Folks, it’s around 6:15pm Mountain Time on Tuesday, November 15th. I don’t have TV or get the paper or subscribe to any news source. As I’ve found that the only news that really relates to my life, generally, is the weather, which I pull up at the national weather service site.
But I do pop up USA Today most days just to see the headlines. Mainly to get a pulse of the culture. It’s usually depressing, but I feel it’s my responsibility.
SO TODAY…two primary headlines caught my attention. I’ve posted them below. But it leaves me with a question for you. First a premise…my children were born to me. I’m their Daddy (that’s them in the pic, minus the baby). They are stuck with me. They didn’t pick me, it was beyond their control. If I am an uncaring, abusive jerk, they have every right to be upset and complain. Agreed?
If you were drafted into the military against your personal choice and suffered at the hand of uncaring leadership, I guess you have right to complain and claim victimization.
But what about your J-O-B? Were you born into or drafted into the business or company you work for? Or did you voluntary apply, ask for the opportunity and do you willingly take the pay offered?
Read the articles below to understand where my question originated. Then help me understand where anyone has the right to complain about a manager, boss, pay, treatment…as showcased in these articles. Does corporate America or the government owe us jobs, and then a level of care and treatment? Are we, or are we not, dependent on them?
“Which of your freedoms are legit?”
It’s a very relevant question that few fully ponder, yet it significantly affects the trajectory of our lives and decisions. The truth is that you desire to be free from some circumstances in your life, but you really only have faith in certain ones. The rest you subconsciously believe are optional. And thus, you’ll probably never achieve them. I want to get you committed, or let you off the hook.
You see, I am self-employed because I honestly believe I must. There is no way I can walk in the freedoms I’m convicted in as an employee. Let’s see how it adds up for you…
This morning I flipped open to Galatians 5 in my Bible, it’s a chapter I really relate to. It starts off thus, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled with a yoke of bondage.”
You’ll have to read before it to get the full context, but Paul is referring to being under the ‘yoke’ of earthly law as opposed to freedom in Christ. And hey, not a believer in Christianity? Interestingly for you Americans, you’re Declaration of Independence is best known for this line, “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Most other countries have something very similar.
So it hit me…”What freedoms do we really believe in?” And additionally, “What bondages do we honestly accept?” Because that dictates our faith and commitment to what we do or don’t pursue. You want to be self-employed? You’ve got to know what freedoms and bondages you believe in.
An example that’s relevant for belief in freedom or bondage is financial debt. Most Christians (especially Dave Ramsey fans) will cite that debt is bad. Being under it’s ‘yoke of bondage’ is not only wrong, but bad stewardship and the big word…sin! And they’ll quote scripture backing it up. Yet there is just as much scripture about your body being a temple. I see as many people imprisoned by self-induced bad health and immobility as from financial debt, but for some reason we believe in freedom regarding money but accept bondage in regards to bad health.
So again, be honest with yourself, what to you believe in? Here are some relevant focal points:
Financial Wealth – You have an allotted amount of time you commit to work. Is freedom to create abundance a must, or is it optional…do you accept the bondage of ‘just enough’?
Physical health and vitality – Should you be free to invest in health and vitality, or is it optional…do you accept the bondage of illness and relative immobility?
Engagement with your family – Should you be free to be a full-time parent and spouse and fully engaged in and aware of all aspects of your family’s lives? Or is it optional…do you accept the separate lives and brief check-ins at the beginning and/or end of the day and weekends?
Owning your work – Less than 20% of the population is self-employed, yet that 20% accounts for over 2/3 of millionaires. You spend your vocational life renting your work out to build a business owner’s assets, or you spend it building an asset for yourself. Is this a freedom you must pursue, or is it optional…is giving away your work a bondage you accept?
Available disciple – this is for those of you who believe in serving God. If you fully offer yourself up to be used by God on a Monday through Friday, and He calls you to serve in some capacity that is outside of your workplace, are you free to answer that call? Consistently? Or does your first allegiance belong to your employer? Is that freedom to answer a must, or is it optional…do you accept the bondage of ‘boss before God’?
