Freedom Vs. Commitment: Is the Option to Do Anything Truly Freeing?

Canary escapes from bird cage demonstrating freedom vs. commitment concept

Freedom is one of my core values. Yet, I was confronted with an example of freedom last weekend that got me thinking about the realities of freedom vs. commitment.

I was doing some spot coaching at a conference in Washington, DC as a volunteer. My first client, let’s call him Charles, booked two back-to-back sessions, so he had about 50 minutes of my time.

As we started talking, I was excited to hear that Charles shared my value of freedom.


Yeah, it was a big “but”.

He valued freedom so much that he didn’t actually commit to anything in his life. He wanted to keep his options open to do anything he wanted, any time he wanted, and he organized his life so that he could.

At first glance, that seemed appealing, but when we pulled back the layers around that belief and his lifestyle, the reality is that Charles is deeply unhappy. Plus, his self-esteem is suffering.

He wanted to have a wife and family, but he couldn’t find someone.

He wanted to have a job, but he couldn’t get hired or find the right one.

He wanted to have a network of friends, but people are way too busy for that.

Freedom vs. Commitment.

Charles so valued his freedom that he couldn’t:

  • Find a wife because she might impede his ability to organize his life the way he wants to.
  • Take a job later in his career because it might limit his ability to do whatever he wants to.
  • Build a network of support because he couldn’t commit the time to cultivate the relationships and make himself available.

Wow. That’s a pretty extreme commitment to freedom.

Or is it really an extreme commitment to fear?

I found myself reflecting on whether I allow my core value of freedom to be a disguise for fear in my life.

Freedom is a beautiful thing. I value my freedom as an entrepreneur to organize my days and choose the work that I love to do.

But do I have total freedom to do what I want when I want to do it?

No way. I have deadlines and commitments that I have to keep in order for my business to grow, for my books to get written and published, for my YouTube channel to thrive, and so on.

Even this newsletter is a commitment. Every Thursday, you expect to read a newsletter from Karen Ann Bulluck on LinkedIn, Facebook, my website, or in an email.

I have freedom, yes. But it’s not unlimited freedom because there are things I want to accomplish, and I can’t do that without commitment.

While I occasionally choose freedom over commitment, I usually don’t.

Ultimately, the most important freedom we have is the freedom to choose.

We get to choose how we live our lives, spend our time, and what we commit to. We can commit to doing nothing. A lot of people do.

But if you want to make an impact in the world, if you want to be seen and heard, if you want to use all your gifts and talents, then the freedom of not committing is really not freedom at all.

In fact, it’s a cleverly disguised trap created by your ego to keep you playing small. Isn’t it?

So, Freedom vs. Commitment.

Which do you choose today?


If you’d like to make a small commitment to helping me celebrate the launch of my new novel on September 28th at 1:00 pm Eastern, click here to join the virtual launch party!!! All you need is Zoom and a sense of fun!


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