Freedom Is a Trap

The Freedom Tour has oddly, inexplicably, surprisingly, and perfectly become about commitment. But not the commitment that makes you feel like you suddenly have a ball and chain around your ankle. Not the commitment that’s done out of duty or obligation. The type of commitment I’m talking about is the one that comes from choice, willingness, and the pull of your soul to be a part of something bigger than your own whims and agenda. The type of commitment I’m referring to is the one that expands rather than limits. It says yes instead of no. It jumps in with both feet, all in, full throttle, gas pedal pressed down with vigor.

This particular brand of commitment is one I’ve only recently grasped and only recently even knew existed.

I’ve detected the faintest sweet smell of a deeper freedom on the other side of this new kind of commitment. I’ve heard a very quiet, yet persistent, promise of grand things to come on the other side of the leap of faith required to pass to the other side. The price of admission is 100% commitment. I’ve tried 95% commitment and it sucks. That’s where the shackles have held me in the past. Going for what I want mostly, but in the end always holding something back. It creates friction. It creates tension. It creates an illusion of freedom that really actually just makes me feel like crap.

When your foot is on the gas and the brake.

When an opportunity to commit to something you truly desire comes along and you say yes, but you keep one foot slightly on the brake as you simultaneously gun it with your other foot, you are weighted. You’ve just willingly, though not consciously, put yourself into a cage that you’ve built for yourself, and you’ve clunked the door tightly behind you. You have the key in your pocket to let you out if you’d like. But your trap is constructed of what you’re seeing as a lack of freedom from making one choice over another or one choice that will forever preclude you from the freedom to have all the other choices out there. Your anthem is, “I want it all and if I say yes fully to one thing that means I’m saying no to everything else. So I will remain in the land of maybe’s and sort of’s and we’ll see’s and yeah, if nothing better comes along’s.” And so you get to hang out in this cage.

This brand of freedom, the one that says maybe, is an illusion. It’s a sweet, seductive one, but an illusion nonetheless. However, the key in your pocket is whispering to you ever so persistently, saying:

“Hey, you! Yeah, you up there! Make a bold choice. Jump in with both feet, mind, body, and soul. Give yourself to something, someone, and someplace. Do yourself the favor of committing 100%. Go all in. You’re in this cage because of an idea of unlimited possibility that you’ve gotten yourself stuck in. You’re holding out. You’re holding back maybe only 5 or 10%. On the other side of the cage door is where the good stuff is. Inside the cage it’s crumbs. Outside is the banquet. I know you can’t see it but you have to trust. You’ve got to give yourself over 100% and then, and only then, when you put this key in the lock, the most deliciously satisfying click will echo as your cage dissolves and you’re suddenly free. And this time it will be real, solid, sustainable freedom—freedom that only those who have the courage to go all in can feel. The price of admission is high. It’s the risk of giving up the childish illusion of having it all for the ever so much more profoundly nourishing freedom of having exactly what’s meant for you.”

Freedom is seducing you.

The thing about freedom is it’s seductive. I’m of an incredibly blessed generation of women who have virtually unlimited choice. I could become a brain surgeon. I could become a CEO. I could run away and join the circus. I could get married and have ten babies. I could travel the world. I could go grow organic vegetables in Italy. I could build orphanages in Uganda. I could provide micro-credit for entrepreneurs in developing countries. I could be a DJ. I could be a pastry chef. I could go sit in a cave in India and meditate for the rest of my life. I could go sit on a bench in Central Park and watch pigeons. And what I’ve learned is that when I choose “all of the above” I actually miss out on the depth of any of the above. The thing about this type of freedom is that it’s debilitating. I’ve learned that having so much choice that you don’t ever fully dive in to any one thing is not only boring, it’s also lonely. I’m beginning to see that commitment adds depth and dimension that I never dreamed possible.

Look, Mom! I’m a grown-up!

I recently committed to my first ever official, written down and well thought out, lawyer-approved business partnership, complete with the initials “LLC.” The prospect of it was so terrifying and so exhilarating that immediately after making the decision I shut my finger in a really big metal door. And though saying yes, going all in, and signing my name on the dotted line made the adolescent inside me scream and yell and stamp her feet, my wiser self said yes with abandon.

Already, only three months in, this has been one of the top five most important and best decisions of my life. It has meant canceling plans, delaying a much-desired long drive up the Pacific Coast Highway, saying no to a few parties, meetings, and potentially good times. But it has also meant saying yes to profound growth, having my buttons pushed in that just-so way that’s making me grow up, and expanding the possibilities in my life beyond what would have ever been available to me had I gone in my usual 80-95%.

