While I hope you’ll be spending your July 4th enjoying the sunshine and chowing down on some BBQ, I hope you’ll also consider how Independence Day might inspire you to declare your own independence this year – that vision for your life and career that only YOU get to declare.
Let me explain.
When the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence from Britain in 1776, they didn’t just say “K peace Britain, we’re gonna do our own thing and figure out this American independence thing as we go.”
They called up their friend Tom, (aka Tommy Jeffs), and had him draft the Declaration of Independence. He laid out their ideals and goals for an independent nation, and made it clear to the world why the colonists were so motivated to separate from the king and to form their own government:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness…”
So on this July 4th I want you to do two things:
“All men are created equal”
1. Choose one way you can promote equality and help protect the rights of all people. Donate to a worthy cause, volunteer your time, contact your elected officials and tell them which issues are important to you. I’m personally donating to Black Mamas Matter to advance Black Maternal Health, Rights, and Justice.
“Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness”
2. Use the exercise below to draft your own declaration of independence – get clear on the ideals and goals that set YOU apart, and identify what motivates you to lead a life you love.
The Exercise: Drafting Your Declaration of Independence
Break up with 18th century Britain!
Identify who it’s time to “break up” with or set boundaries for in your life. Who’s more hindering than helpful? And how would you feel if you let go of this relationship, or at the very least, changed the terms? What would this decision free you up to do or tap into?
Fortify your allies:
Who in your life would you consider your true allies? Meaning, you feel safe with them, you support each other, and you trust their overall judgment. How can you nurture these relationships on a regular basis, so that as you each climb, you lift each other up? Are there any potential allies out there you’d like to cultivate a closer relationship with? What steps can you take to act on that impulse?
Define your self-evident truths:
What truths do you hold to be self-evident? What are your driving values?
Paint your vision:
Envision your life in a year from now (granted, there are countless unknowns.) Don’t try to “be realistic” here. Let yourself dream a little, and describe what your imagination conjures in detail. Focus on the parts of your life within your active control (i.e., the quality of your relationships, where your day-to-day focus is, the conversations you’re having, the communities you’re a part of, and how you’re spending your time, etc.)
Own your unalienable rights:
What feels like liberty to you? What activities, dynamics, and environments make you feel the most free and fulfilled?
How can you practically pursue happiness? What brings you joy (in big ways and small ways) and where can you carve out slivers of time for that pursuit?
Now, ask yourself WHY? What motivates the life you’re envisioning, the liberties you hold dear, and the particular brand of happiness you’re pursuing?
Thanks for declaring your independence and looking out for the rights of others. The world needs your vision now more than ever. Because when you get clear on your dreams, not only do we all get to benefit from your greatness, but you inspire those around you to get clear and dream big too.
All my love,
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