The Freedom of Big Self-Employment Ideas

freedom of self-employmentOur country’s forefathers claimed our independence from oppression by declaring our rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. When it comes to work, we exercise these rights by engaging in activities that bring us alive and inspire us to joyfully be who we are. So why settle for less? If you’re working for someone else and feel miserable about it, what has stopped you from pursuing the happiness of working your own big self-employment ideas?

Self-employment is the most direct route to uniquely expressing what you’ve been put on this earth to do. Bold self-expression, aligned with your core values, represents your best shot at fulfillment and happiness. Many of us faultily look to a job or a relationship to make us feel complete. But wholeness can’t be found by looking to another, and it most certainly isn’t found by being miserably employed.

Yes, some of us find contentment and fulfillment working for someone else, but what if you’re the type of person whose greatness can only be unleashed through the boldness of bringing about the self-employment idea that only you can? What if you knew beyond any doubt that you have what it takes to succeed with your own big ideas, in your own way? If you knew these things to be absolute, what changes might you make today?

Admit it, the freedom of being your own boss has always intrigued you. Deep within, you know that you have what it takes; you’re creative and big ideas come easily to you. So what stops you from starting an ideal business or growing your existing business into the profitable and fulfilling enterprise you’ve dreamed of?

I’m going to help you answer the above questions but what will you do with these answers? By the end of this article, if you understand more clearly what stops you, are you willing to take action so it stops you no more? As a life and business coach, I work with clients who want to align their innermost values and desires with their outer actions. Yet information alone doesn’t guarantee success. How many times have you known what to do and still not done it?

The following suggestions will guide you a little closer toward your optimum path. Together we’ll go within, yank out the root of what’s holding you back then build a solid foundation for sustainable, authentic growth.

Excuses that Stop Us Short of True Freedom

The basis of most everything that stops us can be found in not trusting our intuition, which causes us to search for answers outside ourselves. Not trusting your intuition deters you from completing big self-employment ideas that are given to you directly by… of course, your inner voice. Looking for truth on the outside leads you to care too much about what others think of you, and possibly accepting their personally disparaging opinions of your ideas as gospel.

We all doubt ourselves. Yet fresh ideas come from straight from God’s heart to ours. Your recognition of an inspired idea not only means that it was meant only for you but that it’s already on its way into being. So not only can you do it, but the fact that you even see the idea proves that you’re already in the midst of manifesting it.

My friend, your happiness is a choice. It’s calling out to you and your first step in is to stop doing what stops you from claiming it. See if you can find your favorite excuse below.

“I’m waiting for the right time to make my move.” Yes, timing is relevant, but more so than not, waiting amounts to nothing more than putting your life on hold. The fact that you’ve read this far is confirmation that your time is now. Really, what are you waiting for? Trust your inner voice; then whatever you’re telling yourself won’t carry as much weight.

“What if I make a mistake and fail?” There’s no “what if” about it. You will make mistakes and even fail along the way, perhaps repeatedly. Stumbling and rising again is natural; fearing failure is pathological. If it’s going to happen regardless, why not get on with it?

“I’m going to build up my finances then go for it.” This feeds the illusion that employment = money = security = freedom = happiness. If happiness is the goal, why not go directly for it right now? How many years of uninspired slavery will it take to make you feel secure? Money movement expert Egbert Sukop says, “Quit seeing money as a means to an end, and suddenly you’ll gain the independence that you attributed to it.” Goethe said, “He only earns his freedom and his life who takes them every day by storm.”

“I love what I do, I just don’t love marketing.” Actually, this excuse has nothing to do with marketing and everything to do with a hesitance to boldly self-express. Are you sure you’re not compromising by holding back and going for a second-place dream? The only way you’ll be able to naturally and shamelessly flaunt yourself is to live a first-place dream-then others’ reactions won’t affect you.

“I’m just not sure I have what it takes.” You are enough, my friend, more than enough. That’s not you talking; it’s just your conditioning. You aren’t your past and you surely aren’t the twisted opinion of anyone else. If you allow the opinion of another to dictate your choices then whose life are you really living?

Turning Excuses into Inspired Action

Now that you know what justifications you’ve using on yourself, let’s chuck them and rebuild a structure for sustainable support, working from the inside out. Here are five powerful concepts that work for my clients. Find a way to joyfully employ all five and your stated intentions will no longer conflict with your inner voice.

