Freedom—it’s a truth we all take way too much for granted. Freedom to___ : Fill in your own blank. It’s what we all want, at some level. Freedom to book a vacation anywhere, never mind the cost. Or just to take a midweek day off, no questions, no guilt. Freedom from a specific corporate mindset has been the goal of everyone who ever started a business. Your cubicle-bound friends sigh in frustration / admiration, wishing they could be free to do whatever THEY want, too, using their own splendid ideas instead of answering to the Boss of the Year, Evil Variety. YOU have the freedom to be your own boss and answer to no one.
As they say in New Jersey, yeah right. Freedom in business means you’re at the epicenter, but you’re often answering to a hundred bosses, better known as customers. The freedom to pursue your own instincts has to balance with that demon bottom line. You already know that if you really want that day off smack in the middle of a workweek, you’ll do more work in advance, and endlessly check emails or messages while you’re ‘off.’ That freedom comes with a price tag. If you crave some extra freedom, in the form of family time, or taking a class, how much responsibility are you willing to bear in exchange?
Reba McEntire, the entertainer, once told an interviewer that although she loved skiing and riding horses—she’d been a rodeo champ as a teen—she no longer indulged in either hobby. “I’m responsible for too many people trying to make a living,” Reba said. “If I get injured, it’s not fair to all of them.” Instead she’s chosen a new freedom from routine: designing business casual clothing for women. Her outfits are aimed squarely at those who buy her CDs or watched her TV series. She’s responsible—there’s that word again!—for choosing the colors and fabrics, calling it more fun than she imagined.
Seeking some freedom from your routine? Sometimes the price tag comes with the bonus of new creativity. Worth its weight in responsibility.