It’s that time of year that we celebrate independence and freedom in the grand ol’ US of A. And this particular holiday got me thinking about what that really means.
Independence and freedom mean different things to different people. But since most of my audience are entrepreneurs, let’s start there.
Many people have dreams of quitting jobs that they hate and going to work for themselves. In that case, being your own boss might represent the epitome of freedom for you.
Many of us dream of being ‘independently’ wealthy and the fastest way to that is either to inherit a large sum of money or make it by doing something enterprising in the ‘free’ market.
The terms independent and free (and their derivatives) are rampant in entrepreneur culture. But there are so many pitfalls that many people don’t think about before they rush to leave their 9-to-5, only to find themselves soon shackled to their small businesses.
In a job, where we are beholden to the decisions of others, it’s easy to give our power away. In our own small business, it’s more obvious when we blame others, procrastinate what we know needs to be done, avoid responsibility, and hope it will all just go away or that someone will do it for us. Well, maybe not so obvious to outsiders, but you know who you are if this is you!
In order to create true freedom in our businesses, we have to take 100% responsibility for it. And that means setting clear expectations, always keeping our commitments, maintaining healthy boundaries, and always acting from a place of purpose.
You see, freedom and independence don’t just get handed to us. They are states of being that we must create for ourselves.
So, if you’re seeking freedom in your business, here are 4 Simple Steps to help you:
#1. Set clear goals and expectations
So many people jump into new projects without a clear goal and without setting clear expectations for themselves or their teams. This sets you up for more work, confusion, and backtracking in the long run. (Read: the opposite of freedom!)
#2. Always do what you say you will do
Planning is one of the most powerful freedom tools in business, but it doesn’t work if you are always overriding the plan and making excuses as to why it won’t work. True freedom in business comes from the extra time and money that results from getting shit done and moving on. Put your tasks into your calendar and treat them like an appointment with the CEO. No excuses.
#3. Create and maintain healthy boundaries
You say you want freedom and yet you work around the clock and don’t have a healthy life outside of your business? Decide what you want your life (not just your business) to look like, and then live it that way. If that means more time at home with the kids, or whole weekends off to play or relax, set up your schedule to support that and don’t give in. And, for Pete’s sake, set that example for your employees and partners!
#4. Check In With Your Purpose Regularly
Your purpose statement is your WHY. It’s what drives you beyond making money. It’s the reason your business exists. It’s the outcome, and it should serve as your North Star. It’s easy to get off track when you get mired in the day-to-day crazy of running a small business. Checking in with your purpose will make decision-making easier, and cut down on the guesswork so you can get to your destination with less headache, and yes, your guessed it – more freedom!
Bonus! (#5) Let Go Just a Little Bit
Loosen your death-grip on perfection and take a step back to focus on the big picture. As we all know, perfection can be the enemy of progress. Keeping your eye on the destination allows you to see the forest for the trees and focus on what really matters. As long as everything you do continues to be in line with your purpose, by letting some of the small stuff go, you’ll free up extra time and resources for what matters most.
As we celebrate this Independence Day, let’s cultivate personal responsibility. No one can create personal freedom or financial independence for us. We can certainly get support, but the actual choices and actions are ours alone.
Responsibility brings about a sense of empowerment, and from that place self-confidence grows, and taking action becomes easier. Learn to cultivate this muscle for yourself and you’ll find those senses of freedom and independence not far behind!
For more on the power of planning in your business, visit the Business Wellness Roadmap course: A Step-By-Step Guide to Your Healthiest Year in Business.