  1. Expand your awarenss of what’s possible by asking really big questions.  When we live with big questions and don’t rush into answer them right away we become conscious of big ideas. Ask these: What is the thing only I can do? What was I meant to do? What if by fully being me I can step into might greatness? What might happen then?
  2. Feel your feelings fully-all of them. When we ignore our intuition, we resist feeling emotions that arise when someone is upset with us for choosing our own rightful path. As social beings, we always want to please; thus we avoid genuine feelings so as to avoid upsetting others. It doesn’t work. What does work well is to just be with all your feelings as they come up.
  3. Embrace boldness! Don’t hold back. The marketplace rewards confident, authentic boldness in every business function. If you aren’t on the edge of your comfort zone, you aren’t in a position to thrive.
  4. Support can be manufactured. Since we are products of our environments, we can systematically create ones that stimulate our progress. Following through to completion with our best intentions is a challenge for most of us. Why not create environments that naturally pull us to accomplishment?
  5. Engage in massive joyful action. Cause and effect is not a sure thing. Many of our actions produce desired results but often we can’t foretell which ones will work. Joyfully engaging many different methods and directions increases your probability of success.

Freedom is one of the truths that our forefathers found to be self-evident, yet some of you are still miserably working for someone else and cheating yourself out of the happiness of pursuing what you’re really meant to do. There is no ‘on hold’ in our Declaration of Independence or Bill of Rights. It is your unalienable right to express yourself through the freedom of seizing your own self-employment ideas, and your time to do so is now.

I’m inspired to get you there much sooner than you think is possible.  Request a Confidently Make the Leap free strategy session here.

Yes Be Yourself But Not By Yourself

You are not alone. You are connected but you often don’t act like it.

You are not supposed to face challenges by yourself.

Going it alone creates separation and discord. Following the myth of the rugged individual entrepreneur is not the surest path to success.

Going it alone causes you to judge yourself and exclude others. More fear is conjured out of thin air when you try to handle it all by yourself. Fear breeds more fear. Connection breeds strength.

Going it alone creates doubt and delay. Connection is a much better way.

What if the surest way to success and fulfillment was connection and you aren’t really connected?

What if your higher self cannot fully reveal your calling while going it alone?

What if true service can only be realized in deep connection with others?

What if life really happens for you, not to you but in order to get that you can’t go it alone?

It’s only through connection that all good things are allowed and received. Business is no exception. Value is exchanged because of the trust in connection.

I believe that connection is the missing link between authenticity and prosperity. Don’t you find it more rewarding to truly express who you are when others encourage you to do so?

Authentic abundance is the natural state of affairs in the Universe but we can’t see it while working alone. The fear of being alone, blocks out the warmth of serving others.

Money is attracted to confidence. I think confidence increases to the degree that we hang with others who are eager to unconditionally support us. Confidence builds as others voice appreciation and recognition for our creations.

One of the biggest blocks to creating original value occurs when solo business owners feel judged and not supported by others. When entrepreneurs feel the sincere well wishes of positive intention they care less about what others think because they can feel the sincere connection.

Even if you’re self-employed, how could you increase your connection to like-minded others in the same boat?

What concerns come up for you when you consider being more vulnerable in connection with other small business owners?

Do you think the quantum physicists are correct when they say that everything is energy so we already are connected to everything and everyone?

If you knew that to be true without doubt, how might you conduct business differently?

You Are Enough

You’re smart enough, resilient enough and creative enough to follow-through and do what you are uniquely inspired to do.

If you think anything less about yourself, you believe uninvestigated thoughts that are limiting your capacity to act.

What matters most, is what you believe, about you.

Everyone Doesn’t Have To Love You

Seth Godin shares a powerful message today that makes a great marketing point.  Everyone doesn’t have to love you in order for you to succeed.

If you need the validation and acceptance and patronage of everyone you meet, you’ll get stuck, and soon.  Seth Godin

Everyone doesn’t need to love you or even understand you.  Don’t mix up your personal needs with your business needs.  Especially for self-employed one-man and one-woman shows, we are the business.  In marketing activities like self-promotion, the line can get awful blurry.