I’m learning to work in true partnership, to be held fully accountable for my end of the deal, to create from scratch, to build an information product online, to teach, to create content that’s truly valuable, and to be of service. And the business partnership has a very real potential to earn me seven figures. Woah, Nelly. Writing that freaks me out. And pushes my upper limits.

None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t made a strong, unwavering commitment, regardless of my fear and immature cries for the kind of freedom found at the shallow end of the pool where you always know exactly where the bottom is and you never have to worry about keeping yourself afloat.

How to give up good to have great.

I’m certainly no commitment expert. This is all new to me. I created The Freedom Tour to explore freedom. And so far what I’ve found out is that there’s this sneaky, yet critical, ingredient that requires all of you in order to have what you truly want. And it means letting go of what you don’t really want, or just sort of want, or think maybe you might want. It means giving up good to have great. It means taking a flying, sometimes spastic, leap into the unknown to see the glory of what your life can be like if you are willing to give a definitive yes when you hear that the promise of your true desire is on the other side.

The past three months I’ve let go of an apartment, my furniture, at least two-thirds of my wardrobe, all but ten books, a

The remainder of my belongings and me.

whole bunch of other stuff I simply didn’t need to carry around with me anymore, a business partnership that was no longer serving my partner or me, and the outmoded notion that freedom means getting to do anything you want whenever you want. And while hanging out in the terrifying, pregnant pause that comes from letting go of having it all and committing to having what you truly want, I have received more love, fun, pleasure, money, opportunities, connections, and satisfaction on a cellular level than I could have dreamed for myself at this point in my life.

So I say thank you to commitment for whispering me out of my cage to a deeper, more expansive, grander level of freedom than I knew was possible. Thank you for forcing me to grow up and hold myself to a higher standard. Thank you for allowing me to glimpse the beauty of going all in and giving myself over, 100%.

7 Steps to Commitment . . . and Finding True Freedom

At the risk of being trite, I decided to come up with a quick seven-step guide to commitment. Don’t let the simplicity of this checklist fool you. This is the real deal, I swear.

1.    Identify the thing you’re most scared to say yes to in your life.

2.     Notice the biggest area in your life where you’re holding back.

3.    Decide to say yes, go all in, and commit 100% even though you’re scared to do so.

4.    Tell at least one person you’re doing it. Even better, tell a whole bunch of people.

5.     Watch, and behold the beauty that unfolds in your life as deeper, far more amazing possibilities open up for you than ever could have been available had you stayed in maybe land.

6.    Rinse and repeat with the other things you’re scared about committing to.

7.    Enjoy, and let me know how it goes.

 

 

What do you think?

Where are you holding back in your own life?

Have you ever felt like you had your foot on the gas and the brake at the same time?

What does freedom mean to you?

What does commitment mean to you?

Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

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26 Responses to Freedom Is a Trap

  1. Kat says:

    this is true. I’ve been exploring something similar, and I can see it’s the path out of my over-committed-Marcia-Brady-schedule and into something better… as soon as I sort out what something better is. But in the meantime, my bookshelf and possessions continues dieting.

  2. Danielle Porter says:

    Thank you for being brave, being a roll model and giving us a guide! Some of us that struggle with commitment (even though I don’t know I’m doing it sometimes) do need to let go of the “good”. It seems to be the biggest challenge for me, but I really do what “great”! Congratulations on your big leap! You are so inspirational!

  3. I’ve been on my own mental Freedom Tour and am loving every step of it. Even the scary bits!

    Adoring you.

  4. Sheri says:

    Beautiful, Kate. Good for you! Reminds me of a movie quote that has meant so much to me and many friends, from Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers. Aragorn: What do you fear, my lady? Eowyn: A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.

  5. Azul says:

    I love it! The gas pedal brake analogy really hit home – pleasantly uncomfortable to realize where in my life I’ve been doing this. Thank you Kate! xoxo

    • Kate says:

      @Azul, I’m SO glad you liked that analogy…and that it made you a little uncomfortable :) There’s no growth without discomfort. Congratulations for being willing to go there!

  6. Kate,

    Waiting with bated breath for the next thing you’re cooking up. I love hearing about your adventures – hope to see you in Tennessee sometime soon!

