Update: 141 of your fellow adventurers are now enrolled in Amplify, our new creative productivity deep dive. Join us for this epic journey as you amp up your creative flow for 2021 and beyond! Save 40% when you join by March 12.
When I first began exploring income-generating strategies, I started with the very common freedom frame. I wanted to get something going financially, partly so I could have more freedom in life.
This frame has some major drawbacks though, so I actually don’t recommend that you use it. It can easily get you stuck running in circles.
One issue is that if you’re generating income to gain freedom, this implies that you aren’t free already. You’re putting yourself in a box of unnecessary limitations to begin with. You’re making your life harder by trying to earn income while also feeling trapped or restricted. That’s demotivating and stressful for many people.
This also sets you up for neediness. What if your ideas and attempts fail? You’ll likely frame failure as a big deal since failure means more time being somehow trapped and less free. Failing means you didn’t escape your cage. This is likely to make you clingy and overly risk averse, giving you a really strong chance of getting stuck with a partial match for years. You may mistakenly think that if you dump the partial match, you’ll somehow be less free, even while that clinginess keeps you trapped. A partial match isn’t a partial gift though; it’s best to admit that it isn’t what you want.
What if you actually succeed and earn lots of extra money? If you keep the freedom framing, then you’ll still see yourself as trapped and needing more money to gain even more freedom. That road can be endless. You’ll carry the cage with you, perhaps making it fancier as you go. Why bother? A fancier cage is still stressful.
Alternatively, suppose you achieve your magical number and declare yourself as financially free. Perhaps you don’t have to work another day in your life if you don’t want to. Now what? Just drift aimlessly till death? If you want to live an interesting life, and if achieving freedom no longer motivates you, you’ll need to find something else to motivate you after you reach this point. So if something motivates you at least as much as the desire for freedom, why didn’t you just focus on that other source of motivation from the beginning?
It’s hard to switch gears motivationally. It’s more sustainable to find a spark that will light you up at any level of financial abundance or scarcity. So why use the freedom frame if you actually want to reach the point where you can stop using it? Why not find a more enduring frame?
One way or another, the freedom framing eventually burns out, whether it succeeds or fails. It’s not the best fuel for long-term motivation. In practice this framing is more likely to run you through repeated loops of starting and stopping without good consistency and follow-through.
This freedom frame starts to lose its juice once you start doing well. You get a taste of freedom, and now you want to enjoy some of that freedom instead of working so hard to earn more of it. You’ll likely discover that you actually feel more motivated when you step away from this framing. When you felt strongly motivated and got into a terrific flow of action, was the desire for more freedom really what motivated you? Or was it something else entirely?
Freedom wasn’t a good motivator for me when I was first starting out in business. I found myself more motivated by the possible ways I could enjoy the freedom I felt I had at the time. Working harder to earn more of it often felt like drudgery in practice. It was easier to procrastinate. Trying to earn income to gain freedom wasn’t very motivating, nor was it very lucrative.
Freedom is still a weak motivator for me today. Now I have more money and resources than I did in my 20s, and it’s still not exciting to earn more money to buy more freedom. That framing feels even more misaligned now than it did in my 20s.
A framing that works much better is to look upon income-generating projects as fun and creative ways to express snd enjoy your freedom.
Assume that you’re already free. You can use that freedom to express many different ideas, values, and aspects of your personality. What would you want to express, explore, and experience if you were already free? Do that now.
Yeah yeah… take your excuses about why you can’t do that, and stuff ’em. I don’t buy into that nonsense. Each day you’re free to choose how you invest your time. Those investments are either creating good results for you, or they aren’t. If the results aren’t there, don’t waste your breath defending those investment choices. It’s ludicrous to defend the frames that aren’t working for you. If that’s your inclination, it’s definitely time to switch frames.
Many forms of self-expression can also generate income. But instead of seeing income as the result of self-expression, see income generation as part of your self-expression. When you want some extra money, you can express yourself in ways that generate plenty of money. See this as expressing the abundant part of yourself (and if you need help with that, do the immersive 30-day Deep Abundance Integration course).
If earning income is boring, tedious, or stressful for you, that’s because you’re using your freedom to express income generation in boring, tedious, or stressful ways. You don’t have to do that! You can use your freedom to express income generation through fun, playfulness, wildness, creativity, humor, connection, love, appreciation, purpose, and more. But you must first remove your head from your ass, so it’s easier to hear the voice of your heart – the same voice that keeps trying to scream at you, “Do not show up to that misaligned job on Monday! It sucks!”
Is income generation fun for you? If not, then why the hell not? It can only be because you aren’t using your freedom to bring enough fun, meaning, and delight to this pursuit, perhaps because you don’t see yourself as being free enough to have that option. The freedom frame itself might be the culprit. I recommend dropping it if it’s getting in your way and slowing you down.
As Morpheus notes in The Matrix, you’ve got to free your mind first. Dump the frames that aren’t working for you. If the freedom frame isn’t opening the doors to abundance, don’t blame yourself. Blame that problematic frame, and stop using it. Stop trying to be free, and be free.
The freedom frame has a lousy track record. What percentage of people has it really worked for? How many people who want to achieve freedom actually achieve it in the ways they really desire? How many enjoy the process of getting there? How many who actually achieve some success with this approach actually feel happy with the result? I think you’ll agree that the truth here is dismal.
Many people just end up feeling even more trapped the longer they use the freedom frame. Do you really want to join them?
Don’t try to earn freedom. You don’t have to earn it. You already have it. Just use it and run with it. Go straight to the fun parts. Go straight to the meaning and purpose. Go straight to the scary stuff – which is actually fun!
Income generation is a form of PLAY: Powerfully Living as the Abundant You). It’s part of the dance with reality. There’s no need to prove anything or earn anything. Just express the full juiciness of your freedom because you’re already free to do that.
It’s so much easier to earn plenty of income through play, creativity, and connection when you recognize and appreciate the tremendous freedom you already have.