But our personal, emotional needs are just that, they’re personal.  It’s a good move to create some separation, at least in your own mind.

Don’t take business rejection personally. The marketplace is rejecting your offer not you.

Don’t get defensive when challenged. The marketplace is challenging the value of your business concept not your personal value.

For the people you came here to serve, you are more than enough.

Proof That God Cares

Does God care about your daily work?  I’ve joined a community of bloggers, Higher Calling Blogs who say yes.  I agree.

My proof is this.  God loves and wants only the best for all. That’s why you were gifted with unique individuality.  You were meant to uniquely express for the highest good of all.

Your special makeup is not some cruel joke.  You came here specially equipped to make a difference in a way that feeds your soul and serves humanity.

Anything less and you’re not even in the game.  Quit selling yourself short.  Express who you are and the right folks will support you.

Choose Your Champions Well

This is a special salute to Barbara Swafford, of Blogging Without a Blog, Barbara is a noble soul who believes in conversation, community and in carrying the flag of blogging.

Since 1997 Barbara has asked very good questions for bloggers to consider and respond. She’s a champion for bloggers and backs in up in word and deed. Go here to list your blog for free in the Blogging Without a Blog Registry

What’s the Truth About Authentic Work?

You compensate.  I compensate.  To some degree we all compensate for a lack of authentic work.  Over time we’ve made stuff up to rationalize our unfulfilling work.  We’ve pretended, avoided and shirked responsibility in order to make our work fit who we are. 

If you’re an employee, chances are, you’ve resigned yourself to a fulfillment-starved life.  If forced to tell the truth, you’d admit that you’ve settled for far less than fulfilling and delightful work.

I don’t bash employment just because it’s slavery.  I bash employment because so many employees are lying to themselves.  So if I have to piss off ten of you to wake one of you up, I’m happy to do it.

Here’s proof why employment is inauthentic for at least 90% of employees.

Your job was not created to give you greater freedom; it was created to restrict your freedom.

Your job was not created to give you greater opportunities for authentic self-expression; it was created to limit your self-expression.

Your job was not created to fit who you are; it was created to serve the needs of your employer.

Your job was not created for your economic benefit; it was created to increase the prosperity of others.

However, it’s not your suck ass job that’s killing you.  What’s killing you is all that compensation.  What’s killing you is all the time and energy you invest trying to fit a mold that is not a fit for who you are.

It’s draining as hell to fake it all the time.  When you act like something doesn’t matter and it does matter, you shrink your soul and smother your authentic spirit.

When your job doesn’t fit, then in order to survive, you must compensate by showing up as a lesser version of yourself.  This lesser, lower self is false and it takes a lot of energy to offset a lack of expressed authenticity.

All of this accumulated faking has diluted the true you so much so that your authentic voice can’t be heard because of all the excuses you spout.

So how can you find the gumption to live a bigger more vigorous work life?
Do two things.

1). Make space for your authentic voice by silencing your fake self.

All of your accumulated compensation is emotional and intellectual clutter and clutter must be cleared.  Without space for your authentic self to express and act, your little, fearful self will keep running the show by avoiding, pretending and shirking responsibility.

2). Create a work environment that brings you robustly alive.

Mike Tomlin, head coach of our world champion Pittsburgh Steelers knows how.  The Steelers are now holding their three-day mini-camp.  It’s the first time that rookies get to work out and train with the veterans.

A reporter asked Tomlin how he determines that a player has the hunger to be a champion.  Tomlin said he doesn’t look for hunger, because hunger can be satisfied.  He’s right; multi-million dollar contracts don’t guarantee that a player will even make the team.

Instead of hunger, Tomlin looks for drive.  Drive is aggressive readiness along with the energy to undertake taxing efforts. Drive is hustle, initiative, vitality, and get-up-and-go.

Drive is natural when we find or create our authentic space.

Scroll up and look at that picture ofHines Ward again.  At the wide receiver position, Hines is one of the most powerful and vicious blockers in the league.  Whether he makes the hit or gets hit – he always bounces up with that big ass smile on his face.  Hines is in his natural element.  He’s found his authentic space.

We can apply this lesson in our search for authentic work.  Authentic work isn’t a craving to be satisfied but an environment in which your natural drive can express itself.

