Is Freedom Everything For ENFPs?

by Dan Johnston

Is Freedom Everything For ENFPs?

“The truth is, once you get that freedom, you’re probably going to want to do a lot more.”

In this post I’m responding to a comment I read recently which said:

For ENFPs freedom is everything. Correct?

My answer may surprise you a little bit.

I even run a program called The Free Freelancer, yet I have to really disagree with this.

Freedom is not everything.

Freedom is a means to an end.

To explain why it’s so important to differentiate this, I’m going to start off with motivation.

Away vs Towards Motivation

When you’re trying to motivate yourself intrinsically, not at a job, not with someone yelling at you if you don’t do it, or giving you a reward or prize if you do, but when you’re trying to be self-motivated, there are two ways you can be motivated:

  1. Away motivation – Trying to move away from something – you could call this fear-based motivation, trying to move away from what you don’t want.
  2. Towards motivation – Moving towards things, moving towards what you do want, moving to a more positive life.

Both types are valuable.

They’re both tools you can use. If you’re trying to motivate yourself more, I would suggest having a clear picture of what you don’t want, using that as fuel and having a clear picture of what you do want and using that as more of a magnetic pole to move you towards what you want.

But having freedom as an outcome, saying that what I really want in life is freedom and that’s everything – that’s kind of away motivation that is based on something you don’t want.

Maybe you’ve had a really bad job, or an overcontrolling parent, or spouse, or you’re just in a place right now where you don’t have a lot of money, you don’t have a lot of freedom, and you’re maybe watching this from a cubicle, thinking:

All I want is freedom.

The truth is, once you get that freedom, you’re probably going to want to do a lot more.

It’s wonderful to be able to decide what you want to do and when you want to do it.

At least wonderful most of the time. Sometimes it leads to its own issues.

So freedom as motivation can be really powerful, but it should not be your end goal.

Not only will you not be happy with just freedom, I’ll tell you that you might suddenly get a bunch of money and be able to quit your job and do whatever you want and you’ll be happy for around two weeks at most.

If you are an ENFP, then you are going to get bored and you are going to want a cause, and a challenge, and a mission, and something do, so freedom as a whole is a terrible end goal.

But another reason it can be so dangerous is that – if your end goal, the way you’re seeing it, is freedom – and it’s not creating a powerful business, it’s not running a marathon, it’s not changing a country, it’s not doing something bigger than just being free to do whatever you want – if that’s the case, you’re probably going to go about things in a totally wrong way.

You’re going to try to start some weird, freedom-based business where you’re chasing passive income and you want to sit on a beach with your laptop and not ever work again and the odds are that probably isn’t going to work for you.

Whereas if you’re focused on a bigger goal, say you really like working with a certain kind of people and you want to support those people, then build a freedom business around that.

Build a business supporting those people. Build a business where you’re going to be fueled not only by your goal of having more freedom but also by making an impact, by the actual work you’ll be doing as well where you’re enjoying what you’re doing.

If you really hate what you’re doing on a day to day basis, it doesn’t matter how powerful your goal is at the end of it.

The odds that as an ENFP you’re going to tough it out day in and day out for years to reach an end goal when the day to day work is not enjoyable, fulfilling for you?

Sorry, it’s not really going to happen.

Freedom To Choose Your Own Sacrifice as an ENFP

The idea of freedom being everything is also dangerous because it can sometimes lead to setting up our days in a way that doesn’t have any structure.

So some of ENFPs will say:

I don’t like having plans. I don’t like being told what to do. I just like to be free and see how I feel.

That’s great.

Let me know how that’s working for you.

I do like that, but one thing I’ve learned and most, if not all successful, ENFP entrepreneurs I’ve spoken to have learned, is that we actually need structure and some discipline, and a list of things we need to do.

And when we need to do them, we have the freedom to create that list ourselves, but ultimately, we need to create that list, tp create that structure to actually move forward and get where we want.

Along those same lines, most of the great things in life actually require some kind of sacrifice of our freedom.

You want to fall in love with someone? Probably going to have to make some freedom sacrifices, some compromises, right? Or you might spend your whole life alone.

You want to have children?

You want to start your own business?

You want to really do anything significant and meaningful?

You will end up sacrificing some freedom.

What my goal has always been is to create the freedom to choose what I want to do and to choose the structures that I make.

To have the freedom perhaps to visit a family member on the other side of the world or the freedom to build my business in the way I want to, to not have to sacrifice my values for money or for some corporate decision.

I’d encourage you to think about what you want the freedom for.

If you were free to do what you want, what would that be?

And don’t say I just like to travel forever!

We’d all love to just travel forever and I kind of do sometimes – and it is wonderful, but there’s probably something a little more purposeful there.

So maybe start with this:

If you did have the freedom to choose how you spend your time and to do something significant, what would you choose to do?

Start with that and then use that perhaps as the fuel and maybe even the framework to build a life that has the freedom that you really want.

In the comments below let me know:

What does freedom mean for you and what is the bigger thing you would like to do if you had the freedom to pursue it?

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