I hope that you enjoyed the July 4th holiday with friends and family (and with grilling and parades)! As usual, people spent a lot of time celebrating our “freedom”. Even though it’s one of the things I love most about this country, I think there’s something we need to talk about just as much:
The responsibility that must accompany freedom.
I have a relatively uncommon professional perspective on those two topics because I’ve had a relatively nontraditional career. I figured out once that I’ve only been a salaried “employee” for 11 months of my adult life.
From my start in business selling Cutco Cutlery as an independent representative to my career as a coach, author, and speaker, I’ve had a level of freedom in my career that many envy. I’ve been lucky to have flexibility and choice in what I do and how I work.
Freedom to Choose Means Responsibility to Choose Well
But I’m quick to remind people that freedom is inextricably linked to discipline and responsibility. Since I work for myself, I have the opportunity to stay in bed all day or work my tail off or anything in-between.
And it’s a lot easier in the short-run to slack off. I don’t have a boss to report to or a time clock to punch. But I also know that if I want to do fun things, or heck, pay the mortgage, I have to keep myself moving forward.
That’s not always an easy decision to make. That kind of long-term focus requires effort, and a lot of work goes into that freedom. Sometimes I do well, and sometimes I falter. It’s an internal conversation, and sometimes an internal battle, that I have to engage in every day.
Put the Work In
It’s the same for the freedoms that we enjoy politically. We have to make the effort to be engaged and informed. Because if we don’t. Well, there are a lot of examples of what happens when we don’t pay attention.
Whether you are trying to start a business or participate in a democracy, remember that the amount of freedom you have will be directly tied to the responsibility you are willing to embrace.
You can’t have one without the other.
So celebrate your freedom. Wave flags, eat a burger, and watch some fireworks.
And then get back to the work. Because if you don’t take care of your responsibilities, someone will take your freedoms.