This is so important to understand because fear around not having enough money is the number one reason folks give for not making their move to the freedom of self-employment.  But money is about hunger not drive.  Hunger is only temporarily satisfied.

Fear not, you’re authentic work is also seeking you.  Create some space and you’ll be more able to see it.

Find or create an environment where you can naturally speak your truth.

Find or create an environment where you are eager to do the work.

Find or create a work opportunity where you are driven to excel and then both your drive and your hunger will be fulfilled.

 

Stand Up For Individuality

Do you champion individuality?  Do you routinely encourage unique individuals to express themselves?  Do you listen to your authentic individuality or your fears?  It’s fun and freeing to boldly flaunt your wild, uninhibited individuality.

As a coach, I listen to client fears and prescribe tools and strategies to move  forward in spite of them.  This process is a big part of foundational life coaching before clients are confidently ready to apply business coaching.

Listening to the core fears of hundreds of courageous people has honored me.  These individuals are courageous because they are willing to fully express their fears.

The similarity of their fears is very telling.

You may believe that your fears are unique to you but they aren’t.

You either have fears of success or of failure.  You may have fears of not being capable in one area or another.  Or you have fears of not having enough time or enough money.  That’s it.

A vast majority of the fears fall into one of those five categories.

Individuals are brilliantly unique but their fears are strikingly common.

The marketplace rewards authentic differentiation and devalues what’s common.

Conformity is common.  The fearful conform.  Conformity is common obedience.  Conformity dilutes individual power and dulls authentic brilliance.

What do you think stops you from living fearlessly as the unique individual that you are?  Overtime fears become solidified as powerful limiting beliefs.

You only believe in your fears because you’ve lived with them for so long.  Your fears have crafted the frightening story that you keep retelling.

Yet your fearful story is just who you thought you were.  There’s nothing authentic about that story – it’s just an illusion created by years of over-thinking.   It’s not who you really are.  But you do have a choice.

The longer it takes for you to choose bold authentic expression – the longer it will take you to get what you want.

Taking a stand for your own unique individuality is a courageous and necessary component of evolution.

Buried beneath all of you fears may be an even deeper fear of your own brilliant individuality.

They have come to understand that – no punishment anyone might inflict on them could possibly be worse than the punishment they inflict upon themselves, by conspiring in their own diminishment.  Parker Palmer

I rally round the freedom flag of self-employment because working as an employee automatically makes you smaller.

Working as an employee is a consciously chosen path of personal diminishment.

What if your greatness can only be unleashed through the boldness of self-employment?

What if your fulfillment can only come by being your own man or woman, in every way?

What if the one true key to lasting business success is authentic expression?

If you are good at being you, products resulting from your ideas and character will have excellence built into them. Egbert Sukop

Others suffer by paying for inferior products and services when you settle for a job just to pay the bills.  But when you are unfaithful to your true self – you suffer the most.

If you are here unfaithfully with us – you are causing terrible damage.  Rumi

It’s time to quit telling lies about your own capabilities.

It’s time to quit repeating your fears.  Instead it’s time to embrace your wonderfully quirky individuality.

I’m looking for those who are ready right now to shed their cowardly skins and stand tall in their authentic brilliance.

You must make the decision to go for it, in your own way or your authentic brilliance will starve from a lack of self-respect.

I seek to work with the bold.

I seek to inspire and to encourage the bold.

Is it you?  It’s my honor to coach you to your greatness. Can you imagine laughing in the face of your fears?  Using the right tools you can free yourself.

There is a radiating enthusiasm building within you right now.

Free it.  Ask these questions of yourself.

“What magnificence is seeking to awaken within me?”

“What bolder, freer life is calling me forth?”

“How could I engage my individuality to astonish myself?”

I’m Not Ready Yet

Often an employee who wants the freedom of being her own boss will make a statement about her lack of readiness. Have you considered what makes us ready or not? Readiness is a self-described, subjective state of being that is not usually given the consideration it deserves.

Often when folks declare a lack of readiness they can’t answer this question. What exactly needs to change for you to be ready? This tells me that they may not really be working on their readiness but complacently existing in the never-never land of avoidance.

