One definition of freedom in the dictionary is the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. Freedom is powerful. As social media has swept across the world we see people in many areas around the globe wanting freedom. The ability to make your own decisions, live your life as you see fit and enjoy the wonders of just being alive. It is easy to forget that freedom is one of the greatest gifts that we have in the United States.
I am thinking about my freedom or even my own kids freedom. I grew up in a divorced family where one day we had money and the next day we did not. We were far from poor but the life that we came to know was no longer. My Mom raised us to be independent and take care of ourselves. If we ever started to fall off the path she would be there, not always happy about it, but she would prop us back up and push us to get back on the path. She wasn't particularly warm and loving but she was a doer and made sure we could all stand on our own two feet. Perhaps that is what drove me or maybe I was just driven when I was born but I never felt freedom in some of the decisions that I might have made for my career path.
Early on I chose a specific path because I wanted to have financial freedom. I knew that it was me and nobody else who was going to pay the bills. Other choices down the road were made because there was not only me but kids and a husband.
When young people ask me what would my advice be to them starting out in their careers, I always say to follow your passions because the road is long and the dots always seem to connect. Certainly I see many people who are graduating from college who don't have the freedom to so easily do that as they too need to make sure they can pay the bills.
Our kids are very lucky, they have freedom in a way that I dreamed of having when I was their age. They are all different and the good news is that they are all driven to find themselves and the right path. Nobody is a slacker yet the freedom they have is powerful. They can use that freedom to do a lot of different things that many can not.
I find myself with more freedom than I ever could have dreamed of and with that I have chosen to fund start-ups with a bend towards women, give back to organizations that I believe are making an impact in NYC and hopefully other peoples lives. I have always believed that with financial success you have a responsibility to return something to the community. I even talked about this when I chaired MOUSE back in 1998.
This generation of kids who are more connected than ever seem to have more freedom to make choices and perhaps that is why we are seeing this surge back to community with an endless supply of everybody wants to be an entrepreneur in every industry from tech to food to health-care. I think this is a good thing as from my birds eye view we are seeing more balance. We are also seeing a group of individuals who grew up with laptops become adults and their evolution is why we are seeing the explosion of disruptive companies that are huge and also not that huge. We are changing the way we live our lives.
All and all…just an observation.