Leadership freedom begins at financial freedom

As leaders we can get stuck trying to control things we can't. We then turn to obsessing how to fix the issue or getting people to do what we need even though the result was never something we could control in the first place.

Many of us will choose to live under this pressure financially. The thought is, "When I make (this amount) of money, things will be much better." However, the amount becomes allusive because people will typically spend more if they make more. When we live this way we can't ever take control of feeling free of financial pressure.

A key to being content as a leader is living under your means, that means living on less than you make. If our leadership exists under the pressure to perform better so that we make more we will make decisions based on what we need instead of thinking about the need of those we serve. Did you catch that? Leaders who operate under the consistant pressure to make more money make decisions to look good and not to serve. The belief that looking good will lead to a higher position resulting in more money.

There are a couple of keys to living under your means to free you from this pressure:

1. Shop Generic - Please tell me you know that generic means someone has figured out how to do it cheaper, not to do it worse? I can promise you that your hang ups with shopping at a place like Aldi is based on your status and appearance more than the condition of the store, people who shop there, and most of all the quality of product.

2. Appropriate Living - If the cost of your living space (mortgage or rent) in a month is more than 40% of your monthly take home pay, you're putting yourself in harms way. If you plan on living on 80% than you've already spent 50% of what you are bringing home.

3. Fire Cable TV - No one is taking you to the cleaners more so than local cable companies. If you live in a major metropolitan an HD antenna can be found on Amazon.com for under $40. With the existence of Netflix, Hulu, Roku, and other streaming channels through gaming systems there is absolutely no need to pay for cable and DVR. The biggest obstacle to this is "man land." In other words, "What about ESPN?" I can promise you that as long as gambling exists, you will be able to find your favorite team playing online somewhere if it's not on one of the major networks that's free over an HD antenna.

If I live at or above my means I am transferring the pressure I feel to make it financially over to the decisions I need to make to care for people.

What are you doing to live below your means?