Talents & desire – If you believe (which I hope and expect you do) that God designed you for a specific purpose, gave you specific talents and placed directional desires in your heart to guide you, do you currently have the freedom to be fully engaged in them? Or are they just for the margins outside your j-o-b? Is the freedom to fully utilize your talents and pursue the desires God’s written in your heart a must? Or is it optional…do you accept the bondage of squelching them or fitting them into the small margins of life in order to earn a paycheck?
Belief in what you sell - Your work is selling something. No matter what you do or where you work, you are investing all your work time into selling a product or service or message. Non-profit and for-profit alike. Do you believe in what you are selling enough to devote your life to it? Cause that is what you are doing today….devoting the majority of your waking time participating in selling something. Is freedom to devote yourself to selling something you believe in a must? Or is it optional…do you accept the bondage to devote yourself to something you care little to nothing about?
Inspiration – The definition is “stimulation or arousal of the mind, feelings, etc, to special or unusual activity or creativity”. The opposite would be akin to ‘going through the motions.’ If you are not inspirational, you can’t be influential. If you can’t be influential, you have no impact on anyone’s life. Do you think Martin Luther King, Bill Gates, Michael Jordon, Seth Godin, Billy Graham and Zig Ziglar were inspired while engaged in their work? Was that a luxury? Can you spend all day UNinspired and expect to walk in your door at home or in your church and fully inspire? Should freedom to be full-time engaged in endeavors that inspire you be a must? Or is it optional…do you accept the bondage of apathy, despair, depression, numbness and primarily…going through the motions?
Influence – building off the previous point, the most influential entity in our world today is the marketplace. It’s greater than education, the church or faith in it’s control of society at large. Businesses and brands rule the marketplace. As an employee, can you influence the marketplace very much? Or can you do it far more, as a business owner? Is freedom to influence the culture in the most powerful arena a must? Or is it optional…do you accept the bondage of anonymity and powerlessness?
I could list more. But these are things I DO NOT BELIEVE ARE OPTIONS FOR MY LIFE. And in today’s day and age, I see self-employment as the best (not the only, just the overall best) vehicle for accommodating these beliefs.
Let me say loud and clear, this is not a ‘salvation’ issue. This isn’t a plaform to judge. Nobody is going to hell or is a lessor saint because they may have consumer debt, or are in ill health, or are an employee. I’ve been in bondage to debt all my adult life until two months ago! I got out of it however, due to my belief that doing so, was a must. It’s about personal convictions that you may or may not feel called to. But those you do…how best to achieve them?
Ponder these things. What you have accepted, should you continue to?
And please be FREE…to post your feelings below. You may speak for and bless many others.
I’m typing from a cabin down by a stream as the snow starts to fall, on this Monday afternoon. I’m on a ‘family sabbatical’ that I’ll talk about more later. I brought my Bible, and one new book that I’m interested in reading. It’s this book that prompted the post you read now.
You see, though I don’t personally know the author, I know some other folks who know him intimately. And the honest truth is, these people that I know and respect, have had some hurtful experiences with the author.
So does that invalidate his book? Can he still write an anointed message? Should I disdainfully throw the book out?
It’s an important question for you to consider.
To go into business today, is to have a voice. Unless you are selling a commodity on the shelves of Walmart and competing basically on price alone, you’ll have to be comfortable communicating with people what the value and core message of your product or service is.
You’ll need to be open and authentic and known, and speak what you believe…your convictions.
So…who the heck are YOU to speak to anyone? To guide and lead us anywhere? To claim expertise or authority that equips you to influence ME? I bet you have…problems.
That right there…is what keeps many a good man and woman down. We marginalize ourselves. We doubt ourselves. We second-guess ourselves.
What I’ve learned over time is that the most ‘intellectual’ and ‘self-aware’ someone is, the quicker they are to discount themselves.
