How to Be Free - Christine Kane

I remember my first taste of real-life personal freedom.

It was about a year after I quit my cubicle job. I was ruthlessly determined to live life on my own terms – so I had done some radical things to earn this delicious moment.

I had sold my car (the one with the monthly payment) and bought an old beat-up car for cash.

I had found the most perfect low-rent apartment on the outskirts of town, near the railroad tracks and fully equipped with both a bedroom AND a studio.  (Ideal for the scrappy start-up mode I was in.)

I was 100% self-employed, and doing exactly what I wanted to be doing with my time.

I’ve since roamed in and out of deeper levels of what it means to be personally free.  I’ve Upleveled my life and business many times.

I now own a building space in my city – affectionately known as Uplevel Headquarters.  I lead a team. I coach and teach clients and students.  Freedom now expands to contain new elements and actions – but it still remains steadfast, provided I take time to realign and reconnect with my vision.

Some would say I am blessed to live at a time and in a country where my choices are virtually limitless.  This is true.

And yet – many people with the same circumstances aren’t free at all.  Many people talk of freedom, boast about Americans being free – but these very people will tell me they feel trapped. Or they complain that they have no options.

So what’s it take to be free?

I mean REALLY free.  Not bullshit free.  Not “Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose” free.

But really soulfully, entrepreneurially, and deliciously free.

Well, this is definitely something we could talk about til the wee hours of the dawn. (And someday, we might just do that!)

But for now, here are five words that had (and have) a major impact on my own sense of personal freedom.

1 – Define

Everything starts with your clear intention and definition.

What does freedom look like for you?   Define it.

And remember that intention requires faith. You need to believe that it is possible, and let yourself be fully alive and awake in your definition of freedom.

2 – Assess

Once you have defined personal freedom – then take stock of what holds you back or ties you down.

Do you hold on to limiting beliefs?  Do you make choices based in fear?  Does your current lifestyle weigh you down – fully equipped with too much overhead, too much stuff and not enough space?

Write it all down. Don’t criticize yourself. Just know that this is the stuff that’s in the way!

3 – Release

Big changes start with little steps.  Start by releasing some of the excess that holds you back. You’d be amazed at how much freedom this will deliver.

A few ideas:  draining friends, time commitments, clutter, lackluster employees, non-ideal clients.  Sometimes, one simple change can bring about a dramatic sense of freedom. It just takes the decision to release!

4 – Discipline

If you’re anything like me, you just cringed a little at the word “discipline.”  It still comes fully equipped with a ruler, a habit and a name like Sister John Mary.

So look at discipline this way:

Discipline paves the path to freedom.

Discipline means you take action based on your definition of true freedom. Your actions become “disciples” of your intentions.

Most people aren’t free because they take action based on their emotional reaction in the moment. Discipline means that you begin to create your life, rather than react it.  This leads to a deeper relationship with true freedom.

5 – Engage

“Screw it. I just want to sit around on a beach while hot men in shorts serve me umbrella drinks. That’s freedom.”

Does this sound like you?

Well, I’ll grant you the space to make such a claim. But we both know better.

Eventually, the beach will get boring.  You will realize that the hot men haven’t read a book in their entire 22 years, and that umbrella drinks can only repress your desires for so long.

Right now, here’s the problem.

You associate freedom with disengagement.

That usually happens when someone has been engaging with too much that drains her:  non-ideal clients, negative relationships, sporadic income.

It also happens when we’ve checked out of our lives so much that we can’t create the solutions for the items that drain us.  We already ARE disengaged.

Freedom requires engagement and presence.  It is not about checking out.  It is about stepping up.  In many ways, freedom brings with it a higher level of responsibility.


So, what about you?  Are you free?  What does freedom look like for you?  And what would you tell the other readers in our Uplevel community about how to experience freedom?

  • Paul

    Posted on a day when the script tells us freedom comes from without, from government, and from the blood of soldiers, it’s great to see a reflection on how freedom comes from within. Without inner freedom, the rest can quickly become somewhat meaningless. Thanks!

  • Imogen Caterer | Miracle Catalyst

    More and more I suspect the key to freedom for me is to stop thinking that I am broken. I’ve invested lots trying to “repair” myself, and I see now that watching my faults has often stopped me growing into what I really could be.

    Much later on I came across a man who said.”This isn’t about healing yourself – you’re perfect. It’s about healing your life.” It took a long time and several other people before I really got that meaning.

    One person pointed out our underlying self is perfect. It’s our personality that has issues, but personalities are by definition neurotic. That is how they are supposed to me. It’s a subtly different way of saying the same thing.

    So that’s how I try to live now. I develop and evolve but I’m not failure. I’m not broken. There’s still a medical diagnosis out on me! But the real me is far more than that.

  • Anna

    I have a hard time feeling ‘free’ when there are many draining people around me; including family. It is something I need to figure out how to deal with. Thank you for the post =)

  • Stacey Pruim

    This is such a great post, Christine! I feel more free right now that I even knew was possible 😉 Most of that sensation has to do with the awareness that has come my way around what lights me up. Feeding that, and starving what doesn’t. And paying attention… to the choices that are placed before us, and ‘choosing’. Being aware of motivation behind decisions and clearly intending. And then putting some sort of action behind those choices… Not settling, and not passively letting life pass by 😉 I guess it boils down to not allowing myself to be victim. Victims just plain and simple… aren’t free.

