Please note: This post was originally published at my old personal Web site. Some interpreted the below post to mean I was retiring or taking time off work. NOPE. I'm still building my profitable freedom business while live our freedom lifestyle.
“Oh, I’m sorry. It sounds like you’re going through a rough patch right now.”
The Comcast service rep showed empathy for my apparent struggles when I told her we needed to cancel our service because we’re selling our home and will be traveling in different locations. She assumed we were in dire straits.
“Actually, we’re doing it by choice. It’s our freedom adventure and we’re going to be traveling around the country, and maybe the world, for a while,” I replied.
That news seemed to put her at ease.
“Oh, wow, well that sounds interesting. Are you retiring?” she asked.
“Nope! We’re 45 years old with four kids and decided, ‘why the heck not?’ We’ve donated or sold almost all of our possessions, we’re selling our home, and we’re going to be nomads for a while,” I replied.
The woman’s reaction to our “freedom adventure” hit all the common notes of reaction we’ve heard from people during the past several months.
We’ve lived in a beautiful home with a lot of land on the water in a wonderful city (Charleston, SC)…
There’s this thing called COVID that’s still hanging around…
We had a lot of nice furniture…
And, well, people just don’t sell a nice home and do what we’re doing, right?
Those who truly know us know that this is exactly the type of thing our family would do.
Rest assured it wasn’t always this way.
Our Freedom Journey
In 2017, I shut down my seven-figure PR/ad agency at peak revenue because I wasn’t fulfilled, my health was suffering, and I wasn’t being an epic father and husband. (If you’d like to read more about this journey, please check out my book, Five Pillars of the Freedom Lifestyle.)
One of the first things we did after I shut down my agency was take our four kids to Europe for a five-week vacation. Despite a fat-ass bank account, we had put off traveling for years because we never had enough money. We made up for that in the ensuing years – the next year, I spent a week in Cairo, we headed to Italy for three weeks, and we hit London for the 2019 holidays.
The travel bug bit us hard, and we are just fine with that.
Travel allows us to learn and grow and brings us closer together as a family.
We know that some people question how we can “afford” to travel, or why we choose to “waste” money on such extraneous activities.
The simple answer: We don’t see travel as extraneous. It’s an investment in our family and the life we want to live.
Life is about choices, and we choose to invest in travel instead of spending money on material things. We chose London, Paris, and Rome over new cabinets, counter tops, and bathroom tiles.
Travel has been a priority for us, just as home improvements or furniture or cars are a priority for others.
There’s no right or wrong. It’s simply a matter of one’s priorities.
When we began 2020, we discussed the possibility of selling our home in 2021 and traveling around the world. Nothing was definite, but we dreamed of New Zealand, Croatia, and Japan.
Then COVID hit.
Our plans went on the backburner as international (and some state) borders closed.
When the lockdowns started to lighten up, our discussions restarted. In June, we decided to pull the trigger and just do it. We put the house on the market in July and began donating and selling our stuff.
Tomorrow, we head to north Georgia for six weeks in an incredible mountain cabin where I'll service my clients, continue to grow our business, and grow closer as a family.
Where Do You Find Meaning?
“Sell your possessions and give charity; make for yourselves pouches that do not wear out and treasure that is not diminished in Heaven, where a thief does not come in and a moth does not devour. For wherever your treasure is, there shall your heart be also.” – The Gospel according to Luke, Chapter 12, Aramaic Plain English version
I’m not one of those people that regularly quotes the Bible to make a point, but I share the above citation because it’s one that is commonly used by people looking to make the argument that wealthy people are destined for the gates of hell.
It’s the same way people often use the citation from The First Epistle of Paul to Timothy to assert that, “money is the root of all evil.”
In fact, the full chapter and verse reads (the following from the Aramaic Bible):
“For our profit is great, which is the worship of God while having the necessities, for we have enough. For we have brought nothing into the universe, and we know that we can take nothing out of it; Because of this, food and clothing is enough for us. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptations and into traps, and into many foolish and harmful desires, and they sink the children of men into corruption and destruction. But the root of all these evils is the love of money, and there are some who have desired it and have erred from the faith and have brought themselves many miseries.”
The love of money.
It’s not about how much money you have. It’s not about your balance sheets, tax rates, the size of your home and value of your cars.
It’s about where your heart lies.
It’s about where you attach your meaning.
If you are someone who attaches your meaning to physical things, then when something like a pandemic or an economic meltdown occurs, you allow other people and external circumstances to take away your stuff – and your meaning.
When that happens, you are lost.
You begin to live a life of lack and limitation.
Instead of allowing your creativity to flow to make a positive impact on the world, you go into defensive mode, perhaps allowing anger, envy, or entropy to guide your decisions.
That’s why it’s so vital to build your meaning on a stronger foundation. Your relationships. Your self-care. A career that fulfills you. Making a positive impact on the world around you.
I used to be someone that attached my meaning to material “stuff.”
And so, as we watched our furniture, and artwork, and stuff leave our home – to a local non-profit, or area families, many of whom are in need, we had a strong sense that…
We really didn’t care.
Those physical things don’t hold meaning for us.
So we’re focused on the next chapter of our life, and creating the experiences that provide us freedom and fulfillment and contribute to our growth as a family.
And if you’re someone who’s reading this and thinking, “Must be nice for this rich dude to be able to give away all his stuff,” I simply respond with this quote from the late Eric Butterworth:
“Prosperity is a way of living and thinking, and not just money or things. Poverty is a way of living and thinking, and not just a lack of money or things.”
What Does Freedom Mean to You?
My definition of freedom is going to be different than yours.
That’s a good thing.
It’s important to define the life you desire; and make sure it’s not simply a default choice based on the expectations of others.
When you define your freedom lifestyle, much less start living it, be ready for others to mock, misunderstand, or criticize you.
Your inclination will be to get upset with those people. That’s natural. Don’t let that anger become a prison.
Those other people mean well. They’re just in a different place, with a different mindset and different programming (and maybe a dash of envy.)
They won’t understand you until they see your fulfillment.
Show, don’t tell.
Live the life you want and don’t make your decisions based on their mindset.
Mental programming is a difficult thing to overcome, and just realize that by living the life you desire, you will help them see what is possible.
Maybe, just maybe, they’ll follow you and create their freedom lifestyle, as well.
Earlier this weekend, I happened upon this blog post by Randy Gage. The entire post is spot-on, but the following points resonated with me in terms of defining your life of freedom, allowing your creativity to flow, attracting abundance, and dealing with critics and doubters:
Poverty is not the absence of money and material things; it is a mindset.
Prosperity is not an abundance of money and material things; it is a mindset.
You might think you have a money shortage, but it’s really only an idea shortage.
Never let anyone else’s limiting belief become yours.
If you want to become wealthy, stop taking financial advice from broke people.
You must be willing to let go of who you have been, to become who you are meant to be.
Let go of the need to be liked. Successful people threaten mediocrity.
Haters don’t hate you. They hate themselves because they don’t have the guts to do what you’re doing.
If your dream isn’t outrageous, you’re just not being realistic.
Make sure you die with more memories than dreams.
What’s Next for Us?
We’ll be up in the mountains for a few months, but after that – who knows?
We’re excited and scared and happy for what lies ahead.
But we know that if it takes us out of our comfort zone, that means we’re growing.
If we’re growing, that means we’re allowing our creativity to flow.
And that’s the goal.