lives.
Unfortunately a lot of us hold onto a view that isn’t based on reality.
I often meet with people who have succeeded in achieving their goals and can’t understand how they still fall short of their dreams. The problem often lies in their world view being misaligned from reality.
After we have regained our balance, come to recognize our own gifts and limits, it’s time to put the world in perspective, to gain a realistic perspective of what the opportunities are and the obstacles to achieving them. Only now can you create a realistic plan to achieve a truly self-fulfilling life.
One of the keys to success is you can’t do this alone. You will need the help of a mentor or the co-operation of your immediate circle of influence to really achieve freedom.