What Does “Freedom” Really Look Like? (Episode 119)
What does freedom really look like? When you dream of it, does it mean no work, a six figure income, or does it move beyond money to mindset?
In this episode and post below, We share about our experience at Acton talking to little world-changers about bucket list dreams and goals.
What is Acton Academy?
We've shared about Acton before; I essentially call it "private school for unschoolers." Just like our Functional Education model, the core of Acton philosophy is greatly rooted in a growth mindset that lasts all your life.
At Acton Academy, there are no teachers; only guides. The students set their goals, guidelines and rules, and have ownership in their learning process.
Co-founder Jeff Sandefer says, “Our young people at Acton are learning that courage, grit, and perseverance matter far more than regurgitating facts.” Project-based curriculum helps students learn to know, learn to do, and learn to be. And the hero's journey is a huge part of that.
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A Hero on a Hero’s Journey must be willing to scale great heights, even in the face of resistance, distraction and victim-hood. Because it takes courage to find a calling in life, and to use it to change the world.
So thrilled to have finally visited the original Acton Academy! While we've been connected virtually for a while now, this was the first time we met the founder, Laura Sandefer in person. She not only welcomed us in, but invited us to speak during "Entrepreneur Week" to the youngest of the Acton Eagles - a group of around 30 children under 10 years old.
She showed us around and explained this amazing "hero's journey", showing off vision boards and goal-setting charts from the kids, and giving us such a warm welcome.
You know you have an amazing school when Ellie turned to me, wide-eyed, and said, "she is just like Ms. Frizzle from the Magic Schoolbus!"
Follow us on our journey on Insta as the FieldTripGypsies!
Embrace the Struggle
The Acton Academy Business fair is what really launched the whole school. These are one-day events created and launched by children. It's an amazing opportunity for children to run the whole thing - what they are selling, how they will market, and what their profit/loss margin was.
"Entrepreneur week" happens right after the business fair, and entrepreneurs come in to speak to the kids about their own experiences of starting a business and the ups and downs along the way.
A big aspect of it is really looking at the struggle as part of the process. There is such opportunity for growth in the uncomfortable; those areas that push us and challenge us and knock us down. It's then that we gain clarity - the why behind what we're doing and the desire to overcome. It's there that we learn to push past our limits and uncover our own greatness as our upper limits rise and we come to a greater understanding of who we are and where we want to be.
Freedom as an Entrepreneur
Instead of coming into our discussion with the Acton youth just telling all about us, I drew on their Socratic Method of teaching. So I started with asking them what a bucket list was.
According to Webster, a bucket list is "a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime."
So they started rattling off their hopes and dreams, from being a professional soccer player to publishing a book, and then we went a step deeper.
I asked them to close their eyes and imagine they were there, in the moment of fulfilling that bucket list goal.
What does that feel like?
We've shared our story in the past (and in our first podcast episode) and how Danielle LaPorte's book, The Fire-Starter Sessions, was such an eye-opener to me in learning to seek out the feeling behind the goal.
When your intentions and goals are pointed in the same direction, you can manage the madness that comes along the way.
Some additional resources for you
- Explore more about Acton Academy
- An Invitation to a Hero's Journey
- Children's Business Fair
- Feeling completely overwhelmed and stressed out?
- What Do You Want This Life To Be? (Episode 16)
- Embrace The Struggle (Episode 41)
- Learn more about the Socratic Method of teaching/learning
- Serendipity, Unhurried Spaciousness, and Lots of Hot Air (Episode 115)
- What is our purpose for money?
- Money can’t buy…
- How Are You Going To Pay For Your Party? (Episode 53)
- Which Wolf Do You Feed? Work & Finances (Episode 23)
- Earning More Won't Help Your Happiness
- Money, marriage and mountain lions (episode 58)
- Research shows more money won't make you happy
Freedom feels like...
How often do you give yourself permission to feel? To stop and really experience it? When you achieve a goal, do you really soak in the feeling of it all? Can you shift from the task to the emotion?
Sometimes it can feel more safe to stay busy - to just keep loading goal after goal so you're moving ahead, without stopping to feel the satisfaction of accomplishment.
Freedom feels like...accomplishment. Peace. Joy. What words start cropping up for you?
For us, freedom did not mean no responsibility or an eight figure income. Freedom, we recognized, started with our own mindset, and whether we were lost as a victim of circumstance or if we were getting intentional about moving forward.
Who do you feel is the director of your life?
How can you start the process of capturing the feeling of your bucket list aspirations before you even get there? How can you incorporate those feelings now?
When will "One Day" Happen?
I've stated many times, that "it'll always remain 'one day' until you put a date on it."
Another young man at Acton shared a quote he heard that resonated with him in the same way: "There are seven days in a week...and 'someday' is not one of them." (Benny Lewis)
Close your eyes and envision what it really feels like to be truly free. Imagine you're there. Now what? Like a dog chasing a car...once you get it...then what?
Sometimes "freedom" can actually be more entrapment. We can make more and more money...and with it come more things and more responsibilities. Now instead of being more free, you can pay for those extracurricular activities, and you find yourself living and breathing swim team or acting classes and performances. Sometimes more isn't really better.
What is your purpose for money?
What makes you happy?
Money doesn't necessarily equate to happiness or freedom. There are all kinds of studies that show $75,000 a year as the magic number.
Happiness has so much more to do with your mindset than your bank account.
Especially with entrepreneurs can get so lost in the pursuit of "more" - so lost in their focus of what is next that this potential almost paralyzes them. Don't let the potential of more rob you from seeing what you already have.
We've been blinded by commercialism in this culture that more consumerism equals happiness.
You've got to be able to pay for your party - that's a reality. But what you give away for that is your choice. It's an energy exchange any way you look at it.
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Freedom is a Mindset
When you have clarity around your emotions and your feelings, this becomes an easy framework for checks and balances. It helps you to determine that energy exchange and what your why is.
Freedom doesn't mean poverty. It might night be riches, either. See if you can separate freedom from the financial side, so it's not just about a dollar amount.
Freedom, to me, is allowing space for serendipity. It's not more money, but more time. It's being able to draw a line in the sand and create boundaries around what I do. Especially as an entrepreneur when there is always potential for more, being able to draw a clear line in the sand and put work down to create space for family, rest, creativity, health...
Your Weekly Challenge:
What does freedom look like? Ask yourself, your partner, your children.
Have this conversation openly with your family - not once, but continuously. It will evolve as your family grows.
Revisit your why. It will evolve and change. Talk things out and discuss what's working and what isn't. Explore different stories and determine what you want your relationship - and your family to be like....and what freedom truly is.
Ask yourself some key questions:
- Are we where we want to be?
- Are we truly happy?
- What am I tolerating?
- What role can I play to improve this?
You have an impact. Everywhere you go, you have an impact. Emotionally, energetically, you have more power than you may give yourself credit for.
I am passionate that each of us has our own unique strengths that are important to share. You are powerful beyond measure. You make an impact. And so does everyone else in your family. The more you can understand that, know how to interconnect, and have grace, the more your family will thrive. Because ultimately, the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.
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