I think it’s fascinating that in our games playing we get set and ready. Skeet shooting wouldn’t be much fun unless we were primed and loaded for action. Try catching any ball when you don’t know it’s being thrown. Yet in life, when much more is on the line, we don’t often invest in the same level of awareness or preparedness.

Some even prefer a ready-fire-aim philosophy. These folks would rather be thrown into the fire so that they are forced to adapt and respond. Is there a more effective way to increase our readiness? I think there is.

Yet are we ever completely ready for big life challenges? I’m not sure we can be or even want to be because then our sense of adventure would be dimmed.

But there does seem to be a readiness progression of sorts that can certainly make us more ready than randomness does.

1). Willingness is a state of openness and receptivity to the possibility of change. Readiness begins with being willing to change. Without willingness we aren’t even in the ballpark let alone the game.

2). Fitness is just beyond willingness. It’s when we’ve begun to condition ourselves to the possibilities and various scenarios that could happen.

3). Alertness is just beyond fitness. In this state we are poised and primed for action. Here we have crossed over the line of expectation by making a deliberate decision. We now know that we’ll make our move.

4). Preparedness is the final most advanced stage of readiness. It’s when we know that the move or change is imminent and we stand confidently ready to face it. This is the “bring it on” state of mind that says I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

At what stage of readiness do you find yourself regarding your next big move?

What do you really mean when you say you aren’t yet ready?

When you say that you aren’t ready, do you have a strategy for readiness or is it more likely a defense or excuse against action?

What makes you feel like you’re ready?

The Prize Is the Pursuit

Many who claim that they want the freedom, fulfillment and prosperity of being their own boss, actually don’t believe that it’s possible for them. If they did they’d at least be in pursuit of self-employment happiness. Our United States forefathers, in our Declaration of Independence wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

They understood that happiness is something to be pursued. The truly valuable prize is found in the decision to pursue and is the pursuit itself. Many feel that the greater value and joy is the pursuit, is the journey, than the destination.

Why is the prize the pursuit?

1). When in pursuit of something you have already made the decision to go for it and thus you believe that it’s possible for you.

2). While focused in the pursuit you are fully in the present moment, which is your only point of creative power.

Waiting is a state of mind. Basically it means that you want the future; you don’t want the present. —- Eckhart Tolle

3). In the movement of pursuit our perspective changes and we can see opportunities that we were previously blind to. It’s called the corridor theory. In 1998 I was speaking at the downtown Pittsburgh Business Library. After the talk, a guy came out of the audience and asked me if I’d ever done any coaching. At that time I hadn’t, yet if I had not walked down the corridor of professional speaking, the door to greater delightful work would not have opened.

4). In pursuit we often stumble, but our mistakes hold rich meaning because we now have an understanding from which we can adjust. Before pursuit, at best, our effort is a mind game of untested theories and assumptions.

In this post I discussed how to get beyond the excuses that stop us from pursuing the liberty of self-employment.

Of course we can apply this wisdom to more than declaring our freedom from the tyranny of employment.

It can be applied to anything we say we want that we are not yet actively pursuing.

I believe that Teddy Roosevelt said it best.

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat. Teddy Roosevelt

Are you in the arena or still watching from the sidelines?

Have you experienced the value of being in pursuit of your happiness?

Seize the Freedom of Self-Employment

Fear around the lack of money keeps many stuck within the slavery of employment. I believe more would seize the freedom of self-employment if they truly understood the value of the freedoms they have willingly given up. Most seasoned self-employed individuals joyously place a higher value on their continued freedom and would not give it up even for much more money.

What do we, as free workers, know that employees do not? We intimately understand and are invigorated by the value of the freedoms that come from doing work that we love in our own way. We believe that it’s our sacred responsibility to safeguard this freedom.

I believe that we enjoy three essential freedoms that employees do not.

1). The freedom of autonomy is our independence. It’s our ability to exercise self-government. Answering to the whims and rules of another is akin to slavery.

2). The freedom of self-determination could also be called the freedom of unlimited decisiveness. By enjoying this freedom we get to decide and choose both our day-to-day work projects and over all strategies and objectives.

3). The freedom of self-expression is simply what we are able to say without hesitation or restriction. This freedom is at the core of our well-being and the freedom I want to discuss today.

