Do you go through phases when you ask yourself WHY you do what you do? Why you work so hard? Or why you choose to decline certain opportunities?
I absolutely do go through phases of this self reflection.
It's important to me that the work I do and how I spend my day reflects what I want out of life. It's important to know what motivates me to keep going.
I have written about a similar topic before in my article on Finding Your Why and also in On belonging and staying true to who you are, but today I just like to focus on a single word that serves as a guide for many of my decisions.
That word is FREEDOM.
The freedom to do what I want and make my own decisions.
The freedom to live and travel where and when I want.
The freedom to choose my own work schedule and create a stress free environment.
The freedom to choose who I want to work with.
Let's just give you some examples for each of the statements above.
The freedom to do what I want and make my own decisions
This is a biggie.
I can still remember the last time I worked for a 'boss'. I was working behind the computer in an ugly office where the fluorescent light hurt my eyes. When the boss walked in, he berated me for something I supposedly did wrong when in fact I was trying to improve a very flawed method of doing things. He started yelling and belittling me and I felt the anger rise up in me. Often when I get angry I turn emotional, which would then be perceived as weakness or a confirmation that the other person was right, which infuriated me even more.
I had had too many of those instances where I worked for incompetent bosses that showed no respect and treated me like dirt. it was on that day that I decided that I wanted to be my own boss. This was a temporary job so I resigned on the spot.
I was lucky that I was already with my current partner and I had some time to figure things out but I know that I would have found a way to become independent even if it had taken more time. That was 20 years ago and I never looked back. I have been my own boss ever since.
I may not always make the right decisions and being independent is not always easy but it certainly beats working for someone else every single day and I have always been grateful for making that decision.
The freedom to choose my own work schedule
I already had my own business when my son was born and it has been invaluable. I was always there when he needed me and I didn't have to send him to day care until he was 9 months old. That was the time when he started crawling and I always felt that that was the right time as he could now move by himself and let his needs be known.
It was never an option for him NOT to go to day care as I needed time for myself too.
I have always been really thankful to choose the times that I want to work.
I often work in the evenings when I want to and even in weekends. I may choose to sleep in when I'm tired or just work 'on the road' when I'm traveling. I can shop when it's not busy.
I just LOVE the fact that i hardly ever have to set an alarm or have to commute to work.
The freedom to live and travel where and when I want
Traveling is a big part of my life. I currently live in Singapore but frequently visit The Netherlands.
Every year I take large extended 'holidays' when I visit other parts of the world as well.
For example for the coming 4 months I have lots of exciting travel plans!
First I travel to The Netherlands and then in mid June go with my family to Egypt, Greece, Israel and Turkey. After some more time in The Netherlands (and a trip to Paris) I'm going to New York and San Diego.
For the last 4 years I've spent at least 4 months each year abroad and visited many places.
I would never have been able to do that if I hadn't my own business which is location independent. It has allowed me to work whenever and wherever I want. That is one of the BIG advantages of owning a location independent online business and the reason why I encourage you to setup this kind of business.
The freedom to choose who I want to work with
The people that you work for or with are really important! These are the people that you spend your time with so I want to make sure that these are enjoyable experiences.
It is one reason that I only work with a few advertisers for my site 40+style. It's also the reason why I ask questions to any person here at 40+Entrepreneur who wants to work with me.
And even though I may not personally choose each person that signs up for my courses, I still have the option to refund them if I feel that their energy is getting me down.
My life is simply too short to spend on people who are draining or who don't appreciate you.
I want to work with women who take action, who accept that they have a say in how their life is shaped. Women who know that no matter what life throws at you, you have the power to do something about it.
Using your key word to make decisions
The word freedom leads everything I do.
If a new opportunity comes along or if I think of a new business idea, I always have to ask myself. Does this limit my freedom (too much)?
If the answer is yes then it's a clear no.
If the answer is 'only if' or something like that, I may have to look at ways to solve it. Hiring a new team member could resolve some of the issues.
I would love to hear from you!
Is there one word that guides your decisions or your business? Let me know in the comments below!
p.s. Fun fact: I'm born on the 4th of July which is of course is the day of Freedom in the US. Quite the coincidence and so appropriate!
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