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The Secret to Business Freedom (and a life you love)

“So many of us are caught up in the act of making a living instead of designing a life.”
– Anthony Robbins

If you focus every day on your to do list – the never-ending activities that stack up in the life of any entrepreneur – you’ll always be overwhelmed and you’ll never be free. Because work expands like a gas to fill the time that you have. It’s kind of like Whac-A-Mole, as soon as you check one task, another one rears its ugly head.


Photo by sj liew
Photo by sj liew

Now add your inbox to the equation and forget about it. Your fate is sealed. You mind as well go back to your day job where you could at least turn off the computer and check out for the night at 5 or 6 pm.

A great life can’t be lived between tasks and emails. Somewhere along the line you’ll lose touch with your humanity, the emotional fuel that allows you to find fulfillment in the everyday and to connect with everyone along the way.

I learned this the hard way when I set off at the end of May for a month-long workation in Europe. The truth is, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, because I wasn’t as free as I thought I was.

Sure, I have the time, location and financial freedom to travel, but somewhere along the way I lost track of the emotion and clarity that drove me to start this business. I’d become disconnected from my message, my purpose, my reason why… which took with it my inner freedom and sense of fulfillment

Anthony Robbins says that 80% of any success you’ll have comes from your “why” –- your psychology, your mindset, the emotions that fuel your actions and decisions. And just 20% comes from the “how” -– the mechanics of what to do when.

The reality is, almost all of us know what we need to do, but there’s something holding us back. Some inner switch we haven’t activated that keeps us from taking massive action, that allows us to be stopped in our tracks by all the lame excuses.

Instead of asking ourselves every day, “What should I do? What do I need to do? What do I have to do?”

Ask a different question. Ask, “What do I really want? What’s my outcome? Why do I want it?”

The real secret to freedom (in business and in life) is knowing what you want and why you want it. Then using this clarity and focus to drive every choice, every day, and every interaction.

Every time you write an email or pick up the phone, ask yourself what result you want from this communication, and allow the result to guide your effort. All of a sudden your intention changes and with it your tone. Instead of checking off an item on your calendar or to do list, you’re fulfilling your purpose and creating the life you want for yourself and your clients.

When you organize everything you do around your outcomes and your big why, your life takes on a new level of performance and meaning. You have the emotional charge to rocket through your day with joy and focus, to overcome any criticism or obstacle, and to move you and your team in leaps and bounds towards your greatest outcomes.

Because at the end of the day, it’s your energy and enthusiasm for what you do and how you make people feel that amplifies your message and enlists your tribe to join you. It causes you to perform and interact at a whole new level, and find fulfillment in the smallest of tasks.

Take a moment now to pull out your to do list and organize it into outcomes, so each task becomes a stepping stone towards a specific result. Now imagine yourself walking with ease down each pathway, stepping from stone to stone, towards an inevitable outcome.

Leave a note below to let us know how this makes you feel.

To your freedom (on this 4th of July)…


fireworks over the manhattan bridge Barry Yanowitz via Compfight

Love it? Hate it? Let me know...

  1. Danielle Seville, Avatar
    Danielle Seville,

    Thanks Marisa for this very important reminder!

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      You are welcome!

  2. John Bailey Avatar
    John Bailey

    Nice post, Marisa.

    Here’s my question about it:

    Do the really high performers – who have the life they want, by design – do most of those people ditch their “to-do” list – or is their list focused on and informed by their outcome?

    I’ve personally researched this in some depth – and some experiments both with myself and with clients.

    Now, I’m really anxious to discover how your totally ditching the list will work out over several months. I’m looking forward to your follow-up with posts about your experience!

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Hi John – I definitely don’t recommend having no to do list. I mean ditching your list as it exists right now – as an endless laundry list of meaningless tasks that makes you stressed and overwhelmed – and reorganizing it around your outcomes. Activity alone will not bring you success. Clarity of purpose and focus will.

  3. Jenna Avatar

    Gee whiz. How long am I going to cycle through this nonproductive train if thought? Your post really hit home with me. I have to figure out how to make use of the time I have to be productive. Otherwise, I will continue to enjoy all the great ideas that come to while I’m driving, and they will remain fruitless. There is a fog that I am in. Clouding over my worth, my value, my focus and the articulation of it. I keep hanging my hat on these lame BS excuses. That has to stop.

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Hi Jenna – It’s great to realize when you’re on-track, but even more powerful to take action and bust out of your rut… Hopefully asking yourself these questions will help you reconnect and find you productivity.

  4. Jenni Avatar

    This is fascinating because it comes back to my own philosophy from which I had strayed, through the temptations of virtual business.. You’ve confirmed to me something I suspected that is that money does not equal fulfillment.
    Thank you for your frankness, I know what I have to do again..

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Awesome, Jenni. So glad this gave you clarity. As they say, money and power simply amplify what’s already there. If you’re connected to what you want, to your purpose, then money can deepen your fulfillment by giving you more freedom. But if you chase money and lose track of you in the process, no amount can fulfill you.

  5. Jay Lim Avatar
    Jay Lim

    Marisa, you’ve become a life coach through personal business development 🙂

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      The more I work in this space the more I realize how much business success depends on personal development…

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