I’m participating in the #10DBC #FreedomPlan challenge. This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 2.
DAY 2: What’s My Why?
Natalie kicks off Day 2 of the 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge by asking a provocative question: Why do I want to live the Freedom Lifestyle? To answer this question, I have to take a few steps back.
This is not the first time this question has been posed to me. Ever since High School, my father has always said “You have to choose a career where you are excited to get up and go to work in the morning! Once you have too many days in a row where you wake up and dread going to work, that’s when you know you’re not in the right situation.”
So what makes me tick? Every morning, what is it that makes my blood race through my veins and drives me to get up and go into work? What’s My Why?
Answer: I want to change the world!
Now I have an idea of what you’re probably thinking, and it may be along the lines of “Woah, take it easy man! Who the hell do you think you are?” Ok, take a deep breath and let me explain what I mean by that.
For years I’ve been told that I’m not special, that I simply need to land a job and follow the rules that society has given me. I’ve been told repeatedly not to go for the spotlight or sit in the first chair at the front of the symphony and that instead I should sit in the very back row and let those in charge choose to bring me to the front. And you know what that got me? Just a bunch of footprints all over my face (figuratively speaking). I was walked over, never taken seriously, and never given the opportunity to show what I’m capable of creating. Worse yet, I had to sit there and watch other people receive recognition and be rewarded for their projects that were in my opinion, subpar compared to what I wanted to do.
That began to change for me around Christmas of 2009. My extended family always gets together for the holidays, and it was during this time that one of my Aunt’s said “You need to go Study Abroad and learn Spanish.” What? Me? Go live internationally, sign-up for a full immersion course only in a foreign language, fall a year behind my friends and not be in the same med.school class, and risk jeopardizing a potential relationship with the most incredible girl I had met? Why would I do that? At the time, it seemed ludicrous, especially to my parents.
But then I stumbled across an old interview by Steve Jobs on the secrets of life that really made me think. I began to toy with the idea of risking so much of what I valued in order to study abroad, and after considering it for a few months, I took the plunge. I spent 10 months studying abroad in Spain where I not only learned some Spanish, but more importantly I broke out of my comfort zone! I learned about who I truly was, what I valued in life, and more importantly, built confidence in my own decision making abilities.
When I returned to my university for my Senior year, I decided it was time to step into a leadership role. So I went big and I ran for Class President. Many people doubted I had a chance at being elected since I had been in Spain the previous year and no one really knew who I was from previous years. But my core classmates rallied around me and thanks to them, I was elected President. Our group of Class Officers experienced tremendous success that year that created meaningful change for all future graduating classes and their officers. When the yearbook staff asked me to provide advice to the rest of the underclassmen body on how to be proponents of change, I provided my own spin on Steve Jobs’ “Here’s To the Crazy Ones” ad, and I said this:
“How do you make the world a better place than when you found it? You do so by realizing that you hold the keys to your own potential. So instead of listening to the world’s negativity or condescending demeanor, challenge the status quo. Dream big, and lead others to view the world differently. For when you envision not what is, but what can be, that is when true change occurs.”
~Richard C. Patchett
This is what I mean by changing the world. Having the audacity to stand up and say “There’s a better way of doing things, and I’m going to make it happen!”
No one said it was going to be easy! Has everything become all peachy and filled with roses for me? Most definitely not. BUT, my change of perspective and how I act is starting to lay a foundation for something greater. I now know that while there is a lot of hard work that needs to be done, it’s only a matter of time before opportunity knocks and the doors start to open.
So Why do I want to live the Freedom Lifestyle?
I want to live the Freedom Lifestyle so that I can challenge the status quo. I want every single day to be a Saturday or Sunday, filled with excitement, happiness, and not filled with any regret. It’s time to STOP living for the weekends!
I want to have the freedom to know that when I identify a problematic situation, I can choose to improve it. I want to be able to make my own schedule and not be confined to the 8-5 workday so that I can partake in other activities outside of work that will have a meaningful impact on the world around me. Why are we so rigid on working during specific hours every week? If I put in longer & odd hours but can get the same amount of work done by Wednesday that it might take the standard employee the entire 40 hours during the 8-5 schedule to complete, why I am penalized? Why aren’t we tracking and rewarding based upon productivity and meeting deadlines?
I want to have the freedom so that when my family says “Hey we want to go on a two week vacation. Can you come?” that I then have the power to say “Let me re-arrange my work schedule and work ahead a bit, but yes I can make it happen” instead of saying “I only have 10 days of personal time or continuing education every year so I can’t go with you.”
I want to have the freedom so that I can set aside time to work on personal growth opportunities, such as continuing education. I want to be able to see a conference I want to attend and say “Hey, I’m registering and will be attending” as opposed to “I don’t have any vacation or continuing education time in my work bank this year for that, so I have to wait and schedule it for 2017 or 2018.” And even more importantly, when I am invited to attend or speak at a conference, I want to be able to say “Wow, I really appreciate you thinking of me! Yes I would be happy to come!” as opposed to “Thanks but my employer has denied my request to attend.”
I also want to have the freedom to set aside time to finish editing and compiling my late grandmother’s autobiography and then send it off to the publishers. I then also want to have time to write my own autobiography of all of my experiences and share what advice I would give to my 13 year old self and to all youth in high school, college, and grad school to help them achieve and accomplish their goals.
And of course, I want to have the freedom to be financially sound so that I can shift from a mindset of “How am I going to pay for the work that needs to be done on my car in addition to buying food to eat?” to instead “I know I don’t need to worry about money anymore, but how can I grow what I have to do bigger and better things for the world?” I would love to get to the point where I have my own foundation that continuously gives back to worthy people and causes who are in need, especially for educational expenses.
I want to Live the Freedom Lifestyle because it will enable me to challenge the status quo and find new ways to change the world.
And that’s it for my responses to Day 2 of the Blog Challenge! Again sorry for this being a long post. Come back every day between now and September 19 to see what else we’ll discuss.
Finally, what’s with the picture of me at the top of this post? This is at Montserrat Monastery just outside of Barcelona in Spain. We visited the monastery during my time studying abroad in Spain. With the vast valley and towering mountains, this palatial setting creates an atmosphere that is breathtaking! The raw power of standing on that ledge with the wind swirling in your face is an experience I will always remember. It is that moment of feeling so alive that sums up how I feel about life: The world is right there before me. It is up to me to continue working hard to push the boundaries and seize the opportunities that will come my way. (As a side note, sorry for the poor quality in the photo. It’s amazing how far technology has come in only 5 years!)
Ok, it’s Sunday night here in Hawaii. Time to finish preparing for the week ahead!
Have feedback on my post? Feel free to comment below! Be sure to follow along with us as we continue to explore Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 2.
Be sure to check out the hashtags #10DBC #freedomplan on Social Media to see what others are writing about!