Personal Freedom


Personal Freedom

August 3, 2019  

What does the phrase “Personal Freedom” mean to you? 

Let’s ease into this conversation. Here are a few of my favorite insights by world renown authors, spiritual advisers and personal development coaches: 

  1. Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist, survivor of the Nazi concentration camps and author of “Man’s Search for Meaning":

    “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” 
  1. Deepak Chopra, M.D., co-founder of the Chopra Center for Well Being, the founder of the Chopra Foundation, world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and transformation, and author of over 85 books. This quote is from the “Oprah & Deepak Miraculous Relationships 21-Day Meditation, Day 18: I Cherish the Freedom to be Myself” 

    “The desire to simply be yourself comes naturally. It develops at an early age.,when a child no longer needs its parents for everything but begins to claim some things for itself alone. If this process is continued, we would all know the taste of independence and personal freedom. But at a certain point, however, development becomes a choice and the choice to be independent is problematic. You want to be yourself and have your own experience and beliefs. Yet, at the same time you want to fit in, to conform to society and the expectations of other people. In the balancing act that is the usual outcome, most people choose dependence over independence and the possibility of developing into higher fulfillment is lost.”
  1. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist Zen Master, poet, scholar, peace activist, founder of the Plum Village tradition and author of many books, including “Peace in Every Step” and “FEAR: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm.” This quote is from “The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy and Liberation.” 

    “Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.”  
  1. Stephen Covey, an American educator, businessman and author of several bestsellers, including “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective people” “First Things First,” and “The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness.” 

    “Every human being has four endowments - self-awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate freedom… The power to choose, to respond to change.” 
  1. Brendon Burchard, CEO of the High Performance Institute, one of the world’s leading high performance coaches and a #1 N.Y. Times best-selling author, whose books include “The Millionaire Messenger,” “The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives that Make You Feel Alive, ” and ”High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become that Way.” This quote comes from “The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your  Personal Power”: 

     “We must declare our personal power and freedom. 
    We hold these truths self-evident: That all men and women are created equal, though we do not live equal lives due to differences in will, motivation, effort, and habit. That we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, but that it is incumbent upon each of us to be vigilant and disciplined should we wish to attain such a vital, free, and happy life. We believe the greatest of human powers is the ability to independently think for ourselves, to choose our own aims, affections and actions. For in the hearts of humankind lives a natural instinct for freedom and independence, a psychological predisposition for self-direction, a biological imperative toward growth, and a spiritual joy in choosing and advancing one’s own life. It is the main motivation of humankind to be free, to express our true selves and pursue our dreams without restriction – to experience what may be called Personal Freedom.”

Wow…. inspiring words. Would you agree? And yet, being a very practical person, I still ask the question – “What does it all really mean? How would I begin to take action?” What actions would I take? Exactly how, do I even start to move from where I am, to a place of declaring my personal power, to a space of personal freedom? 

For me, Personal Freedom is the ability to live my life purpose and the courage to make the easy and hard choices along the way. And, a lot of my boldness has come through self-acceptance.  

As many of you know from my story in “Be Happy NOW!: From Wall Street Ambition and the Illusion of Success, My Path to Happiness,"  I started by changing everything on the outside and then moved to looking within myself for the answers, working with my coach and coauthor David Prudhomme. Many of the chapters deal with learning how to let go -- one of the hardest life lessons for most of us. For example, letting go of a need to control, letting go of anger and resentment, letting go of fear, letting go of loss of loved ones, and letting go of ego and judgment. 

These are deep conversations we have with ourselves. Today is a start to sharing our unique paths to Personal Freedom -- to transformation, really. I believe we must each find our own answers. I also believe we learn from each other. 

The art, in my personal opinion, is to conjugate the answers from deep inside your True Self with the answers you create on the outside, with the actions you take. 

As a Certified High Performance Coach™ , I am authorized to offer a course from the High Performance Institute, titled, Declarations.  I believe the Declarations Course captures the art of guiding people to look within and translate their unique insights to actions to reclaim their personal power. The Declarations Course is also the post-graduate work for people who have completed the CHPCHigh Performance Habits Course.  

In this course, based loosely on "The Motivation Manifesto" by Brendon Burchard, you have an opportunity and challenge to delve deep into Freedom, Fear, and Motivation. You will also explore what the "9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power" mean to you and what actions you believe are important to moving you from where you are to where you want to be: 

  1. Meet Life With Full Purpose and Presence
  2. Reclaim Your Agenda
  3. Defeat Your Demons
  4. Advance With Abandon
  5. Practice Gratitude and Joy
  6. Do Not Break Integrity
  7. Amplify Love
  8. Inspire Greatness
  9. Slow Time

Some time ago, I personally enrolled in Declarations with a fellow CHPC and it validated the work I have been doing for the past 9 years – and it took me to the next level of awareness and new actionable steps I want to take going forward.   

So, what is your answer to “What does Personal Freedom mean to you?” I don’t have the answer for you – it is your opportunity and challenge to find it for yourself. After all, what could possibly be more important?   

Or as Joseph Campbell said: “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” 

It is sincerely and deeply my honor and privilege to work with clients every day on these life affirming questions. 

In closing, a reminder: Registration is now open for the Total Immersion Retreat in High Performance Habits, on October 17-20th at my Lake House. This Retreat is limited to 15 women. For additional information please call me at 419-262-3717 or see my newsletter from July 17th at  The Total Immersion Retreat. 


Till next time, 

May you be happy now and always, Alison

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