Monday, November 23, 2020

Why I Started My Own Company, Part 1: Freedom

Dr. Jordan R. Jensen
Founder, CEO, & Master Facilitator
Freedom Focused LLC
Established 2003
Today's post is the first in a series of three (3) articles aimed at answering the following interrogatory:

Why did I choose to start my own education and training company?

GOOD QUESTION!  

With a Doctoral degree in Education and a Bachelor's degree in English, there are a number of different, regular, and salaried jobs I could have pursued in a variety of fields over the years... if that had been the desire of my heart.

And I actually did teach high school English for one year about a decade ago. I only taught for one year because my wife received an international work transfer with her job, which took us to Canada at the end of my first year of teaching. Later, in 2016, I applied for approximately 100 different positions in higher education at about 75 different colleges and universities all over the United States and World. But my rejection rate was 100%. For a variety of different reasons, nobody wanted to hire me. I also applied—and received interviews—to teach at two more high schools, but both of those schools hired someone else instead of me.    

I was a bit bummed at the time by all the rejection. But now I am glad nobody wanted to hire me.   

          Why? 

                    Because it was never the desire of my heart to work for someone else.

                              I have been—and always will be—an entrepreneur at heart.    

My wife, on the other hand, has been very successful in a salaried profession with a top company. As such, if I wanted I could just press on as a stay-at-home Dad for the rest of her career and my family and I would be well taken care of.  

Don Quixote de la Mancha
Was not afraid to dream "impossible" dreams
With so many different, viable, and arguably easier options available to me, why in the world would I be so determined to build Freedom Focused—and why would I so stubbornly refuse to ever give up until it has fully flowered and otherwise reached the full measure of its potential stature? Especially when I am 17 years into the building process and still have not yet gotten things fully off the ground? Why on Earth have I not given up after all those years of temporary failure? Why do I, like Don Quixote of old, insist on endlessly jousting with windmills, come what may?

That is an even BETTER QUESTION!  

There are many answers to this query. One worth noting right off the bat involves the key word "temporary," which precedes the word "failure" above.

Another, different answer is: perhaps I would have taken a different pathway had a legitimate and promising alternative journey opened up to me.

But it simply never did.

And the possibility of my pursuing any other pathway with even a sliver of the desire, passion, or persistence I possess for building Freedom Focused was, quite simply, utterly untenable. It does, therefore, seem (for better or for worse) to be my career destiny—a view I hold that grows clearer, stronger, and more compelling with each passing day.      

There are many other reasons as well!  

The purpose of the next THREE (3) blog posts is to identify and elucidate three of the more prominent and important reasons.

I  LOVE  FREEDOM
And if given the option,
I'd like to fly fighter jets in my next life!
Perhaps the simplest—and yet ironically the most comprehensive—answer to this question can be answered in just ONE word, which is the subject of today's post.

This one word is: 

          Freedom

I

          💖   LOVE   💗

                              FREEDOM


I really do!

It is, therefore, no coincidence that I named my company FREEDOM  FOCUSED, which is an organization based on, fixed toward, and ever in promotion of the creative and productive expansion of human agency and cooperative synergy.   

With all of my heart and soul; from the top of my head to the soles of my feet; and with every fiber of my being, I cherish my personal, professional, and civic FREEDOM beyond anything else in the Universe. The only things that can even compare in value to me include life itself, and maintaining a clear conscience before my fellowmen and God as I journey through that life.

In the view of one spiritual leader from the last century:


"Next to the bestowal of life itself,

the right to direct that life is God's greatest gift to man."

— David Oman McKay 


So why do I LOVE FREEDOM so much? I suppose it all begins with a rather basic rationale that virtually all human beings can relate to:

I despise being told what to do.

          Yep... I really hate being bossed around.

                    And I'll bet you do too!

On the other hand, I love and cherish TRUTH (with a capital "T") and have made it my life's quest to strive to seek after truth and then willingly align my thoughts, speech, and behavior with whatever objective or visceral truths I discover.

I believe that as human beings, we all have an Existential Duty to seek after truth and then align their lives with it, both for our own good and the welfare of others whose lives our conduct will impact. With that said, perhaps the single greatest truth of all is that it is WRONG to coerce another to think, speak, or act against one's own FREE WILL.

This includes the right to choose the wrong... if one desires. 

I personally don't think it is smart to choose the wrong. I have learned from personal experience that choosing the right is so much wiser and less painful in the long-run. And in the end, choosing the right is ultimately easier as well. Why? Because you don't have to spend so much time and effort cleaning up preventable messes you created in the past.  

