TS #2 - How To Start Creating Freedom

Transformation Series #2 - How to gain the leverage to call your own shots…


Transformation is about moving towards a life of freedom to call your own shots. The good news is money is not required.

Freedom is gained by having leverage. Leverage is gained by creating value.

Here’s a story to demonstrate this concept:


Imagine a billionaire tycoon who has hired an assistant for her beckon call, let’s call him Alfredo.

Alfredo is absolutely great, he knows everything from how she likes her coffee to which family members to screen on the phone. He makes his boss’s life much easier.

After some time Alfredo gets the idea that he would really like an extra week of vacation. Now, this baroness could hire anyone in the fiefdom without having to give this benefit but the truth is she wants Alfredo because of how much easier he makes her life. She’ll give it to him, maybe even happily, because of the value he offers.


Look, this is a simple hypothetical but it’s meant to illustrate the new paradigm for you to embrace:

Freedom is created by doing absolutely incredible work. It is created by making your boss’s life easier. The easier you make their life, the more leeway you gain to offer this value on your own terms.

There is no shortcut, no gimmick, no hack. Just great work. The good news is the tools are already in your arsenal. Time for a practical discussion.

Three Points

First off, leverage does not rely on tough negotiating, blackmail or some other tricky tactic. It comes from offering value.

Second, the more the value proposition is tipped in your boss’s favor, the easier it becomes to stand up for the freedom you seek.

Third, instead of hoping and praying for somebody else to take care of you, you are moving towards taking control of the exchange.

First Impressions

I recommend a very specific way to prove yourself when starting out: Stay late once.

Then you never have to do it again.

Not the first day, but sometime early on. It establishes the fact that you are not lazy.

With this in the bank the act of setting your boundaries will come across as having intelligent control of your life. Your boss may even admire you.

You Don’t Need Permission

Your freedom may take various forms. It might be leaving on time, working from home, or taking on different responsibilities in an area you’re really curious about.

Whatever it is, it need not take the form of a dramatic heart-to-heart with your boss.

Don’t ask to leave at 5:30, just start doing it.

Transformations Are New

You might be saying to yourself, “you don’t understand, this is impossible in my role,” “nobody in my position has ever done <insert freedom here>”.

Well, If you say it can’t be done than you’re right. You can start being different or remain in place. Up to you.

Taking back control might mean your boss may not come over and pet you on the head anymore like you’ve been trained to seek during your decades of schooling and corporate climbing.

It’s time to get over trying to win a game you don’t want to win.

Some problems are your bosses to handle.

Just remember, while you might not be volunteering for extra, your swag is backed by the fact that you’re knocking the work that is yours way out of the park. Their life is easier by having you.

There are two types of people who get invited to important meetings: the ones who always volunteer to take on every last bit of grunt work and the ones they beg to be in the room because of their know-how and skill.

When you take the value based approach your reputation will always be intact.

Once In Awhile Hero

You can still be the guy or gal they run to when sh*t hits the fan. When it’s really on fire (this is not a drill) get in there and bail them out.

It’s depositing a huge heap of leverage into your freedom account.

And it’s great for the ego ;)

The Venn Diagram

In the early days maybe you’ll live a little more in their sphere than yours.

But maybe your boss just can’t get over not owning you. And maybe your industry just doesn’t allow for the freedom that you require.

You might have to put the elements in motion that will allow you to move on.

Crawling Out Of Shawshank

The tricky thing with freedom is knowing why or what to do with it.

You might feel like something’s off at work or missing from your life but you don’t know what’s on the other side.

It can be scary to drop or scale back one game without knowing another, especially if work has always been your identity. You might be institutionalized.

This is a matter of discovering what other games are out there. Starting to find new scripts to follow is exactly what we’ll talk about next week.

Image: The Shawshank Redemption, Castle Rock Entertainment

Image: The Shawshank Redemption, Castle Rock Entertainment


Hey, good sesh today…if your really feeling this transformation series so far I put a signup here again this week where you can throw your name down and let me know. It’s a great way to let me know you dig it so far and want to see us keep peeling back the ‘ole onion. The signup will add you to the newsletter if you’re not already a subscriber.

If you put your name down I’ll reach out to get some feedback about what directions we could go with this.

Or if you have a specific situation you want to see us dissect than definitely don’t hesitate to just shoot me an email: charlie@charleskunken.com I’d love to hear it and help you dig in to your particular situation.

Ok, cool. We’ll see you next week…

One final thought on leverage:

Ok, if you do ever get a chance to do this, I think you probably should…

 “What’s the point of having ‘F*ck you’ money, if you never say ‘F*ck you’”

Image: Showtime

-Bobby Axelrod of ‘Billions’ (played by Damian Lewis)

This is co-written by Brian Koppleman. I’m a huge fan. He’s got a great podcast, The Moment about the creative process and the pivotal moments in people’s lives when everything hangs in the balance.

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