    Congrats on owning “grown up,” that takes balls and several boxes of kleenex, I’ve found. :)

    xo,

    Kathleen

  7. Alma says:

    Kate,

    This was such a joy to open this morning. I get lost in your writing it’s just plain heaven. I cried. I’ll be the one to admit it first :) I don’t know what else to say except thank you for your courage and soul and I’m so blessed to have met you along with all the other amazing women in my life over the past couple of years. It has really been the turbo boost this suburbian mother needed.

    L,
    Alma

  8. Anne says:

    Kate, This came at the perfect moment. I have been thinking about how to have more time for my USANA business, while being afraid to let go of my other career for fear of not having enough income. I realized as I was reading it, that what I need to do is ditch the other career and concentrate all my time and energies to the new business. As Dr. Wayne Dyer says, the right people come into one’s life at just the right time!

  9. Patricia says:

    Kate, this is one of the most powerful pieces of yours that I’ve ever read. I’m taking a deep breath and taking it in. It requires a second reading, and then sitting down with those deceptively simple 7 steps. You’ll be hearing from me on the results.

    Keep on rockin’
    Patricia

  10. Kate you are beautiful inside and out! I can see how FEAR leads a lot of people and until recently I was a sucker for fear, I actually lived for it to slap me in the face and say “No Kris, you can’t do that” and I would back down and say “ok, phew….no stress to have to get it done now!”

    Recently I was tired of it, wanted more freedom, needed more money, and finally took the strength to ask for a miracle. Later that night I had a dream about me and the top earner in my company. He told me to “Roll up my shirt sleeves and do it!” since then I have been doing it. WIth some hesitation, but doing it :)

    Taking the action steps really make a huge difference in life ;)

    Keep rocking our world girl! You inspire us all!

    xxoo
    Kris

  11. Katie says:

    As you have discovered, the irony is that we need some boundaries in order to experience true freedom. This is an important teaching in the type of yoga I study (Anusara) and I’ve found it to be true in my own life.

    While I’m writing, I want to thank you for introducing me to the concept of the upper limit problem (i.e. The Big Leap). Reading it helped me get up the courage to leave my full time job and embark on social entrepreneurship. Scary for sure, but necessary for my happiness.

    All the best to you.

  12. Sheila says:

    Kate – Another fabulous work of inspiration. Thank you so much for leading the way and showing us all how to live in the unknown, feel through the discomfort and awaken full of love and joy! I appreciate your cellophane-ness, applaud and revel in your writing, relate to you on so many levels and am truly awed, inspired and grateful to know and love you!!!

  13. Kosta says:

    Kate,

    I deeply love what you have wrote here. You are playing with deep experiences, thankyou for sharing with us.

    I couldn’t help but have an image pop into my mind as I was reading your words… “The price of admission is 100%”.

    The image was of a sprinter. Fresh into the starting blocks, head down, white knuckles. Looking at his laced spikes. Tactilely twisting the ball of his foot, gently seeking epic grip in the ground. Seeking a foundation … a base … from which to explode with every ounce of power in his system.

    He had made the commitment to run. Irrespective of who was in the lanes on either side, the commitment was to seek his own perfection. No shackles, pure wind in the face, pure speed. The perfect race.

    But, I couldn’t help but think that to be truly committed, you have to have a foothold. On something truly rock solid and dependable. You can’t be committed to run if you slip at the first step.

    It strikes me that this can be any kind of foundation. A person. A place. A dream. I think it can be anything. So long as it is unquestionable. You can only give as much committment as you have trust in your base.

    Isn’t this a key ingredient to the type of 2nd type freedom you are talking about?

    Would love to know what you think.

    • Kate says:

      @Kosta, So true! We cannot fully commit unless we have something to hold on to. It may be a belief, a person, a place, a dream. For me, it’s many of the above. I feel like the reason I can even take this leap on The Freedom Tour is because I have deep, deep roots and footholds galore. I love your analogy of the runner and his foothold. Thank you so much for your thoughts. Looking forward to more in person soon!

  14. Paula says:

    Hi Kate,
    I think I met you at my apartment on the UWS. Or am I hallucinating? Did you drop by with Ophi E. and someone else… you were coming from another party — it was one night end of last year before a party I was throwing? Anyway, if not, apologies. Either way, I somehow wondered onto your site — and it was destiny! This blog posting is amazing. So well written. Having one foot on the gas and the other on the break is something I can SO relate to. Exactly what I needed to read tonight. You have no idea the difference this posting has made. THANK YOU! And I hope we meet (again).
    Paula

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