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Independence Day +1

Today is July 5th. One day past the official holiday in which we here in America use to celebrate our Independence. We became our own country and by doing so in control of our own destiny. I’ve titled this blog post Independence Day +1 to highlight the “Now what?” that inevitably follows such a declaration.

You’ve declared your independence from Corporate America or from a bad habit or maybe from a not so healthy relationship or yes even a British King named George. It took a lot of courage to take this big step. And let me tell you it is a big step. You agonized over it and finally got the gumption to put your foot down and declare your independence.

” I will be in control of my own destiny!”

“I will not do this anymore!”

“I am not going to be a part of a something that isn’t good for me!”

You did it! You feel great! Fantastic even. The world is your oyster. There is nothing that can stop you now. The sense of freedom is intoxicating. You feel powerful and in control of your life for the first time in you don’t even know how long.

“Now what?”

It’s the next day and you wake up still feeling good, but the future which looks so bright you’ve got to wear shades also looks uncertain. If you’ve left Corporate America to strike out on your own what do you do next? You realize that the money that is in your bank account is going to have to last until…….well…..um…..until you get a paying client.  How long will that be? What if you don’t get a client before your money runs out? What will you do? Images of you and your stuff being out in the street begins to flash before your eyes. Panic starts to set in.

“What have I done?!”

Sure your boss was a meany who stifled your career at every turn. Yeah, you haven’t been happy in that line of work for years and the thought of going to work every morning was like having to get a root canal every day. But at least you got a paycheck every two weeks. Rent, groceries, gas and the occasional vacation all from your miserable and life-draining job. Having a place to live, food to eat, gas for the car and especially vacations are wonderful things.

“What was I thinking?”

Before you go crawling back to your boss, take a moment to read the following words:

Don’t panic.

When things start to feel as though they are overwhelming and careening out of control. Stop yourself in mid-spin and tell yourself those words, “Don’t panic”. Take a deep breath in and hold it for a few seconds while thinking of your imagined doom and gloom scenario then release the worst case scenario thoughts with your breath. It may take more than one cleansing breath to do this, but once you’ve reached a state of calm it’s time to review. Recap not only the reasons you declared your independence but also what you plan to do with this new found freedom.

Write it down on a piece of paper. Make a list. I’ve always found it helpful to see things rather than just think of them.  Something about the actual words written down where I can see them gives me a sense of control over them and their meaning. I put them on that piece of paper. Before that they didn’t exist. I have the power to do that and so too I have the power to make these things become a reality.

Independence not only means freedom it also means responsibility. You are free to pursue your destiny but it is also your responsibility to make it happen. There is no Employee Handbook, HR Department or systems set up to guide you on your independent journey. It is your responsibility to create your own guidelines and best practices. Sounds a bit daunting doesn’t it? Once again, let me remind you, “Don’t panic”. Take an appreciative breath for the freedom you now have to lead your life as you see fit.

The Founding Fathers helped to create and shape an entire nation based on a list. By writing down that list they put into place the first steps of what was to became our Nation’s reality. Take the time to write your own Declaration of Independence. Frame it and refer back to it often. Who knows how important it may be in the future? Two hundred and thirty-two years later the original is still having an impact on the the world.

Remember, we have the power of creation within us. When you get to Independence Day +1, all it means is that now it’s time to create your destiny.