What is Freedom?

I visited Gallipoli in Turkey recently with my father who’s from New Zealand. Gallipoli is a special place of remembrance for New Zealanders and Australians as so many of our young men (ANZACs) lost their lives there during WWI.

The beauty, tranquillity and peacefulness of the many cemeteries and memorial sites in and around Gallipoli belie the horrors of war over 100 years ago. Dad and I found the journey deeply moving and thought provoking.

And what were our young heroes fighting for? While that question could be answered in many ways depending on what side of the war you were on, it’s commonly agreed that they believed they were fighting for freedom. Our freedom!

Now on TV as we watch the war zones around the world, or observe the plight of the thousands upon thousands of migrants who are risking their lives to arrive in Europe, we know that relatively speaking, if we live in certain parts of the world, we live with freedom. But do we?

What is freedom?

What is freedom? That’s a question I’ve been asking myself for a while now.

For me, freedom is the ability to live as I choose. To act, think and do as I please. To be self-determining!

What does freedom mean for you?

Sadly, I meet people all the time who limit their personal freedom. They live small. Day to day, they live with little meaning or joy in their lives. They live in ‘victim mode’ or they live with regret. They live in a state of struggle at worst or simmer at best.

That’s not freedom, in my book. That’s like living in a prison.

Living BIG not small

Recently I felt I was living small too. I was struggling in some areas and simmering in others, rather than living a sizzling life as I usually do. I felt imprisoned, caged, and energy-less. I wasn’t sure why, as on the surface, there was so much going on in my life that was really exciting and I was happy. Yet, something was not right.

In times like that, I tend to ask myself better, deeper questions as I know the universe or my higher self is trying to teach and guide me. I look much more deeply at things in quiet reflection, often taking time out, walking and thinking, working things out.

When I make time to do this, the learning and discoveries are enormous.

True to form, my discoveries this time were no different. They were fundamental to me and the life I want to lead going forward.

I found I was imprisoning myself by my own small thinking, my own limiting beliefs and fears. My old nemesis, perfectionism, was also holding me back, as was the fear of failure and the fear of not being good or clever enough.

All those thoughts were holding me back from really owning and committing to the big vision that I’d partially created for the next phase of my business and personal life. It was as if I was telling myself that my vision was too big… and ‘little old me wouldn’t be able to do it’.

Talk about sucking the sizzle out of my own life! That’s the mind prison I was holding myself within. That’s why I wasn’t feeling a sense of freedom.

When I ‘got it’, I had a good old belly laugh at the irony of my situation, given I coach business owners, entrepreneurs and others to be high performing and to aim for the stars in their businesses and lives. Laughter is a great medicine. It puts things into perspective. J

It was time to practice what I preach.

Back on the freedom trail

So, now that I’ve gotten out of my own way, my energy and excitement has returned. I’ve created some big plans to support the vision I’ve created. There’s loads of work to do as the plans unfold, and it feels really exhilarating and achievable.

Yes, the perfectionist in me will be challenged as I’m bound to make a load of mistakes. Yes, the fear of failure is ever present – hey I’m human. J I’ll just manage that going forward… I’m not going to let it overtake me.

I’ve always said that when I’m 101 years, sitting in my rocking chair reflecting back on life, I want to be able to smile and have no regrets, and to have loved the life that’s gone before me.

Today I feel free again. I feel self determining. And I remain very, very grateful to those young men who gave of their lives long ago so that we may live in peace and freedom.

Their name liveth for evermore’.

ACTION: What is freedom for you? Are you living a life of total freedom or holding yourself back? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so how about leaving a comment below?