Nevertheless, I would stand up for, speak in favor of, fight in defense of, and even die (if necessary) to protect the right of myself and others to make my/their own decisions—including wrong or bad ones—as long as those decisions do not break the Laws of the Land or directly harm others in the process. Indeed... the Rule of Law is as important a principle and practice as is human agency. But that is a subject for another article.  

Gandhi encouraged us all to:
Be the change we wish to see in the world
A primary reason I have always wanted to BUILD and LEAD an organization is because leadership is where the most freedom lies, and the higher up a hierarchical structure you rise, the more freedom you possess to influence others, autonomously make decisions, and chart your own work path and career course.  

I've also had a lot of bosses over the years that have left much to be desired in their own leadership style and substance. As a result, one of my single-minded goals in life is to follow Gandhi's advice and "Be the Change I Wish to See in the World." In other words, I want to be a boss so I can prove to myself and others what authentic leadership really is, how it should operate, and what it ought to model and accomplish.

I don't want to be a boss so I can boss others around. I want to be a boss so I can show other bosses (and bosses-in-training) that there is a better way; namely, by empowering my colleagues and subordinates by modeling the way myself, teaching more than I task, and otherwise developing high-functioning, largely independent and autonomous, and synergistic self-directed work teams throughout the organization.

This approach allows, encourages, and supports individuals at all levels throughout the company to think, speak, and act for themselves as freely, creatively, and as often/much as possible. When an organization is made up of high-functioning self-action leaders, that kind of approach is not only possible, but highly desirable.

Why?

Because of the mind-blowing synergy that can germinate and proliferate therefrom, thereby leading to unprecedented, news-making, and even world-changing progress, productivity, and results through cooperative contribution.  

As a boss, the desire of my heart and my primary goal is not to tell others what to do. My primary purpose is to teach and model correct principles and then let others govern themselves to the fullest extent possible. My job as a CEO is not to micromanage the actions of others. My function is to hire the best people I can find on this Planet—including men and women of all races and backgrounds who are well suited to their position and function—teach and coach them to become the elite champions they were born to be, and then get out of their way so they can perform the wonders they are capable of (both individually and collectively)—wonders that I could never dream of accomplishing on my own.

Indeed, one of the most enjoyable parts of my job in the future is going to be sitting back and looking on in awe as I watch corporate miracles unfold before my very eyes as the personal and synergistic power of other people's genius and talents is fully tapped into, authentically released, and then majestically magnified many fold through the extraordinary power of cooperative synergy.

Upon my eventual retirement (around the year 2040), I fully expect to look back upon what Freedom Focused has accomplished, and then honestly and gratefully acknowledge that it was my incredible colleagues and associates (not me) who were responsible for 99.99999% of the organization's productivity and results. And it will have been my privilege and honor to make a 0.00001% contribution.  

Sam Houston
Congressman from Tennessee
Governor of Tennessee
President of the Republic of Texas
Senator from the State of Texas
Governor of the State of Texas

This leadership approach maximizes the minimization of micromanagement—a less effective executive and managerial approach that should be reserved for new hires and blatantly ineffective performances. In the inspired words of President, Governor, Senator, and General Sam Houston: Govern wisely, and as little as possible.

"Govern wisely, and as little as possible."

— General Sam Houston 


While I will not hesitate to micromanage when and where necessary; I will likewise avoid the practice whenever possible. My people will be too smart, talented, and effective to have to regularly condescend to such measures—that is, as long as I am doing my job right.

Moreover, I do not expect to ever be the smartest or most talented individual at my own company. I will merely be well suited to play my particular role, which will mostly involve unleashing talent and capacity in others.   

I also believe that bosses should earn less and employees should earn more than they do in most corporations in America. We are surrounded by so much unchecked greed in this land of plenty. It is sickening! It has also led to extreme inequalities that ought not to exist.

However, the answer does not lie in governmental overreach via class-warfare-inducing taxation. Taking from one to give to another is never the answer. The answer lies in individual, private, self-action leaders hearkening to their consciences and choosing to inhibit their own avaricious proclivities. And the only fair and ethical way to make this seeming pipe dream a reality is to become a boss myself and then model the behavior I wish to see in other bosses around the nation and globe.  

Bottom line: I love FREEDOM. I want as much of it as I can possibly attain in my life and career. I also want to teach others how they can maximize their own personal and professional freedoms. One of the reasons I want to be a boss is because of the freedom that comes from leadership.  

