We have talked about how many of us have become slaves in our own workplaces. This is not the fault of some over-controlling boss, but rather our own choices and mindsets. In this weeks blog I talk about five things we can implement in our lives to live free… and still contribute to ourselves, our economy and our community through our work.

If you are anything like me you will realize that it is terribly easy to get sucked into the vortex of work and suddenly find yourself being driven by work rather than led by a purpose.

Here’s five practical keys I use to live free from work:

1. Determine who you will serve

You can’t serve two masters. Who are you really serving? If you have saddled yourself with debt that you HAVE to do extra hours or extra jobs just to make ends meet you are serving debt. If you are driven by fear of not meeting expectations of your boss, your spouse, your pastor or your internal insecurity system… you are a serving fear.

Decide who you are really serving. If Christ, it will lead to greater and greater measures of freedom (and responsibility). You will need to sort out your debt, sort out your internal world and determine HOW you will make decisions of what is most important. A couple of great resources for sorting out debt are Dave Ramsey’s Steps to Financial Peace and Steve De Silva’s Money and the Prosperous Soul.

2. Decide and Protect Your Priorities

What, or who, is most important to you? What would your schedule or bank balance say? What would those closest to you say is most important to you? How do you want to be known by your spouse, your family, your community? Grab a copy of Dream Culture Book and walk through the practical steps/activation for Chapter 11.

3. Make Yourself Accountable

You are the only one who can take responsibility to protect that which is most important to you. If you are like me, you will need help to do that. I want to set up some structures or feedback loops around me to HELP ME SUCCEED. I invite them to give me feedback on how well (or not) I am making them feel valuable. I ask them how I am doing in managing my priorities of work, family, fun….

Who do I ask?

a) My spouse – potentially dangerous feedback but forever value-creating!

b) My kids – can be brutal but will sky-rocket your connection if you follow through.

c) A core group of like minded peers – who knows you, really? Who do you have around you that can run with you, speak into your life and you do likewise? This doesn’t just ‘happen.’ You must intentionally gather and build with those you want around you.

d) A mentor – I have pursued and meet regularly (face to face or phone) with a number of mentors who help me grow into all I am capable of. They are also a sounding board of advice and encouragement.

4. Learn Boundaries

I am continually growing in this one! How do I say ‘no’ in a respectful way… or when my default for so long has been ‘yes.’ The first thing for me is to realize whenever I say yes to something I am saying ‘no’ to something else. Whenever I say ‘yes’ to that evening client meeting, I am saying ‘no’ to my family. Whenever I say, ‘yes’ to that last phone call as I leave the office, I am saying ‘no’ to my son’s soccer practice.

So how can I better say ‘no’? Here’s a couple suggestions:

– Use an assistant to say no for you.

– Keep a schedule and put in the schedule your important ‘non work’ things also… like dinner with the family, soccer practice, time with my spouse, time with the ‘Chairman,’ time to be present with the family with NO DEVICE. That way, when someone asks or goes over time you can say you have an appointment to go to.

– Let people know ahead of time how long you have for the meeting. Let them know when you will be leaving.

– Don’t agree to a meeting on the spot. Tell people to email you or give yourself time to get back to them. Prioritize who you will meet with and for how long.

– Develop and Practice some scripts to help you say no.

For more on this, check out Dr Henry Cloud and John Townsend’s book Boundaries or Danny Silk’s book, Keep Your Love On.

5. Develop Trust

One of the biggest drivers of me working all the time is that I don’t trust God to work with me in providing for my family. I do it!

“If I unplug, will God provide?”

“If I let go control, will I survive?”

“Is He a loving Father or an invisible boss waiting for me to screw up?”

If it is true that He clothes the sparrows and that He COMMANDED us not to worry about what we would eat or wear, then how do we develop ‘sparrow-like’ faith?

– Testimonies. Find financial testimonies of how God has co-labored with others in financial provision and abundance. Read them daily to remind yourself of who God is. Check out testimonies on our Facebook page.

– Connection. Grow your connection with God through time with Him and in His word. Ask Him questions and journal the responses. Tell Him exactly how you feel…. Freaked out…. Scared… Out of control…

– Invite. Ask God to help you trust Him more, teach you HOW to manage this area of your life. Check out my friend Jim Baker’s book How Heaven Invades Your Finances.

– Find. Look out for others who have/are walking this faith journey ahead of you and buy them a coffee. Ask them how they manage work and family and growing influence. Learn from them. (Aside – the last time I asked someone like this for advice on how they manage family and work they GAVE us a week vacation!)

What other practical keys help you live FREE at work? Leave a comment below and help all of us live free and powerful!

Andy Mason comes from New Zealand and has 15+ years experience helping individuals and organizations discover and align with purpose, then develop practical steps to make dreams a reality.He has worked for a national consultancy firm and leading financial institution as well as investing in international community development.Andy is the director of Heaven in Business and together with his wife, Janine, leads Dream Culture – a movement catalyzing people to discover and live their dreams. Andy and Janine live with their four children in Redding, CA. For more see www.AndyandJanine.com.