By Marsha Petrie Sue, MBA
“Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America.”
–Dwight D. Eisenhower
Our simple freedoms have been violated. Many are now worried about their companies, their business and their customers. The status of our daily lives, both personally and professionally is changing forever. The one element we control is our personal freedom. Freedom begins with you and by taking personal responsibility for everything — including your success.
The first step to renew freedom is to develop a free agent mind set. Be willing to accept and grow with the talents you have. See yourself as a winner. And remember that no one owes you anything. Ever.
The road to freedom can be condensed to 7 laws. What will you be willing to focus on and change? Do you have the passion to be really free – because freedom is not free.
Law 1: Independence is the best hedge against the unknown.
In fact, free agents are safer in an economic storm than their job-holding counterparts. The reason: They’re diversified and they leverage their talents.
If you are working for someone else, become a diversified intra-free agent. Learn everything you can to protect your future. Either way, take control of your future and your freedom.
Law 2: When times get tougher, quality counts.
The aim must be to make a difference rather than just make a killing. You need to care about quality from your heart and soul. Provide your best work at all times. Sound simple? Don’t let volume masquerade as quality. Stop and check in with yourself.
Law 3: You need to be the real you.
Confidence and assertiveness must not be homogenized by others or our positions. Our freedom is supported by our view of ourselves. How is yours? Can you stand up for your rights and not violate the rights of others? Do you really understand what your strengths and weaknesses are? Be the real you but also understand how you are perceived by others.
Law 4: Live on the edge but don’t get cut.
Free agency makes the lines of responsibility and contribution absolutely clear. When you work on your own as a free agent, you have tremendous freedom. That’s one of its great enticements. You also have great responsibility. You’re determining everything.
For many free agents, accountability means liberation. To other people it creates stress because you succeed or fail on your own merits. Scary! Responsibility screams at you with every thought and decision.
Law 5: Up isn’t the only direction.
The Peter Principle was alive and well two decades ago. Now we can focus on the Peter-Out Principle – which states that people rise until they stop having fun. We give away some of our freedoms when the best is never good enough.
Law 6: Bigger isn’t better. Better is better.
If money and promotions are no longer the sole measures of success, then what is? One answer might be growth. Free agents are questioning what success looks like in the new economy. In my opinion, growing as a human being into someone you like, becoming a life long learner, living your passions is better.
Law 7: Forget survival of the fittest.
This may be the most annoying misconception about the Free Agent Nation: Critics have said that the rise of free agency means the triumph of a “survival of the fittest, I’m only in it for me” ethic in American life. Not at all. In fact, it’s the opposite. Focus on others, not yourself. This is true independence and freedom. Pay it forward.
You are in charge of your freedom. Always remember that today’s decisions are tomorrow’s realities.