There are always two (2) sides to every "coin" in life.
With this said, it is absolutely essential to remember that there are always two sides to every stick and coin in this world. The FREEDOM that comes with leadership is only one side of the proverbial "stick." And if you pick up one side of any given stick (or coin), you automatically choose to pick up the other side right along with it.

If I desire the freedom, influence, and decision-making power and authority that comes with leadership, I better be prepared to accept and embrace the responsibility, pressure, stress, difficulty, disappointment, rejection, and loneliness that accompanies that freedom. And believe me... all of those "other sides" of the stick do indeed accompany leadership. Frankly, I'm okay with the responsibility, pressure, and difficulty. I'm even okay with the loneliness of the job. I've always had a "Lone Rider/Lone Ranger" personality anyway. Solitude and loneliness suit me better than most people, which is one reason I am well suited for my position at Freedom Focused. But I confess I'm not a big fan of the stress, disappointment, or rejection parts of the job. Nevertheless, it is what it is, and I cannot have one side of the proverbial "coin" without owning the other as well.

That's just the way things are!     

All decisions and pathways in life have TWO (2) sides.
And sometimes, the other side of the stick BURNS,
either because you made a bad decision leading
 to negative consequences, or because you
made an extra wise and mature decision
and life is refining you.

The Other Side of the Stick

As I have amply chronicled in the autoethnographic (autobiographical) sections of the SAL Textbooks... it has been anything but an easy journey to get where I am today.

In fact, it has been so difficult that if I had to go back and do it all over again, I am not certain I would choose the pathway I did. Fortunately, I don't have to go back and do it all over again, and now that the foundational work is finished and behind me, I feel grateful and am raring to "Go."

Fortunately, all along the way I chose to live according to one of my life's most important personal and professional mantras:

"No Regrets!"

As a result, the further I get into my life and career, the easier things seem to get—at least compared to the profound difficulties life demanded I surmount in order to get to where I am today. That's not to say my problems as an executive are over. In many regards, they have merely begun!

Suffice it to say, easier is an exceedingly relative term.

Nevertheless, I have discovered over time that in a sense, and viewed strictly from a SAL-perspective, there really is no such thing as "hard" or "easy." There is only an individual's capacity (or lack thereof) to effectively confront a given issue in one's life or career. The key therefore to making things easier is for us as individuals to get better. As the great business philosopher, Jim Rohn, once said: "Don't wish life were easier; wish you were better!"*

"Don't wish life were easier; wish YOU were better!"*

— Jim Rohn 

In other words, self-action leaders look primarily inward, not outward, for solutions to their problems. 

Now...  this is not to say that you do not have to sometimes look and reach outward for HELP in solving your problems. Oftentimes you do! I know I have had to look outward for additional help beyond my own, personal leadership capacity many, many times throughout my life. But, with the exception of legitimate emergencies, looking outward should be a self-action leader's secondary, not primary route. We should first look inward and take personal responsibility for everything we can do for ourselves—and then exercise the courage to reach outward when we reach the end of our personal capacity and need a legitimate lift from others. And at times we will!  

Elbert Hubbard
1856-1915
American writer, philosopher, & artist
Over time, it is true that things tend to become (or at least seem) incrementally easier over time in proportion to our education, progress, and growth as self-action leaders. Thus, the reason my life is easier now than it was in the past is due in large part to my own increased capacity. As Elbert Hubbard once eloquently put it:


"The reward which life holds out for work is not idleness nor rest, 

nor immunity from work, but increased capacity." **

— Elbert Hubbard 


In other words, "Things don't change; WE change!" (Thoreau).

When we progress personally as self-action leaders, life becomes easier over time, not because anything has fundamentally changed about life or the world, but because our personal capacity has grown, making us stronger, smarter, and better equipped to deal with life, the world, and its endless obstacles, challenges, and difficulties. On the other hand, if we regress personally as self-action leaders, then life becomes more difficult over time.  

My challenges in life have ranged from battling a severe case of OCD and Depression in my personal life to getting rejected over 100 times in my Dating Life. From temporarily failing, getting ignored, and/or being rejected thousands upon thousands of times in my Professional Work, to having to wait for 17 years (and counting) for my career to finally take off. My journey has been anything but easy; but it has provided me with perfect preparation for my current and future role at Freedom Focused.

