In my 20s, I craved working for myself, thinking it would be the liberation that I needed from a lifestyle that just didn’t make sense to me…
Like working 9 to 5 in the corporate world, and having an hour for lunch at 1 pm. WTF?! I was always hungry at 10 am and, therefore, angry because I couldn’t leave the office to get food for another 3 hours. Then there was the whole wearing of suits and high heels thing. It was like some soul quashing, mandated expectation that I not be true to my own identity. Obviously, I was unhappy in that world!
In my 30s, I started to work for myself. I LOVED it. And it was difficult. And I was broke. All the time.
But I saw that the freedom I wanted was truly about being able to be myself, and not feel suffocated as I tried to fit into what I was ‘meant’ to do.
I didn’t want to lead a ‘normal’ life. It didn’t feel right. It felt fake to me, and as a result, I WAS unhappy. I wanted the freedom to follow all the ideas inside of me… and bit by bit I started to do that.
Today, I see people in jobs they hate, working for people who don’t treat them with respect, leading lives that are FULL of stress and angst and frustration. And I’m grateful that I had to courage to just make it work. But that courage wasn’t organic – at all! It was guided. It grew over time. It took a lot of persistence. It paid off.
This is what I discovered and how I made it work:
Freedom doesn’t exist without discipline
Freedom is the capacity to create FULFILLMENT in your OWN life.
Freedom is where you have the time, space, energy, drive, motivation to FULFILL yourself. To make your life awesome. To live with a sense of joy and achievement and abundance. And that comes from discipline. It’s about the new habits and patterns that you have to take part in and which allow you to build yourself up.
Freedom is a responsibility. Not a gift. It looks like CHOOSING the lifestyle you want and doing whatever it takes to make it happen, even when you just don’t feel like it.
And this idea of freedom might be the direct OPPOSITE of what you were taught growing up.
So there are some bigger shifts that need to happen…
Discipline is not about working an 80 hour week
It’s so easy to just keep working more and more when you’re not getting the results you want. It makes you feel productive. But doing a whole lot of stuff doesn’t mean you’re doing anything useful…
When I fell into this pattern, I noticed that the more I worked, the fewer good ideas I had. And that meant I was just confusing people, and that meant they weren’t buying anything.
Instead, I had to go within to figure out why I would spend hours tinkering on my website thinking that would solve all my problems. And more literally, to ask myself: why was I fucking around, and not following through on those brilliant marketing ideas that I knew would pay off?
That was a fundamentally life-changing question! I was the problem. I wasn’t doing what needed to be done because a rather fierce part of me was highly motivated to ensure I wasn’t going to succeed. That part of me was broken, untrustworthy and certainly not a leader.
So I had to find another voice to listen to…
Discipline is about listening to your intuition
In its most simple, and effective, form discipline is about listening to your intuition and then following it!
Because that higher, wiser, more evolved part of you is always making sure that you get things done. The right things. The things that will ensure you attain your goals.
When you follow your intuition, you’re no longer struggling with that massive self-doubt that comes from wasting 80 hours a week doing stuff that’s completely useless. The self-doubt which you’re repressing because you keep telling yourself that you know you can make your business/idea/goal work. Even though you aren’t, and even though you can’t actually make it work from that space…
Following your intuition means you know exactly what to do to create the results you say you want. From there you start to build a lifestyle that serves and supports YOU. It’s no longer about working your ass off just to make ends meet. Or worse working your ass off only to find ends don’t meet at all!
So, here it is in a nutshell….
Allow yourself the discipline needed to actually succeed. And the simplest way to do that is the follow your intuition instead of your “inner-critter” (your self-doubt and the part of you that wants to just stay in your comfort zone!)