It's easy to get caught up in the news.
Whether you are celebrating the Fourth of July (and, if you are, Happy Fourth!) or following the news as it is unfolding in Egypt today, it can be somewhat easy to detach our personal selves from the idea of independence. When the Fourth of July rolls over on my calendar, I am immediately thinking about the professional and career choices that I have made in my very squiggly career that have brought me to this moment in time. The vast majority of those decisions were based on my own desire for independence. I never liked asking people for money and was brought up by parents who exemplified a strong work ethic (and still do, to this day). Success was never about titles or compensation. Success was always about my own ability to be solely responsible for my financial and professional outcome. It's still not, one hundred percent, based on independence (it never can be), but I am not reliant on the traditional model of a manager or a boss who controls how much income I am capable of making.
It's about more than financial independence.
Today is the day that allows me to appreciate things like this blog, the Six Pixels of Separation podcast and my books (Six Pixels of Separation and CTRL ALT Delete) in a whole other light. Recently, I wrote a contributed article for a major publication. After I submitted it, they informed me that it wasn't to their liking and that they would not be running it. At first, I had the same feeling of rejection and disappointment that plagued me throughout the late eighties and early nineties when I was doing a lot freelance music journalism. The constant rejection and silence from magazine and newspaper editors is something that I would never wish on any other professional... in any industry. Thankfully, things have changed since my music journalism days. The popularity of this blog affords me instant access to a community of passionate professionals. I no longer need the validation from this editor as a gateway channel to an audience. After that initial lump in my throat, I simply hit the publish button on this blog and watched the shares, amplification and comments flow. Ahhh.... independence.
You should do this. You should do that.
I'm probably doing everything wrong when it comes to the recoding of my podcast. It's not short. It's not recorded with professional audio equipment. I spend zero time editing the audio. I could go on and on. The thing is this: it is my own, independent audio channel to play with, tinker and push what I think an audio show should be. It's a place where I can have a conversation with someone that I admire or that I am curious about and share it with the world. The same could be said for this blog. My posts are long. I don't use link-bait-like headlines. I don't add pictures to the posts. I'm not great at being overly active in the comments. Again, independence. My own choice in controlling my own destiny (in as much any one individual can).
Make the choice.
As your roast your weenies today and drink yourself blind on beer before setting off the fireworks, start thinking about what your real state of independence can (and should) look like. If you're not sure where to begin, I'm currently loving the book, Choose Yourself - Be Happy, Make Millions, Live The Dream by James Altucher (don't let the hype-y subtitle throw you off).
Happy Independence Day (no matter where you are geographically based). I hope you're spending some time planning your own independence.