If the truth be known, after 17 years of dedicated effort, my waiting period still exceeds my working period career-wise—to this very day! However, I'm getting closer with every blog publication, and I'm nearing the 200 article mark in that effort... so thank you for aiding my cause by reading this article! And an even BIGGER THANKS to those who choose to reach beyond themselves to share it with others. After all, in the end, no one succeeds in a vacuum all by themselves—no matter how effective a self-action leader one may be in isolation. As such, I am always grateful to anyone who advocates for or otherwise aids me in any way. And despite all the rejection I've received all along the way, I have also been very blessed with necessary aid and advocacy from wonderful human beings at critical junctures all along the way.

And I never forget those wonderful people and what they did for me! 

To all you mid-career, salaried professionals my age (early 40s) who are already one-half to two-thirds the way to retirement, imagine having to wait nearly two full decades to finally get your career off the ground, and then—in your early 40s—still not know for sure exactly where things stand or where they are headed!

In other words, imagine spending 17 years and tens of thousands of hours working on your career and still find yourself, in a sense, at ground zero, with virtually no financial remuneration or formal advancement to show for your endless efforts. 

That's been my pathway—a seemingly unending journey of difficulty and dead ends along a seemingly endless walk of faith. Indeed, my life has, since age 12, been a date with one monumental challenge after the other, with no extended respite.

Sure, there have been victories along the way; but the difficulties and failures have far outweighed the opportunities and successes, at least so far. I don't know all the reasons why I had to face so many deep, bruising, and long-lasting trials.

The first 17 years of my career I was mostly just beaten up by the
"hockey stick of life." The next 17 years? 
Let the scoring begin! 


But here's the thing...

There's always two sides to every stick in life. As such, if Karma is real, and if you really do reap what you sow (and I believe that it is, and that we do), then just imagine what the next 17 years in my life and career is bound to bring!

At worst—based on even basic probabilities and very modest likelihoods—I have an awful lot to look forward to and a cornucopia of blessings and prosperity headed my way both personally and professionally.

But at best, the flood gates are truly about to open for Freedom Focused

How do I know this?

Well, technically, I don't... at least not for sure. Indeed the very nature of every authentic leap of faith is such that you can't know for sure precisely where your hard work, sacrifice, and suffering will lead you in the end. If you did know for sure, then it wouldn't be a leap of faith! And you also wouldn't grow nearly as much in the process of that pursuit of the unknown.      

Nevertheless... I know enough about the way things tend to work in this world throughout its 6,000 year formally chronicled history of advanced human civilizations to know that my prediction is a pretty safe bet, assuming I do not, like the Great War poet, Alan Seeger, have a premature "Rendezvous with Death." Unlike Seeger, I have thankfully never had that impending sense of doom and macabre, which is fantastic! Of course I could always be wrong.

But I digress...    

You see, it's really just basic mathematics at play. If you change one side of an equation—on paper or in life—nature usually changes the other side to make it equal and congruent over time.

I've just spent 17 years adding onto one side of the equation in a dedicated, determined, and detailed way. As long as I've respected natural laws along the way, is there any real doubt that those same laws of nature won't richly compensate the other side of the equation over the next 17-plus years?

Suffice it to say, there isn't any doubt in my mind that extraordinary things are on their way for Freedom Focused... assuming (again) that it is not my destiny to die young.

But even in the case of that personally undesirable scenario, I've produced sufficient material at this point in the game—and have trained enough colleagues and students in the principles, practices, and culture that will eventually permeate Freedom Focused—that even if I were to die young, someone else would pick up right where I left off and continue carrying the banner, championing the cause, serving others, and reaping the rewards of all that endless planting in which I've been engaged for so long.

Don't be too quick to judge the progress of something
just because you can't "see" anything yet.  
Thus, no matter what happens, no one can alter the depth or strength of the metaphysical roots that have already developed underground. Indeed, Freedom Focused already boasts a vibrant and rock solid subterranean root structure that will someday be capable of bearing an exceedingly significant and weighty superstructure (tree) above the surface.    

While there are always exceptions to every rule in life, most of the time things work out with a more-or-less mathematical precision; we really do reap what we sow!

This is NOT true in the short run, mind you. In the short run life looks nothing like math or farming; it resembles something more akin to an inexplicably chaotic fracas—an ugly mess! That is why we as human beings like to half-seriously repeat statements such as: No good deed ever goes unpunished. Because in the short run, that unfair phenomenon often plays out, much to our temporary chagrin.  

But in the long-run, it never ceases to amaze me how a picture's authentic colors and contours gradually come clearly into focus over long periods of time. People really do get more or less exactly what they have coming for them (the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly). That's why there is really no use in being a phony or otherwise plying in deception in either our personal or professional life. After all, the truth always comes out eventually. That is why Abraham Lincoln once wisely quipped:



"You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time.

