In this post, I discuss the freedoms Gen Xers want NOW but haven’t achieved yet. Generation X is a hard-working generation, and we don’t always like waiting for the things we want in life. So, this post is all about how to live a more gratifying life NOW, rather than waiting another 10 or 20 years until you retire.
The Freedoms Gen Xers Want NOW
Gen Xers crave 3 freedoms: financial freedom, career freedom, and the freedom to travel. This list is not exhaustive, but I think it identifies common Gen Xers' desires.
Financial freedom is different for everyone. For some, it means not being held hostage by debt. For others, it’s having enough financial stability to feel prepared for the future. But your idea of financial freedom may different.
Perhaps you want a level of financial freedom that allows you to work part-time instead of holding a full-time position. Or maybe it’s having enough money to sustain the lifestyle you desire. Whatever the case, the goal is to get clear about your definition, so you can create a plan to achieve the type of financial freedom you desire.
Career freedom involves the ability to work when you want, where you want, and do what you love. I ignored this for a long time in my professional life. While I enjoyed my career in academia, I didn’t have the ability to work when I wanted. Usually, I had to work an 11 or 16-week term before I could take time off. Even working remotely during my last couple of years at the university, left me feeling constrained.
Starting my own business was aligned with my idea of career freedom. It placed me in the position to meet people I wouldn’t meet in an academic setting and to do work that respective to my core values and beliefs. But do you know if you have career freedom? The answer is contextual because it means something different for everyone.
Here are a few signs that your career may not be providing as much freedom as you want.
*You resent the work you do
*Your colleagues add to your feelings of discontent
*You want to quit your job, but believe there are few opportunities available to you
The third freedom is one that lots of people enjoy and want to enjoy more–the freedom to travel. You may think this is just the capability to vacation whenever you want. However, I think it’s bigger than that. Traveling is an exciting way to learn new approaches to life. Traveling helps you overcome fear and learn how to get out of your comfort zone.
But some Gen Xers believe their life’s circumstances won’t allow them to travel. Their beliefs show up as perceived barriers or objections. Here are some other objections I hear from my Gen X clients include:
*I don’t have enough time
*I have a family to care for, and all my money goes towards the things we need
*I’m single and I don’t want to travel by myself
Let’s be clear—these are excuses. They prevent Gen Xers from developing a mindset that opens the imagination and solidifies their commitment to reaching their goals. Hoping that your circumstances will magically change one day prevents you from acting. But raising your level of awareness of how to achieve the freedoms is the first step towards action.
How to Build Awareness
I’ve learned in my work with Gen Xers is that they lack awareness in the essential areas required for change. These areas include:
1. The effectiveness of your plan
2. The potential challenges you may encounter
3. The situations where your goal commitment may waiver
You need a plan to get from where you are now to where you want to be. A clearly defined plan is what closes the gap between your starting point and your destination. But most Gen Xers that I’ve worked with never develop a plan to achieve the freedoms they want in life. To me, this is the equivalent of searching for buried treasure without a map. If you need help creating your plan, visit my website for access to FREE resources.
The second area is related to having a plan since it helps prepare you for potential obstacles. Identifying obstacles ahead of time allows you to develop strategies. For instance, if you want to change careers, knowing in advance which skills and qualifications you need helps you to prepare for the transition. That might mean returning to school to upskill or accepting an entry-level position in your target field to develop your skills. Front loading your obstacles strengthens your plan and improves the likelihood that you’ll succeed.
The third area is the most important. No matter the context, you must know your limits. What are your boundaries? What are you willing to negotiate? If you answer these questions in advance, you’ll reach a better understanding of where you could potentially fall short. Similar to knowing your obstacles, identifying the circumstances in which your commitment level may decline helps you better manage your mind when those situations occur.
These areas combined help maximize the strategies you will use to reach your destination. Sadly, some Gen Xers have not explored these areas, and that prevents them from making the progress they want in life. But that doesn’t have to be your story!
I’ve got a few tips to help you nail down these areas, so you can get on with the business of living your dream life.
How to ditch the idea of waiting for retirement to enjoy life’s freedoms NOW
Learning how to enjoy life’s freedoms begins with the concept of managing your mind. Managing your mind works on the idea that your thoughts control your feelings and behaviors, which lead to your outcomes. This logic suggests that you must change your thoughts to achieve different results. So, how do you practice managing your mind? Well, it starts with observation.
Observe which of your thoughts are creating the feelings and behaviors that help you gain your desired outcome. This is the first step towards managing your mind. I don’t want to oversimplify this technique because it requires practice. But you can start observing by paying attention to which thoughts work for you and the ones that don’t.
If you want help with strengthening your mind management skills, download a copy of my worksheet, The Show Up Report. I created the worksheet for Gen Xers like you to identify which of their thoughts are keeping them stuck.
The second tip is to create your plan. The path to enjoying life’s freedom is different for everyone. So, this is not a situation where you compare yourself to others. In fact, this is the most exciting part of the journey because everything you include in your plan is unique to your life’s circumstances.
When you’re creating your plan, don’t lose sight of what's important to you. You won’t be able to predict every scenario. What’s important is that you are thoughtful, honest, and mindful about your life’s goals and what actions you must take to reach them.
The last tip is to take one step daily towards your goals. Again, I want to caution you here Gen Xers. I know you’re a generation of overachievers and you have perfectionist fantasies. Perfection is not going to help you reach your goals. If you’re focused on getting everything right, you’ll miss out on learning important lessons.
Commit to action each day that gets you a step closer to enjoying life’s freedoms. They don’t have to be grand; they can be small but mighty. Just do one thing daily that gets you closer to living the life you want.
The big takeaway is to understand what you’re working with. That means managing your mind, creating a plan, and executing it daily so you understand how you’ll respond to doing the work that gets you where you want to be. The ability to enjoy life’s freedoms won’t fall out of the sky, and your life won’t magically change without action.
If you’re ready to get closer to enjoying the freedoms you want in life NOW, schedule a complimentary strategy session with me. During the call, we’ll work together to build your plan to enjoy a more fulfilling life. But don’t wait, these sessions fill up quickly. Just click HERE to reserve your spot!
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Image: Clay Banks—Unsplash