WHAT BEING (A) FREE(LANCE) GOT (NOT) TO DO WITH TRUE COMMITMENT
I am sorry; I’m afraid I cannot promise I will love you forever!
Awkward I am positive hearing the opposite sentence from a man, that is, “I promise I will love you forever” is for me a good enough reason to drop him without further hesitation, right at the spot.
Zygmund Bauman, in his enlightening book “Liquid Modernity”, throughoutly explains how we live in a time where nothing lasts long and almost every aspect of our lives is momentary and subject to the increasing rhythm of life’s pace, that a globalized and materialistic society has brought upon us. As for the “temporary” bit, not that it is much news. Ever since the times of Gautama Buddha, around 500 BC, the Buddhism has been telling us about the importance of detachment, being the fact of attaining that what we want, only a transitory state of bliss. As soon as we get it, we want more or we simply want different, never being truly satisfied, inviting us to stay clear from desire to avoid frustration. Tantrism, on the other hand (and you can get more of this through Daniel Odier’s heartwarming books) invites us to succumb to passion as long as we only fall in love with our own feeling, not with the object of our desire. Kind of, fall in love with being in love, don’t fall in love with the person who – at that moment in time – is the catalyst of your desire. Enjoy as much as you want, but avoid the instinct to posses him, showing true respect for his/her way of being. I find this last concept as delicious as hard to handle, but infinitely enticing and appealing.
But wait, this is a blog about entrepreneurship and here I am talking about love, desire, passion, respect and temporality … What am I missing? … Bear with me just bit longer and you’ll get to my point (hopefully I might be able to make it!)
Putting myself in the market as a flying solo freelance, and getting some feedback from people I trust and that helped me move into this new side of the polyhedron of my professional career, got me thinking about the relationship in between being “free” while at the same time offering true commitment to the other players in my game.
When I explained my idea, someone gave me that inquiring look and asked me: “So, you plan to live / work with one foot in Mediterranean Europe and another foot in Bali, Indonesia?” I didn’t have to think twice, my mind was made so, I smiled and promptly replied: “Yeah, that is precisely what I am going to do”. Next I hear is: “Don’t you think all this wandering and a bit eclectic lifestyle will give your clients the idea that you are not serious or truly committed to their needs / projects?”
Excuse me? It blows my mind!! I didn’t even consider once, before I decided on my digital nomad new personal brand positioning, that anyone could think like that (my naivety, of course!). And so, letting my grey brain cells ramble along it, this post started being written by itself, in my head, one of those nights when anticipation and excitement prevents me from sleeping after 4 or 5am, these days.
Because I like to find parallelism in things, I came across the idea of how this concept, that some people, still working and living into more conventional lifestyles (which I respect and I am not criticizing here), finds bizarre workwise, and for sure, in their relationship daily base. And I couldn’t help myself but realizing how similar, in fact, they are.
Why is it that we fundamentally don’t trust others and, consequently, we credit ourselves so little when it comes to our and other’s commitment?
If you don’t see me I might be cheating on you. If we don’t hold weekly long meetings where I empty my heart and soul to you, I might be doing something wrong. If I am working for you some 8.000 miles away, you get thinking I cannot do a good job. If I don’t promise I will love you forever, I might not be loving you enough, right now … How crazy is that, really!!
We insist on exerting control over others, at any level. If we loose control we freak out and start feeling insecure, which makes us doubt people who might be doing their best and being totally committed to us, right in that moment, be it work or any type of personal relationship. No need to mention that this takes the relationship to a halt, making the other feel confused and distrusted.
At work, our boss makes a kpi of our commitment related to the amount of hours we sit at our desk, over to real and quantifiable results. If you are there and he/she can see you, the longer the better, it means you are really committed. In our relationships, we insist in our significant other to be utterly faithful to us over an infinite amount of future time (“until death due as part”) when Future is, essentially, and as per pure definition, uncertain and unforcastable, being this (in fact) the beauty of it.
We need others to give us what we lack: self-esteem to feel appreciated, self-commitment to stick to our own responsibilities, and a sense of self-value to experience our worth.
Blame it on growing old but, at this point in my life, I don’t need nor do I appreciate cureless romantics that cannot help themselves but to make bottomless and grandiose promises that they might most likely not be able to stick to. I observe action over listening to words that, most times, come too easy. I trust myself and, possibly even too much, my self-worth. I appreciate no one doubting whether I am or not committed. 100% of times I am. When I say I will do something I do, when I am not certain I might be able to make it, I chop “the elephant” in steaks and take it one step at the time, making sure I reach my middle goals. If someone deceives me, well, it’s his or her loss, and by no means it degrades me.
Commitment and freedom should only not be concepts that invalidate each other but concepts that complement each other. And hey!, don’t take my word on this, just follow close to Richard Branson’s people management strategies and watch his spectacular results. Who was the one to decide that any kind of work is done in exactly 8h for every individual on Planet Earth and that being watched while working is the only guarantee that we can behave ourselves? That is for sure a residue of Fordism and by no means a concept that isn’t applicable to many of the jobs the new millennium and the development of new technologies has brought into scene. I understand, still, nowadays, some jobs require of you to be there; that is not what I am discussing, I am talking here about jobs where the ultimate responsible should be the person doing the job: consultants, digital geeks, journalists … you name it.
I’ve come to firmly believe that the more you let someone know you trust them and the more freedom you give them to do as they think best (always inside the frail limits of respect), again, be it at work or related to interpersonal relationships (of any nature) the more those people will stick to you. And well, if they don’t, never mind. Thank them fondly not to have wasted your precious time and move on to someone more reliable.
So, back to the beginning of this post: No, dear client, no dear lover; I might not love you forever but I do love you now and, in the present time, you’ve got my ultimate commitment to be true to you.
Oh!! Don’t like it? Don’t believe me? Well, then possibly this was never meant to happen and it was a pleasure to have (temporary) met you 😉
photo by Milton Miller, taken during a work-nomadic stay in Miami, Florida.