You don’t need to win the lottery or quit your day job to experience a sense of freedom at work. I was recently interviewed about how “being an entrepreneur makes me feel independent.
I answered joyfully. But the truth is, I’ve been making a lot of my own freedom in a corporate day job for the last 2 decades. Much freedom comes from getting clear on who you are and taking control over your corner of the world.
6 Ways to Feel Freedom at Work
- Butt Out – Not always, but sometimes. It’s easy to get sucked into someone else’s drama. I have a colleague who says, “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” There’s huge freedom in that sentiment. Sure, if you’ve got something substantial to offer by all means engage, but just like more spectators to an accident, more is not always helpful. Free up your energy for something more productive.
- Establish Personal Boundaries – Knowing how far you’re willing to go will take a lot of stress out of each situation. Having a clearly established values, ethics and boundaries will help you feel more in control of decisions and makes it easier to let go of minor frustrations. It’s liberating to know who you are and to live by that code. You’ll be surprised how much people will respect you taking an occasional solid stand, if most of the time you’re supportive and helpful.
- Create Structure and Processes – The more you can establish routines and systems for every day activities, the more time you’ll have for experimentation and creative exploration of new ideas. Plus structure keeps you organized, and nothing will make your boss leave you alone than a well-organized approach.
- Speak Up: – Every time I take over a new team, I begin with the following words: “If something feels stupid, it probably is. Say something.” We then proceed to celebrate when someone outs some “stupidity (of course never actually using the “s” word. )“I’m just wondering if this really makes sense in the context of that.” I’m always amazed how many people feel strangely empowered by this basic invitation to speak the truth. If something feels stupid, speak up, and encourage your team to do the same.
- Build White Space Into Your Calendar – It’s tempting to jam your calendar to the brim with “productive” activity. When your brain is full, there’s no time for creative signals to get through. Build some deliberate time in to your day to step back and take the long view. If you’re in an hourly structured job where that’s impossible, find a way to carve out a few minutes of your personal time to really reflect on how you are doing your work and how you could be more impactful. It will pay off in the long run. Read more
- Create a Cultural Oasis – If you’re feeling frustrated by the culture of your organization, do what you can to create a cultural niche in your neck of the woods. Lead how you would like to be led. Engage your peers in creative ideas. Be the boss you wish you had. Encourage special projects, volunteer for new assignments. Read more here