Once upon a time, I grew up smack-dab in the middle of a middle-class neighborhood. I was taught early on the principles of the American Dream.

Go to school, get good grades, to get into a good college or university, to get a good job. Then and only then will you be set for life.

Yeah, right.

But I bought into the dream.

So I got good grades in high school and got into a good university. I studied hard and received a bachelor’s degree. A short while later, I went on and got my masters too. I started out in an entry-level job. I worked hard and moved up the chain. I changed positions. I moved to different companies. And before I was thirty, I was making a hell of a lot of money.

I thought I had it all – or was at least getting close. I was reaching for …

Money Freedom

Money. It makes the world go round, so the adage says.

Money is the one thing we all strive for, it’s pushed upon us as we move from child to adult.

And I fell hook, line, and sinker. I got the title and the big salary that went along with it. But I was unhappy at best.

Then change started occurring.

My dad died at the age of 54, just a few weeks short of his 55th birthday. He could have retired then, taken an early out. That was his plan. But he fell short of his goal.

I, however, stopped and took notice.

He hated his job. In fact, he was miserable. He’d been reinterviewing for his position again and again for the last several years of his life due to corporate downsizing. He was doing anything he could to hang on.

He didn’t make it. But it did make me stand up and ask questions. How could I ensure I never went through that myself?

Because I already hated my job, and was at risk for downsizing too. So I started a plan. And within months I threw the corporate lifestyle away and traded it all in for working for myself. And I’ve never looked back.

But that didn’t stop my striving for money freedom. Because no matter who you work for or how you make money, it’s the first thing we must have to feel secure.

If you can’t pay your bills, you stress. If you worry about cashflow, you’ll never be able to do much more.

Money freedom gives you the power to:

  • Be able to make money how you want, when you want
  • It creates a secure environment for you to try new things
  • It allows you to be flexible in how you live your life

Notice I didn’t say anything about a specific number. Money freedom does not equal a million dollars. (Or insert your desired number here.) You don’t have to make THIS much money in the form of salary, or have THIS much in the bank.

What you do have to have for money freedom is the ability to stop worrying about where the money will come from.

Money freedom simply means you have enough in reserves to be able to do what you want to do. It means having enough funds to cover your expenses, without stressing about where they will come from. It can come in the form of:

  • Income
  • Passive income
  • Royalties
  • Savings
  • Dividends
  • Affiliate checks
  • Advertising checks

If you know anything about blogging, you’ll quickly see how all of that can be rolled up into an online business. It’s the way I’ve made money ever since I dropped my resignation letter on my final boss’s desk, all those years ago.

Money freedom gives you the ability to move forward with your life, and to discover how valuable time is.

Time Freedom

When I first started running my own business, I didn’t have a lot of clients. I ran it on what could only be termed as a shoestring budget. So I did everything myself.

Production? Yep. Accounting? Yep, did that too. I was the janitor, the president of the company, and everything in between.

But there are only 24-hours in the day. And something eventually had to give. I could do everything myself, but why? Why not release the things I hated to do, and let someone else do them better? Someone who actually enjoys the process.

Accounting – it had to go. I hired a few virtual assistants too; people who were good at certain skills and could make my life that much more efficient.

It’s not just in business. It’s in every aspect of life.

It’s the dreaded 24-hours of the day syndrome; no matter what I do, time will never change.

So to gain more time doing what I want to do, I have to push away the things I don’t.

And that frees up more time for me to get involved in my passions. It gives me the time and energy to be the person I truly want to be.

Long ago, my husband and I calculated how much we make an hour. Then if we dislike something, we ask if it’s worth that much of our time. Let me give an example.

Let’s say I make $100,000 a year. There are 8,760 hours per year (365 days * 24 hours per day). That makes every hour of my life during that year worth about $11.42.

Of course, I can play with the numbers. What if I assume I’ll sleep 8 hours every night? That brings the total number of working potential hours down to 5,840. It makes every waking hour worth $17.12. If I want to further define it as my working hours – 40 hours per week? That brings the potential hours down to 2,080, and my hourly rate settles in at $48.08. (I know, I’m a numbers geek. I play like this all the time. Just stay with me if you’re not. Focus on the final numbers and the concepts instead.)