The ability to speak our minds on any issue, in any setting, to anyone is invaluable because it’s directly tied to the magnificence of our own authentic identity. When you knowingly restrict your identity you have assumed an identity that is less than your core being. This pretense wounds you deeply at a soul level. Identity restriction is a slow deadening process where the individual hides his true feelings and ultimately settles for less of a life then he or she may have lived.

Many employees complain about their work but throw up the money or security excuse as reasons why their hands are tied. These employees know they have settled for something less than they could be enjoying but they have yet to find the courage to make their move.

How can we, the joyfully self-employed help them to seize their freedom? We can help by talking about how wonderful our freedom feels. We can help by replacing money with freedom as the new standard of success. We can encourage them to be bold and let their freedom ring as an example to their children.

If you are happily employed and can honestly accept the accompanying restrictions, please stay where you are. But if you are among the majority of unhappy employees, know this: the freedoms of self-employment can lead you into a life of unlimited prosperity.

Prosperity comes through enhanced awareness so we can see and seize the right opportunities at the right time.

By working on what you want to work on and dearly value you’ll end up producing work of higher value that will make you prosperous. Please trust that everyone wants to support individuals who put their heart and soul into their work. Trust your internal yearnings to be the man or woman you can here to be. Seize your freedom now!

If you are employed but want to seize your freedom – tell us how we can help.

If you are self-employed and would like to encourage others to make their move – please comment on how freeing self-employment feels to you.

Make Your Move to the Freedom of Self-Employment

Many talk about the wonderful freedoms of self-employment, but they wait to make their move. They have made up all kinds of reasons why now just isn’t the right time. But if they take the time to look within, they know they’re lying to themselves.

Here’s the truth. Most folks are more ready to make their move than they give themselves credit for. I’d like to prove it to you. Are you willing to play along? In my coaching practice, I know a client is going to eventually get where they want to be once they reach a state of inspired confidence. Inspired confidence simply means that you know what you want and you are confident that you can make it happen.

I know that you’ll feel better about yourself once you take any small inspired action towards your objective. I know you’ll believe in yourself and your capabilities more once you are in active pursuit of your work life freedom. Somehow, we’ve got to get you out of your head and into action. So let’s start here. I’ll provide the formula. You provide the ingredients.

Right now, in this moment, what inspires you?

You might have a new goal or an old dream or a budding idea that inspires you. I’m talking about that animating, enlivening, emboldening, invigorating inspiration that lifts you and lightens you just thinking about it. There’s no sense playing along unless you can stop and write something down now. It’s time to leave the realm of just reading and thinking. Do yourself a big favor and actively participate this time.

It inspires me to imagine a world where the majority of folks are actively engaged in their work life freedom. Wouldn’t that be something? Imagine how uplifting it would be to run into more folks who were inspired by their work than bored by it.

But what inspires you? Got something? Excellent! Let’s make it a reality.

First I want to share some ground rules. It really can be this simple. If you can agree to these ground rules you’ve got it licked.

  1. You accept and act on the basis that you inherently have the capability to pull this off.
  2. You agree to take one small action that will get you closer to realizing the objective of your inspiration.
  3. You agree to celebrate the completion of that action regardless of its results.
  4. You agree to honor these ground rules as if they were sacred covenants.

Here’s the formula:

Inspiration + Belief + Divine Connection = Inspired Confidence

Here’s why this formula will work for you. You’ve provided the object of your inspiration, so we know it’s authentic.

Anything works when you believe it does. Why not believe that this simple formula can work for you? If what you’re doing isn’t working, then what do you have to lose? I’m not charging you for this. I’m just asking you to trust my experience as a coach and my deep desire for the world to be free from deadening work.

Divine connection states that God is not a tease. If you were not capable of bringing forth your inspired idea to reality, then it would not have ever come to you as a desire. All desires originally emanate from Divine Intelligence. The connection is yours for the asking. Your desires are not some cruel joke being played on you. If you aren’t acting on your inspirations – you’re the one playing the joke.

Please remember the ground rules you agreed to. No more hesitation – it’s your time to act. Before you do, right now, imagine your dream in actuality. Feel the gloriousness of living it. Imagine the beautiful change you’ve brought to the world. Isn’t it time to find your vocation within the freedom of self-employment?