  • Ramona King

    Thanks for the Fourth of July message Kristine! Totally cool. I have to admit. Disengaging is such an easy thing to do. My favorite is looking through e-mails or writing up an intense schedule that put me into procrastination mode. It’s like doing Zombie time…dead while working…busy with no life blood…all for the sake of avoiding what is energizing and meaningful. Presently I’m working on freeing up my e-mail space and paper clutter. My daughter is home for the year so she and I are negotiating a contract for her services to eliminate and discard e-mails, paper and book clutter. Freedom for me is about living my calling fully and authentically while connecting with my ideal client. I have one client in particular, I love working with. She is becoming the model for who I look to develop relationships with. Thanks for the reminder of what it is to be free and independent. Isn’t it ironic though, part of independence requires letting go of task drainers to get help? Love your articles.

  • Karen

    thanks for the awesome reminders and great inspiration! Happy 4th, Christine! 😉

  • Nneka, Working Mystic

    When I started owning my life, I started to feel free. I did all of the things that you mentioned above. I too wanted to sit at a beach all day and soak up the rays with a good book indefinitely.

    The moment I allowed myself to dream again and take action in alignment with those dreams, I started to feel like the world is mine and I really CAN do whatever I want, whenever, and however I want. But first, I needed to know what that was, and I need to take action!

  • Monique Lusse

    thanks, christine, for the inspiration. what i love about discipline is what it means down at the root; from disciple, discipline – Disciple comes from a Latin word meaning “learner” and discipline comes from one meaning “instruction, knowledge.”
    (can you tell i’m long on the Kolbe A researcher/fact finder?!?) And for this reason, it is clear to me that it is in form that one gains freedom. so one form for me looks like: get up in the morning and before getting busy i do a little yoga and meditate for 20 minutes. it’s just “what i do” in the am. and in that form, i find freedom.

  • Anna

    Hi there! This post is one of your awesomest (I am free to make words up)! A lot of my becoming free has been releasing all the “shoulds” I’ve weighed myself down with. It’s been a big job. I have a VERY clear picture now of what my free life looks like and how it feels. At this point, it’s now about creating new things that completely align with this vision. It’s no longer scary…it’s FUN!

  • Lilly

    Ironically, it’s only on those days that I have taken deliberate action that I’ve felt the most ALIVE and rewarded. It was/is a personal fallacy to believe that lounging or taking “me time” was freedom. It was just another form of distraction from my goals. Also, for me, disengagement involved dating. So I gave that up, and with all the extra time and energy I wasn’t spending on my looks, shopping for outfits, dining out, and searching for a “rescuer”, I have been able to start up a new business that I’m going to thoroughly rock and enjoy. I’m in the final stages, getting licensed, and already the community welcome has been emotional. I’m meeting dynamic women who are leaders, business owners, organizers and encouragers who have been such inspiration and joy to me. This is where and who I want to be!

    Christine, your articles and personal journey were my initial push. Thank you!

  • Andrea

    I feel free about a lot of things and I think it is easy to start doing this today, you can feel free about how you want to look, what you want to wear, how much you want to say and share, many ways to “exercise” it.
    But what I also want you to know Christine: the picture from the 4th of July you have used in your e-zine: I just love it! That is the same dog we used to have! They are wonderful!
    See you soon! Andrea

  • Eryn

    I am free. But the realization of this journey started with lots of release. I let go of draining “friends,” clutter, draining clients, a relationship, the feeling of responsibility that wasn’t mine to have. All of this release has begun moving me in the direction of the freedom I intend and desire.

    Now freedom is aligning myself with positive friends who uplift and encourage me. Freedom is spending a night reading with a cup of tea instead of going out, because I want to take time to nurture my spirit. I have started to say yes only to things that are an absolute yes! But of course, this is a journey. I don’t get it perfect ever and some days are better than others, but if you’re looking to move toward freedom, get out your pen and follow through with the journaling Christine suggested above. You’ll start to see a path forward.

    This post is inspirational, Christine, because it lays out the process in an easy to understand manner, and provides direction for anyone who is looking to begin living in true freedom. Thanks for always being willing to share from your valuable experiences.

  • Jack Kinley

    Wow, Christine. Perfect timing! My partner and I walked around Jekyll Island last night discussing this very topic.

  • Tanya McGill Freeman

    Fantastic! Thanks, Christine. And the section on Engagement really hit home with me; I’d never thought about it that particular way. I’m really looking forward to seeing you in Atlanta at the end of the month…YAY! All the best to you. Thanks again and here’s to being truly FREE!

    • Christine Kane

      Thanks Tanya! Yeah, i’m getting really excited for Uplevel Your Business LIVE! We’re going to have a blast!

  • Maria

    I feel free when I give myself the time and space for the things that make me happy, without letting guilt get in the way: e.g. a day of from work to go hiking!

  • Lisa Larter

    Love this! Thanks for the early morning inspiration.