But you can't fool all of the people all of the time."

— Abraham Lincoln    


So why try? It's so much smarter to just deal in the truth. As Mark Twain once famously put it: When you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.


Mark Twain

"When you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything
."

— Mark Twain    

  

Blessedly, the growth, progress, confidence and capacity I've garnered by going through all of my challenges has absolutely transformed my life for the better. Indeed, take away any one of my significant trials and I would be much less refined, polished, and prepared to lead Freedom Focused over the next two decades. As a result, I'll be the first to admit that my blessings ultimately exceed my trials, and at the rate things are going, the score won't even be close a few more years down the road.

But I'm not gonna lie; the pathway that led to where I am today was genuinely hellish. Indeed, I would not wish the trials I have passed through on my greatest enemy! Yet, despite it all, the other side of those trials is turning out to be as picturesque and majestic as the crucibles were painful and malevolent.

Once again... there may be only one coin and one stick, but there are always two (2) sides!

I've gone to great lengths to chronicle the details of my personal and professional adversities so my readers know I am not just exaggerating reality, spinning a yarn to suit my narrative, or throwing a pity party for myself.

Plus, I am—first, foremost, and above all else—a TEACHER. I therefore draw extensively from my own experiences in an effort to pedagogically empower others in their own personal and professional battles.  

As such, my real intention, and my ultimate job, is to TEACH—early, often, and always. Everything I say or do in my role as the leader of Freedom Focused is aimed at EDUCATION, and more specifically, that sort of instruction that influences and inspires others toward Existential Growth, personal and professional achievement, and the happiness, satisfaction, and inner peace concomitant thereto.    

  

Click HERE to read details about Dr. Jordan Jensen's Battles with OCD & Depression

Click HERE to read details about Jordan's Dating Difficulties

Click HERE to read details about JJ's Career Crucibles


Leadership is, of course, only one of an infinite number of life arenas where these same principles hold true. There are always two (2) sides to everything in life. Every stick and every coin has a front and back side to it. Every choice has a consequence. And to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (Newton). 

Thus it is that as self-action leaders, we must study things out in our minds and then wisely make decisions that will not only expand our personal and professional freedom, but bring about the kinds of consequences or "reactions" (karma/reaping) that we are willing and able to live with in the long run.

Ironically, true FREEDOM can only be acquired by voluntarily relinquishing one's own agency upon the altar of TRUE PRINCIPLES and upright PRACTICES. In other words, to be truly free, you must willingly accept personal RESPONSIBILITY for paying the full price that authentic freedom in any life arena demands.

There is no other way.  

Herein lies the great paradox of FREEDOM, and is the point at which freedom diverges from mere liberty. Everyone everywhere technically has the liberty to think, say, or do whatever they please. But no one is free from the natural consequences of one's choices. Moreover, freedom of opportunity, influence, and power must ultimately be earned. There is no exception to this rule in the long-run.  

There are many people in the world that want freedom without responsibility and consequences. The problem is, there is no such thing! Those who pursue this impossible undertaking end up with little (if any) freedom—and usually a measure of despair and regret as bitter side orders accompanying their metaphysical meal of misery.  

All of us must figure out the level of freedom we each desire—and the price tag attached thereto.  

          We must then exert all the blood, sweat, tears, and time required to pay that price.  

                    There is no other way.

                              But it is worth every ounce of effort!

                                         So what are you waiting for?


No excuses.

          Study hard; then get to work!  

                    Begin expanding your freedom TODAY!  



Tune in NEXT Wednesday to learn more (Part 2) about why I started my own education and training company. Better yet, tune in this Wednesday for a SPECIAL Thanksgiving Day message from Dr. Jordan Jensen.   

And if you liked this blog post, please share it with your family, friends, colleagues, and students—and encourage them to sign up to receive future articles for FREE every Wednesday.

To sign up, just enter your email address on the upper right hand side of this page where it says: "Follow by Email." Then hit "Submit" and follow instructions from there. Doing so will provide you with a FREE article from Freedom Focused in your email inbox each and every week of the year on Wednesdays.    


Click HERE to learn more about Freedom Focused.






References

* Rohn, J. (2000). Building Your Network Marketing Business. CD recording.  

** Hubbard, A. (Ed.) 1946. An American Bible. New York, NY: Wm. H. Wise & Co. Inc. Page 8. 

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