The biggest barriers to freedom: what’s really keeping you stuck?

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A lot of people view freedom in the free-range career sense as being a suitcase entrepreneur or working from your mobile office but freedom comes in many forms and changes over time.

If you want to break free of the chains that keep you stuck in a career or relationship that isn’t working for you, check yourself on these common barriers:

Don’t borrow start-up funds or become emotionally indebted. In business and in life, I think the biggest barrier to freedom comes in the form of debt. If you’re carrying a huge business loan, your practical self tells you that you are stuck. When I watch people keep drawing on a line of credit to throw more money at something that’s not working, I see someone who is chaining themselves down. You can also be tied down because of what I call debt-guilt. You stay in a job or a relationship because you believe you owe your boss or your spouse or your parent. So you don’t feel the freedom to move on because of this guilt. You’ve convinced yourself you’re trapped.

Get Clear About Your Stuff: I also see a lot of people who become slaves to their possessions. They want to downsize or relocate to a different city but believe they can’t because they have to deal with all their stuff. I’m not saying having a lot of material possessions is a bad thing. It’s only a ` negative if it’s controlling you. Freedom doesn’t have to mean dumping your worldly possessions. It can mean giving yourself permission to CHOOSE to nest and enjoy your collections. The key here is CHOICE.
Don’t keep your ideas, methods, programs a tightly held secret. Stop worrying about copycats. You need to share and teach other people what you know in order to grow your business and gain freedom. Yes, someone you train to help you could copy and try to compete with you but they aren’t you and if you came up with one brilliant idea, there are lots more inside of you. Talk about your big ideas because you may just get the word out to someone who can help you soar.

Give yourself permission to take educated risks. You’re not going to go hike the Appalachian Trail without water and a map but you don’t have to wait until you’ve read every single book ever written about it. Yes, you could fall and get injured but what’s more frightening? A broken ankle or regret at the end of your life because you didn’t at least try to do your dream?
Learn to delegate. Let go of the idea that you are the only one who can do your thing the right way. If you don’t assign tasks to your children, spouse or housemate because they may not do it exactly as you would, you’re losing freedom. Likewise, if you don’t delegate the parts of your business that are not your strength, you’re taking up time that could be spent expanding your area of genius. Get out of your own way by getting rid of tasks that drain you.
Make yourself dispensable. Years ago, when I started doing bodywork, my earnings were completely dependent on my being present. When I fell and broke my hand, I had no income for nine weeks. That was the last time I ever had a business that I couldn’t scale to earn whether I was there or not. If the only way you can make money is by being present and putting in personal hours for dollars, you are losing freedom. Create a part of your business that can function without you.

Be open to collaborate. Find those who have strengths you lack and partner on projects with them.
On the flip side, avoid long-term partnerships without collaborating on several projects with the person first. A dysfunctional partnership can keep you both stuck.

Give yourself permission to change course or to begin again. Let go of others’ expectations of you. My friend Marianne Cantwell of Free-range Humans says   the word “should” is “the anti -freedom.”
Just because your family, friends or fans see you a certain way doesn’t mean you have to always be that way. Freedom means allowing yourself to grow and change and do the unexpected.

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