Yet we spend so much time reading and listening to ‘wisdom’ from others. You assume…YES YOU DO…that they ‘have it all together’. That they’ve arrived to some degree that qualifies them to speak, and you haven’t. That they’ve climbed to the top of a mountain you can only dream of, or must spend a long time ascending before you are worthy.
Now granted, most good and true messages come from some degree of overcoming or understanding. But surely, surely not from perfection. And while you can have some success in one area, you can still be struggling mightily in another.
Back to the author I started talking about here. I honestly think God will speak to me through the book. I’ve been fortunate to know some big name authors and speakers and experts and seen ‘behind the curtains’ of their stage presence and into their real lives. They are regular, flawed people. Many of the very sages you revere, you would NOT like if you spent a day one-on-one with them. And you’d be sorely surprised at areas in their lives that are less than successful, respectful or worthy of your reverence.
Yet what they wrote or spoke that helped you, is VALID!
I view God as looking down on Earth for someone to do a task, and saying to Himself, “Let me see, who has it together enough to do this for me?” He scans and scans…then lets out a sigh. And says, “Oh well, then who is at least willing?” And He gets a few takers.
In my Bible, Numbers 22:28, the Lord speaks through an ass. Literally, “And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam…”
That was literal. A talking donkey. God…spoke…through an ass. Go read it in your Bible.
Figuratively, most of the life-changing wisdom you are gleaning from all the wise sages in your life, is very similar to this verse in Numbers.
That’s not to diss anyone. It’s to motivate YOU. If God can speak through a donkey, if He can speak through the authors and speakers and leaders that you think are so great but are really…NOT, then there is great hope for you.
DO NOT WAIT TO BECOME PERFECT. DO NOT WAIT TO ARRIVE. SPEAK NOW, WHILE YOU’RE AN ASS.
Because folks, you always will be, to a great degree.
Just like with the author whose book I’m reading now. I’m am grateful he didn’t wait till he was not an ass, to write it. Cause I need the message, and he gets kudos for being willing to hear and communicate it.
I hope you’re glad I didn’t wait either, cause if you’re reading this, then your listening to an ass. Hee haw.
On Wednesdays live Free Agent Underground Show (live every Tue & Wed at 3pm MT) we reviewed idea possibilities for two Academy members, Cindy Thomas and Lance Snow. It was a lively and revelatory show. Joining me was idea guru Jonathan Pool and about 30 people in the live audience.
We took Cindy’s ideas surrounding advocacy of family camping and drilled down during an inspiring session to what her HEART’S message really was.
With Lance’s ideas for an adventure show, we expanded on ideas but narrowed down on who his audience might be and what the marketplace viability is.
Tune in to hear brainstorming, community and the essence of what we do at Free Agent Academy in action:
I’m not dissing anyones info on ‘business start up,’ just changing your paradigm so you’ll understand why it isn’t helpful for you right now (unless you’re already in business).
If you search the main reasons business start ups fail, you’ll get a laundry list of viable issues. But they are only relevant if…you’ve fully launch a business.
Most of you who read my blogs and listen to my podcasts are not there yet. You are considering and contemplating free agency. Those lists are moot for you.
Right now the only point for you to focus on is the why and how. Why you want free agency, enough to commit to it and go after it. Then how you are going to take action amidst your current life and circumstances.
Making a business work is not easy, but it’s not the hardest part. Getting YOU to work is the hardest part.
That’s what makes Free Agent Academy unique, we focus on you as much or more as your ultimate business. Regardless of joining us, make sure you’re spending your time addressing the right issues for where you are in the journey.
On that note, in the show today, as I normally do, I welcomed new members. I never post that in these blogs and show notes, but decided to do so today. These are two members who joined since last Wednesday’s show:
Jim Land – Pine, Colorado
“I’m currently full time managing the service dept. of a fairly new company in the auto-body equipment industry. I have a wonderful wife (Suzy) who supports me. 3 kids, 2 boys and a girl and 3 grandchildren.”
Julie Caswell - Calgary, AB, Canada
“Currently I am a full time project manager in a traditional j-o-b and single.”