“Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose…” these words are from the song Me and Bobbie McGee. While I enjoy this song and often join in singing along with the radio whenever I hear it played, I have a hard time completely buying into the meaning of the lyric.
I view freedom as enjoying the results of intentional decisions that you have made in your personal and professional life. A common theme that I have found with many of my clients (both personal coaching and business management coaching clients) is that they struggle by having a lack freedom of movement with their career or their business plans.
What I mean by freedom of movement is that, because of debt, bad contracts, cash flow issues, poor personal leadership, and so forth, they cannot execute a new strategy or personal change as fast as they would like.
Below is a quick list of what I call “the enemies of freedom.” This is not a complete list, but it certainly includes the top factors I have seen with my clients.
1. Debt – It doesn’t matter if we are talking about personal or business debt. Yes, I know about the arguments of what some people call “smart debt” at both a personal and business level. However, debt adds risk and debt can rob you of flexibility. When you owe money to someone else, that means you cannot use that money to invest in yourself or your business. Taking those debt payments and re-investing them back into yourself or your company gives you reserves and security to take quick advantages of opportunities without worrying about how you are going to get the bank or investors to loan you more money.
2. Wrong team members – Make sure you are taking the time to hire people with the skills and, most importantly, the attitude that will allow you to grow your team or your product lines. To use a sports analogy here, you are the GM of your team and you have to build a team of solid contributors who can play the game and be good teammates. Having a group of all-stars who cannot get along, or even one team member who has a toxic personality, will destroy the potential of the team.
3. Disorganization – You don’t need to have every minute of every day scheduled, or a process for how your employees should chew gum, but you do need to exercise what Michael Hyatt calls Intentional Leadership. Every good business leader knows that disorganization breeds inefficiencies, missed opportunities, and even bad moral. If your team doesn’t have clarity of how to execute the business, why would you expect them to do their jobs to the best of their abilities? My business coaching clients hear all the time from me that disorganization contributes to loss of freedom, because a team that is unfocused or operating in a process fog cannot execute properly when the time does come to strike quickly.
Freedom in our personal and professional lives is really about being able to exercise options without the constraints of external factors or the results of poor internal decisions.
Exercising freedom is not easy, it requires focus of purpose and discipline, but the rewards of this behavior are worth it.
How do you go about ensuring your Freedom in your personal and professional life? What have you had to overcome to “win” your Freedom? Please leave a comment for the Get2it community. We’d love to hear your Independence story.
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