Happy Independence Day Week! I love, love, love the 4th of July. Favorite holiday. Hands down. I love the BBQs, the matching red, white and blue outfits, the potato salad, the kids running around like crazy, the checkered tablecloths, the light breeze at dusk, the cuddling under a blanket with somebody you love, the patriotic music…
I love the crazy family dynamics ramping up then calming down as everyone turns their hearts to gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy and their eyes to wonder as we all witness the celebration exploding in the sky.
I tear up without fail.
Lee Greenwood and Neil Diamond get me every time.
And this year, I’m celebrating freedom with a little something extra.
10 years ago, I created my own freedom by going hard for a work-from-home job that I really, really wanted. It’d been 9 months since I submitted my application and only messages of “we’re keeping your resume on file” were coming my way.
So I tossed up a Hail Mary and walked my portfolio into the hiring director’s office. I told his secretary that he was expecting me (slight exaggeration) and left my portfolio on his desk with a note that said, “No one wants this job more than me. Talk soon.”
Later that month, I had the job.
It’s been an amazing 10 years since then. I’ve had the flexibility to move cities without changing jobs and the luxury of spending a lot of time at home with my young kids.
That job was a wonderful blessing for so many reasons.
Provided me with all kinds of freedom that I created for myself and my family.
About nine years in, I decided that I wanted a different kind of freedom. I wanted to expand my skill set and offer service in a more in-depth way.
But I believed I couldn’t.
My family was used to my salary.
Our insurance was tied to my corporation.
We’d be absolutely crazy to give up that kind of security for something exciting, but unknown.
Why would we ever do that?
So we didn’t.
Eight or so months went by.
I noticed myself feeling resentful.
Believing I didn’t have a choice left me feeling stuck and helpless.
I judged my husband for not having a normal job with benefits attached.
I got jealous that he was pursuing his freelance dreams while robbing me of mine.
I see the drama there now, but I didn’t at first.
Not for a while actually.
It just felt true to me that I was stuck where I was because he didn’t make more and his job didn’t provide insurance.
Stuck working at a job that I’d sought out and fought for over 9 years prior.
But I didn’t see it.
Until I did.
Through my own self-coaching, I realized that I was in charge of creating the life I wanted to live.
With some work and reflection, I recognized that “my husband has to make more before I can quit” was an optional thought.
My brain freaked out.
Drove me to keep believing that thought because it felt safe.
But it wasn’t safe.
It was just familiar.
And it wasn’t serving me anymore.
The thought “my husband has to make more before I can quit”, led me to resentment and self-pity.
Nothing useful came from those emotions.
And I still believed I was stuck in the end.
So, I entertained some new thinking.
I tried on, “I thought I’d be able to quit when my husband starting earning more, but maybe that’s not the way. Maybe there’s another way. And maybe I can find it.”
And you know what?
I researched opportunities and I applied for them. Within 60 days I’d secured a part-time job that nearly replaced my full-time salary.
A little over 30 days later, I found a second part-time job that I could easily do – while my kids slept no less – that made up the rest of my full-time salary and would cover the cost of insurance.
Three months ago, I never would have considered that second job.
I only noticed it and jumped on the opportunity when I started believing that I could shift my career for myself – even if my husband’s job didn’t change.
I stopped worrying about how it would happen and just believed that it would.
From that belief, I was more attune to looking for opportunities and I was willing to entertain strategies I may not have before.
And just last week, I said good bye to a place I’d loved working for a full decade and hello the next chapter of my life and my career.
I created that freedom for myself.
My husband didn’t do anything to make that happen for me.
And he didn’t have to.
Because who better to take care of me than me?
Such a fun way to live, Bees.
I know what you might be thinking. And I promise you…
I’m not special.
I don’t have better luck than you do.
And it won’t serve you at all to believe that I am or that I do.
And now I ask you, on 4th of July weekend, to be honest with yourself about something.
Is there anywhere you’re limiting your own freedom by believing that someone else has to change before you can be happy?
By believing that someone else needs to provide an opportunity for you to do what you’ve always wanted to to?
By believing you can’t do something because someone else might be angry or annoyed?
Let me remind you that your life is yours and it’s a beautiful gift. Every single day, you get to decide what you want to do with it and who you want to be while you’re living it.
That’s true freedom, Bees.
Let it ring.