How do you want to feel? Do you want to feel free? What does freedom feel like?
Freedom is a goal of every American, if not every breathing human on this planet. But what is freedom? It is reserved only for superheroes? A growing symbol of freedom, spawned by the Great Recession, is the corporate refugee who breaks free of the cubicle to live the dream of entrepreneurship, working out of a Starbucks and making his or her own hours.
I was one these refugees seeking freedom from corporate America when I embarked on my entrepreneurial journey in 2011. I wanted freedom to do what I wanted when I wanted and build my own thing. I wanted the freedom to run my life on my terms.
As I wrote here in Part 1 of this series I was seeking circumstantial freedom. Once the shininess of my new found freedom wore off, I realized freedom was not about making my own hours. Freedom is something deeper; something that comes from within.
In Part 1 of this series I wrote about how your ego, family, friends and even mentors will fight back when you search for freedom from within. This installment will explore how to build a foundation to withstand the assault and be free.
What’s Your Vision?
There are two components of your foundation. The first is the key principle of any success system – vision.
What do you want your life to look like? What kind of house do you want to live in? Who do you want to work with? What results do you want to achieve this year? What do you want to contribute to the world? What legacy do you want to leave behind?
It wasn’t until I was 42 that I began to think of my life in terms of a vision. Sure I had a list of goals. I even had a list of places I wanted to visit taped to the refrigerator. But a serious diagnosis has a way of throwing you into deeper reflection.
Vision doesn’t appear over night. For me it started with an idea, which grew into a business that grew into a dream of changing the lives of millions of people disaffected at work. Yet I was often paralyzed by the question from my ego – who was I?
When attending Gratitude Training I discovered that vision is not about the how. Vision is not whether its a coaching practice, writing best-selling books or being a five-figure a gig speaker. The how tripped me up, fed my ego and left me feeling empty.
I saw the same things with my clients. An energizing vision is not about the title you strive for, but the mark you want to leave on the world.
Do you want people to feel loved? Do you want people to be nourished? Start from here and you can create anything. The possibilities are endless.
Of course, endless possibilities can overwhelm. So how do you find the mechanism that is right for you?
How Do You Desire To Feel?
What if your most desired feelings consciously informed how you plan your day, your year, your career, your holidays — your life? ~Danielle LaPorte
My vision for the world (which has taken a year to refine) is a world of love. My ego is always asking “how can you little old you create a world of love? You’re just one person without any power.”
My Higher Self know better. It knows I can create love every day by the way I treat people in my life. That includes me. “But how can I create love in my life,: my ego would ask? My Higher Self kept whispering – you thrive in team. So I applied to what seemed like a divinely sent job opportunity. Even the hiring manager thought so.
When I didn’t get an offer, my ego pounced. “I told you so.” I felt lost. My vision failed me.
It was in this place that I choose to listen to my Higher Self again. So it was that one snowy afternoon in February 2014, I sat down with a cup of tea, a green smoothie, crystals, incense, candles and Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map. For those unfamiliar with Danielle she is a soft yet edgy, non-guru who is the darling of the spiritual entrepreneur as well as enlightened executive boards and whose words ooze off the page like melted butter.
The thesis of the Desire Map is you can give your goals soul by building your life around your core desired feelings instead of a to do list that cascades from your vision like every other system out there.
I’ll admit I resisted The Desire Map for months. I am vision-driven, not feelings driven. Yet I needed a way out of this battle with my ego. Was I really supposed to get a job? What about the four book ideas that was rattling around in my head? What about moving to Florida? And what about my vision of a world of love? How could I get clear on what to do with my life?
The answer was surrender.
The first milestone in the process (after a lot of journaling and internal work) is to uncover your Core Desired Feelings. I discovered that I desire to feel . . .
If I could feel these every day, I’d be ecstatic and free.
Again that niggling egoic question – how do I feel these?
The Desire Map next prompted me to write down three to four things I wanted to do in the next year to feel these Core Desired Feelings. Since I believe my feelings are a product of my choice, not my circumstances I had to surrender to the process again.
As I worked through the final pages, listing and culling all my ideas, I was shocked. Building my business didn’t make the cut. Writing books did. Building a business no.
As I looked at my list of four items, it felt like putting on the perfect dress that makes you feel powerful, sensual and hot all at once. Item # 2 on my list stood out as a surprise and a comfort:
“Landing and excelling at my ideal job where I’m working on a team that is making a difference in the world.”
Here it was again; my soul crying out to be team, collaborate, and create in community. It was settled; I was hitting the career search with gusto.
Freedom Doesn’t Always Look Like We Imagine It
When working toward your vision, don’t forget how you want to feel in the doingness of making it happen. When you marry your core desired feelings with your vision, you will experience freedom.
Because freedom is a feeling state and not circumstantial, freedom doesn’t always look like we think it will. It could be becoming an entrepreneur, a stay-at-home mom, a leading sales rep, or a badass systems analyst. Only you and your soul know what will create the space you need to feel free. And it very likely won’t be what your ego thinks.
I’ve been in my new job for two weeks now. A year ago I would have thought this was a huge failure. Now I only feel joy, love, inspiration, purposeful, prosperous and vibrant. In short, I feel like a superhero.
There are those whom I know pity me and agree with my ego that I have failed. Because I did the work to get clear on my vision and my core desired feelings, their opinions roll off my back more easily. In the next segment, I will address the final tools I’ve used to create freedom in my life and which you can use in yours.