Is your business robbing you of your freedom?
I started out to build my own business because, like most entrepreneurial women, I sensed that there was more to life than I was currently experiencing and if I wanted more, I would have to create it for myself. I didn’t really know what this ‘more’ was, but I knew it had to be out there.
I knew I wanted more freedom. I wanted freedom from working for someone else, freedom to do what I chose with my time, freedom to earn more money, freedom to make my own decisions and the freedom to live my life with purpose and meaning. To an extent I got these, but I still couldn’t shake the feeling that something was still missing.
In spite of doing what I set out to do, running my own business wasn’t giving me what I set out to get.
Then I read a quote by author and philosopher, Joseph Campbell saying that
“Ultimately what we all want is not to find meaning or purpose in our life, but to feel the rapture of being alive.”
Reading this quote stopped me in my tracks. After the initial excitement of starting out on my own, I had started to slip back into dissatisfaction with my lot, going through the motions of the day-to-day tasks of running a business.
Out of curiosity I picked up the dictionary and looked up the word ‘Alive’ and the first meaning I came across was ‘alive; living, not dead.’ I found it emotionally disturbing to see the very first entry for the word ‘alive’ written in such a pragmatic way. (I do know that is the job of a dictionary by the way!)
I think I found this so disturbing because it seems to echo the way many of us view life, i.e. that life is simply about being ‘not dead’. Why do so many of us not even question what it is to be alive?
I was sleepwalking through running my business, going through a series of activities, thoughts, reactions and then doing the whole thing over again the next day. Numb to the present moment I was existing on autopilot. Of course, there were still moments when I felt the adrenalin rush, felt free to feel the joy and flow and rapture of being fully alive but they were just moments. And moments just weren’t enough. Instead of the freedom I wanted from my business, I felt trapped, back in the same old place I was before I started it.
How could I find the freedom to feel alive in my business?
Thankfully, Campbell’s quote pointed to the answer… that by its very nature life itself is rapturous!
We do not have to make life more rapturous by doing things to try to add to or enhance the experience. Changing what we do, trying to find what is missing in our life is fruitless. All this search does is tighten the trap we have fallen into – the belief that adding more to our lives will bring us what we are looking for. All this striving just gets in the way of noticing what has always been available to you. All we have to do is slow down and take the time to become aware of what is already there.
So I have a challenge for you. This week notice those moments when you feel alive in your business. The times when you feel the freedom to be exactly who you are, say exactly what you want and do exactly what feels real and authentic and bring your full attention to that moment. And just notice.