How Revelations From a 13-year-old Can Spark Your Own Newfound Freedom

“What if I bought you a bus pass and you could go anywhere you wanted?” I asked my youngest on the second day of summer holidays. (I gave her the first day of summer holidays to laze around and watch Netflix, but I wasn’t prepared to have iPad camp happening in our house for the entire summer, believe me.)

“Whaaaaat?” Her eyes went big. “You mean I could go visit my friends and go to the mall and I could go by myself?”

She started to process this information.

“Yes!” I said. “You’re going into Grade 9 in September, and you haven’t had to take transit before, so now is a great time to learn. You’d have to tell me where you’re going, of course, and we can map out your route the night before. All you’d have to do is make sure you have your chores done before you leave and then you can spend your day how you’d like.”

My 13-year-old wasted no time in downloading the transit app and started to map out walking distances, bus times, connections to the train and what time she’d meet her friend. There were a few tentative moments as she learned to navigate the app, but really that was it.

And just like that her whole world opened up.

I started to understand the magnitude of what I had just done – the protective mother in me had just given her freedom I wasn’t even yet comfortable with – and now that she realized she didn’t have to rely on me for driving her places, she had the freedom to plan meeting up with friends any day of the week.

Girls shopping with newfound freedomDay one went without a hitch: she met her friend in the south of the city, traveled by train downtown, went for lunch, traveled by train home and then caught a bus transfer before walking the last bit home.

And boy was she proud of herself.

“I don’t know what you were worried about,” she says to me at dinner as she tells us about her day. “And look what I’m doing tomorrow!”


Proceeding to share her calendar of events that my daughter now has planned with different friends every day of the week, I couldn’t help but marvel at the fact that she had now decided she wanted to walk places too. Not all these activities involved public transit. Suddenly, this daughter who used to beg for a ride everywhere she went, is keen to walk to the mall or to meet her friends when before she would have asked for a ride. She is discovering she prefers the freedom of time and choice over relying on me. And I didn’t have to plan a thing. Genius!

What a revelation!

This change in perspective opened up her whole world (and mine a bit too, frankly.)

Where can a change in perspective open up your world?Click To Tweet

Which got me to thinking. Where else do we do that? Where else do we get stuck in perspectives that are limiting us?

Honestly, so many places.

Literally overnight, my daughter had shifted a perspective that resulted in her being able to enjoy freedom, independence and more daily happiness because she realized she had the means and the control to make more stuff happen over the summer holidays.

Let me be clear. Nothing had changed, yet everything had changed with the power of suggestion and a new way of looking at things.

Being stuck in a perspective is often the thing that is unconsciously holding us back.

Think about that job where, “if only I had a different boss, things would be better.”


“If it would only stop raining I could go outside and enjoy life more.”


“If I only earned a little more I could renovate my home and I’d be so much happier.”

How many of these questions (or something similar) do you ask yourself?

Where can you shift perspectives to open up possibility in your life, in your business, or in your career?

Three ways you can change your perspective to help shift something that’s holding you back:

1. A change is as good as a rest

We all know the saying: a change is as good as a rest. You know, when you’re tired of working on one thing and you turn your attention to work on something else with renewed energy. Or, you don’t have time/resources to go on a holiday to fully recharge, but changing up your routine for a few days makes you excited about the old one again (kind of like a weekend 😉 ) Or you decide to go camping at a different campground instead of the one you have the same spot booked at every weekend all summer long which helps you see the forest around you from a whole new vantage point.

Old ways won't open new doors

What happens when you walk a different way to work one day, or you see someone speak at a lunchtime event who has a completely different way of looking at an idea, or you meet someone from another country who doesn’t understand what you’re moaning about in terms of quality of life?

All these simple things can cause a change in perspective that you were holding onto. And it can happen anywhere, at any time. You just have to be on the lookout for it.

Inquiry: Where can you change your routine this week so you can be open to the new perspective it brings?

To read more about how a change can be as good as a rest, check out this article:

2. Downtime can lead to creative time

I fervently believe in taking holidays. I always have. Not just because it’s nice to take a break from the office, but particularly because taking a holiday from the regular routine – no matter how good that regular routine is – will almost always open up something new for me: new ideas, new ways of looking at things and a renewed energy for the task at hand. Creativity is sparked in stillness. When we have room to imagine and think outside the box, new ideas take shape.

I met with several clients this past week who all – yes all – of them had moments where they wanted to quit their jobs and throw it all away and rebuild. Somehow, in their moments of desperation, they thought it would be easier to start completely fresh versus just moving some of the pieces around, or taking a critical look at what was happening and making changes. We did a lot of perspective coaching in those sessions as we explored different ways of looking at things.

This is what happens in downtime too – when you can pick up that work of fiction instead of the leadership text to help you solve a people situation at work. Or, when you can go for a walk just because you want to, not because you have to fit in your steps for the day. It shifts the perspective around your “why” and helps you see things a new way.

Inquiry: Where can you build in some downtime this week to give your brain a rest and allow something new to emerge?

To read more about how downtime can lead to creative time, check out this article:

Downtime can lead to creative time.Click To Tweet

3. Shifting gears

As I’ve been mountain biking more lately, the term “shifting gears” is particularly applicable to me. As I’m learning the gears on my bike, I can see how simply shifting a few levers can make that hill climb that much more enjoyable. Or if I shift my body position on the bike I can stay balanced far longer than if I panic and try to save myself by doing what is intuitive to me (which is usually the opposite thing you’re supposed to do!) Taking the thoughtful approach to consciously using the right gears and better body positioning makes that entire mountain bike ride more enjoyable and more successful.

Woman on bikeWhat if you made a conscious effort to slow down a bit in the summer months and connect more with colleagues, for example, or made it your goal to leave work on time every day all summer long? Or take the weekends to explore a new part of your hometown or province or state that you live in. How might that shift your perspective?

Or take time out for lunch with friends every week during the summer – when you might ordinarily plow through to get more work done?

Inquiry: Where can you shift gears to make your day/week/month/year more enjoyable and more successful?

To read more about shifting gears, check out this article:

Shifting gears can lead to success.Click To Tweet

These three things: creating change, embracing downtime and shifting gears may seem simple, but so often we need reminding that it’s okay to take the pedal off the metal from time-to-time. We don’t need to be driving hard every day. There is pleasure, creativity, and success to be found in the downtimes and in different perspectives.

As for me, I’m looking forward to what new perspectives emerge for me as I take my family on our annual summer holiday to our cabin in Newfoundland, and I can read, think and connect away from city lights for a few glorious weeks.

What about you? I love to hear from my readers. Please private message me at or comment below how you plan to shift your perspective this summer.

To your success, in business and in life,

Susan Elford

PR Launchpad Guidebook ABOUT SUSAN ELFORD

Susan Elford is a Leadership Coach and PR Strategist who especially loves to work with women who want it all: a fulfilling career or business while living a full and satisfying life. Susan helps her clients get real about their strengths and celebrate and promote them so they get more of what they want: success at work; success in business & success in life.

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