Not in the way you think anyway. Most people believe they want freedom and culture is more than happy to tell you want that means and how to get it. You’re probably like most people and believe the lie that freedom will make you happy. It’s not true, at least not how it is portrayed in our culture. And you’re not alone.
The clients I serve have a deep desire for freedom. They work hard, serve their organizations well from a high-level leadership role and want to spend more time, energy, and resources with family and on passion projects. Their belief is when they get the job, title, or salary they will experience the freedom of life to live as they please. That is, to do what they want, when they want, how they want as long as they don’t hurt, harm, or hold anyone back.
What I have noticed with leaders pursuing this way of life is… they’re unhappy, dissatisfied with life. Like Sisyphus rolling a boulder up a hill, getting to the top and realizing there is another hill to climb; high level leaders are never satisfied by what culture offers as freedom.
Setting goals is good. We should have goals in mind, but not as an end all. Goals should be a place to come from, not a place to go towards. Leaders set goals and pursue the corner office, the house, the neighborhood, the lifestyle, the title; and achieve the goal only to ask:
Is that all there is?
Culture tells us to pursue freedom a certain way – To live as you please. To do what you want, when you want, how you want; and it’s not what you’re really looking for. It sounds nice and can seem like it’s the right way to get the freedom you want; but you’ll be disappointed.
How can that be when social media and reality TV shows people living the lifestyles of the rich and famous, promising the same for anyone who has money, or the right title?
The challenge I have for clients I serve is to view freedom differently. I am fascinated by ancient Greek culture and philosophy. There is one word that stands out to me, a word the Greeks used for freedom. That word is – Eleutheria.
Eleutheria means to Live as you should, not as you please.
Eleutheria is a life of intentionality. A life that is designed to serve others, of leading yourself well. Self-leadership (for me) means pursuing your best self for the benefit of those you love, lead, and serve. What culture offers are trappings – pursue your best self for yourself. That’s shallow and vapid. It leaves your ego unchecked and wondering – I climbed this mountain for what?
How do we pursue this Eleutheria life? The life to Live as I should, not as I please? I have found three areas of life that get people moving in the direction they want, to live a life that is more satisfying – Rhythms, Pivots, and Confidence. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing about each of these.
For now, start to think about: How should I live? What kind of life will benefit those I love, the people I lead, and persons I serve? Describe the life you want. What character qualities are needed? How can you give and serve rather than take?
If you’re not happy with the direction of your life? Change it. Change the direction of what you want with new Rhythms. It sounds simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.