Vocation is where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need. Frederich Buechner

The world is thirsty for the expression of your deep gladness. Don’t make us wait any longer.

If you know of someone who has dreamed of being their own boss but has waited, please forward them this post. It’s my mission to help them see that they need not wait any longer. There is always a small step that can be taken to move us closer to where we want to be.

Speak Freely or Die

In the spring of 1970 just after the Kent State shootings things were extremely tense on college campuses. My campus at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) was no exception. It was a time of drastic transformation, courage and unrest. Yet during those pressure-packed days the IUP administration made an uncharacteristically wise decision. Black Power members and other radical students decided they wanted to demonstrate by walking a route right through the heartland of the two groups on campus who felt threatened the most by the rapid change, the ROTC (reserve officers training) headquarters and the athletic field house.

University officials knew that the peace could not be kept by anyone in uniform. They also knew that they couldn’t deny the request to demonstrate. Their solution was pure genius. They asked my fraternity, the Brothers of Sigma Tau Gamma, to march on the outside ring of the demonstrators to act as a buffer of peace and sanity between both groups.

In 1968 I was a ROTC cadet myself but the Vietnam War changed everything. I opted out – and by 1970 I was a longhaired wild man wearing cut-off bib overalls. My fraternity was asked to serve that day because of our unique makeup. Some of us had become full-fledged hippies and some of us remained hard-core jocks. I was proudly both and I did inhale. Because we had the respect of both sides we were the buffer least likely to fan the flames of hate. Now it was up to the Brothers of Sigma Tau; would we accept this perilous assignment?

As I look back on those times I find it fascinating that I was my wildest, most courageous and most unrestricted self during those college years. It also was the time when I felt the most freedom. We could choose to go to class or to honor the fallen students at Kent State by not attending. We could choose to remain silent and buy what our government was selling or we could express ourselves freely in protest.

Is there a connection between the freedom of self-determination and the freedom of self-expression? Darn right there is. They go hand-in-hand.

Employees have less of both freedoms. We self-employed get to choose, but even among the ranks of the self-employed we sometimes choose an inauthentic silence.

We suppress our freedom of self-expression when we hold back from saying what we really want to say. We restrict ourselves because we are afraid of some undesirable consequence.

Self-censorship is all about fear. It could be a fear of standing out, offending, being judged, or fear of what others might think of us. What’s behind that fear? Why do we care so much? Could it be a primal fear of crossing cultural lines and of being left alone because our tribe no longer accepts us?

Or is it simply fear-based economics? If we believe that there is only so much good to go around, aren’t we more likely to censor what we express for fear of offending? For example we could believe that by taking a spiritual or political stance we may adversely affect a hiring or buying decision? Business blogging gurus say that it’s simply good sense to play it safe. But when we play it safe, are we really living our lives on our terms? Or are we just pretending?

Are we afraid that once we are totally exposed, fewer people will like us or support us as we really are? Stripped of our fears, who are we?

Without your fears who are you? Really consider this question for a bit. Who are you without your fears? Are you more or less yourself? Are you happier? Stronger? In the absence of fear are you not more carefree?

What good might happen if you decided let go of your fears and freely express? When we hold back from revealing our whole truth, aren’t we saying that the opinions of others matter more to us than our own? Isn’t this a pretty small way to live?

Where in your life are you playing it safe and thus way too small?

Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.

David Whyte, from his poem Sweet Darkness

Holding back is choosing to play it safe. Just so, exaggeration also masks the real you. Hiding behind a facade of exaggeration is a most cowardly form of self-censorship. Where are you exaggerating the truth to make yourself appear other than you are?

If you do not pretend to be more than you are, you will dare to be all that you are.

Susan Thesenga

Might that dare be your call to aliveness? Might it be your time it to show yourself, bruises, baggage and all?

What if the question is not why am I so infrequently the person I really want to be, but why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am? Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Without your fears, you are a gloriously wonderful human being. You came here to do something remarkable. The world needs your special contribution. Isn’t it time to speak up before the real you withers away and dies? If you could remember to be who you are more often, how would this change your willingness to freely express yourself?

What did the Brothers of Sigma Tau do? Yes we were both hippies and jocks but we were first brothers. So we marched and we kept the peace that day. Right on.