When I know my total hourly worth, it makes me question if something makes sense.

Why should I spend a morning cleaning my house if I can hire it out at a fraction of what I can make if I spend my time more wisely?

And here’s something that took me a long time to truly understand:

Money is unlimited. Time isn’t.

It sounds simple enough, and it is. But the profoundness of it took me years to understand.

I can always find additional ways of making money. But once time is gone, it’s irreplaceable.

So if I say no when my husband asks me to go out to lunch, it’s a missed opportunity.

If I waste a day on things I hate, I can never replace them with things I enjoy.

I can’t wish for a better future, if I’m not willing to do what it takes today to put the time in my life I need to make it a reality.

It took years to master this concept. And believe me, even know, I’m still working on it.

It was only when I added the third freedom to my life that it truly started making a difference.

Heart Freedom

I’ve found most people are held back for one of three reasons:

1. They believe their pasts dictate their futures
2. When they find “success”, they’ll be happy
3. It’s too late

I worked hard. I went to school. I have a master degree. I have a ton of corporate experience in finance, accounting, and auditing. That’s where I spent the first decade of my career. Then one day I sat up and went: AHHHHH! I hated it all.

So I switched everything and became a photographer, an entrepreneur, and eventually a writer.

I had zero training in any of my passions based on the first decade I was an adult.

If I’d have believed my schooling and my first jobs dictated my career, I’d still be working either in corporate, or maybe I would have moved to DC to continue life in the Federal government.

Trust me, when I think of that now, I become slightly nauseated.

If success equaled happiness, surely I would have been happy when I reached a management position within my government job. Or maybe when I created my first business and it generated annual revenue of $100k – maybe that should have made me happy. Or maybe, just maybe, selling a business for a healthy profit – shouldn’t that have done it?

All of that was true – for a moment. I was actually happy in all of those moments – for a short time. But humans aren’t meant to “find” happiness and sit back and relax. It’s an ever-changing process.

And then, of course, there’s the age thing.

I read about people not feeling they are the right age and laugh. Is 20 too young? Is 50 too old? What about when I’m 100?

I look at that last paragraph and laugh. Who determines the “right” age? Why? Shouldn’t it be about how you feel?

I’m not in the least bit concerned with my age.

I take that back. I am. You see, I have a deadline in my head – 54 hits me hard. That’s the age when my father died of a massive heart attack. It’s also the age my mother suffered a severe stroke.

Yep, 54 is a bad year … which is why I’m skipping it next year. I’m probably the only woman in the world who can’t wait to move from 53 to 55. (Yes, I know that’s impossible. But it’s what fuels my desires. And what’s wrong with that?)

Age is a mental holdback. Just like thinking a career defines you. Or thinking you have all the time in the world to do what you want … you’ll do it someday.

Having heart freedom puts your mental and emotional well-being at the top of everything you do. Every decision you make is from your heart-center – from the inner place that tells you what you’re really meant to do.

Having heart freedom isn’t something you find in your youth. You have to search for it.

Having heart freedom is something you find as you age. Though I don’t believe there’s a predetermined age to get it. I’m willing to bet some twenty-somethings find it, while many, MANY people die never achieving it.

It’s where your passion lives. It’s when your inner voice tells you what you need to do.

A little inner voice whispered to me when my father passed away. It told me not to follow the traditional path; do my own thing instead.

I listened.

It’s been a wild and crazy ride.

And there are still a lot of lessons to be learned.

It set me on the path for being able to listen to my heart and do what it tells me to do, no matter what the cost.

So I’ve quit jobs, groups, committees, and paths that no longer work for me.

I’ve separated from family and friends that don’t understand me.

I listen. I act. And I’m not afraid to jump at something new.

Because right now I’m only 53 – so much more living to do! So many more things to explore! So many more things to learn!

I’m listening.

Are you?