As Independence Day was just a few days ago, it caused me to think about one of the greatest treasures any human can ever hope to have: Freedom.
Freedom can take on many different aspects to many different people of course; from the prisoner locked behind bars to the child having the ability to choose Rocky Road or Fudge Ripple ice cream. For many of us who are, or who have been locked into dull or even hurtful jobs or pointless relationships, there is the Freedom we all need to embrace; the Freedom to make the decision to change.
In consulting with many people at the crossroads of their lives, and in encouraging them to design their ideal life, I have found that more often than not people don’t believe they have that Freedom. They always seem to point to obstacles as being insurmountable for example, a mortgage, children, and a spouse who depends on them, debts and many other factors. I am the first to say that all of those fears are very important considerations, but I am also the first to say that nothing is insurmountable if you want the Freedom and happiness that another situation might be able to provide.
It is expensive to run a household; I know it from personal experience. However, I also know that it is possible to lower the expenses and reduce debt. It is not necessary to keep up with the neighbors; you don’t need a new car; you can find the time or make the time to attend a class, gain a certification or get a degree.
Sudden versus Understanding Changes
A steady paycheck is a good thing and our families often depend on us to provide them with all of the material things of life. However, we must also attempt to make ourselves happy in this world – and a supportive partner hopefully understands that.
Going to our spouses or significant relationships and suddenly springing on them that we have to change – or else, will not accomplish any more than a lot of angry words or expressions of fear.
The better approach is to express the need to change as part of an overall plan. You must sit down and write out a plan expressing the steps you want to take and how you will get there.
My strong recommendation is that we must all start on this journey toward Freedom by being as debt-free as possible. If you are an architect and you envision your ideal life as being a pastry chef, but your family is deeply in debt, you must first solve your debt problems before trying to conquer other mountains! The courage to design an ideal life takes a certain amount of sacrifice.
If you are in debt due to the sickness of a family member, then I completely understand the hurt and emotions needed to clear up that kind of debt, but if the indebtedness is due to you and your partner wanting matching BMW’s to keep up with the neighbors, it will take some serious conversations to express your desire to cut back and reduce indebtedness to enable you to go to pastry school. You cannot change and be deeply in debt at the same time. Freedom is not won that way.
In any case you must have a plan.
To gain Freedom, even George Washington had to figure out a way to cross the Delaware. It required sacrifice and a serious plan. You can do it too!