Oprah calls him “…a different kind of spiritual teacher for our time.” On Air with Ryan Seacrest calls him a “Self-Help Master”. Many of us know DeVon Franklin as a motivational speaker, New York Times bestselling author and award-winning Hollywood producer. To many, his life appears flawless — he has a lucrative career, the jaw-dropping wife (actress Meagan Good), and accolades that run longer than a CVS receipt. But what happens when perfectionism caps at an all-time high, and the personal and societal expectations for one’s life runs its course?
In his latest book, Live Free: Exceed Your Highest Expectation, Franklin explores this dichotomy in what it really means to be true to one’s self and to be free. Released on May 4, 2021, Live Free is prime for those entering a period of re-discovery, recalibration and reflection. Admitting that he also had gone through challenges during the pandemic, Franklin candidly describes the tools he has used to achieve a life of purpose and joy, plus a higher sense of liberation.
Divided into four sections, Live Free explores 4 core areas of one’s life (Personal, Cultural, Relational and Professional) where expectations come into play, and how one can shift their mindset to relieve unnecessary stress and anxiety for a happier existence. Southern Dallas Magazine caught up with the renowned author to explore Live Free further and to hear first-hand how to take full advantage of his soon-to-be New York Times bestselling masterpiece.
Inspire N Style Magazine: What happened in your life where you realized you were being prohibited from living free — thus feeling the need to write this book?
DeVon Franklin: “I was just looking at how I was feeling. A lot of times I was feeling frustrated and disappointed, and feeling ‘less than’. I was like, ‘Where are all of these feelings coming from?’ I have a very big vision for my life and who I am, the service that I offer, and an even greater service that I can offer. So while all of those things are great, they can also become tortuous if they’re allowed to be. What I realized is that the problem was my expectations.”
It seems so simple because we carry expectations into our everyday lives. What lens should we be viewing our everyday expectations in order to “live free”?
“I had these expectations [on myself] that if I don’t meet them, I’m devastated. If I don’t meet them, then I judge myself. As I was having these revelations about myself, a lot of people coming to me for help were expressing similar symptoms…and that’s when I realized that expectations was the secret software running all of our lives.
So, we’re not reacting to the events of reality, we’re reacting to what we expected of reality. So if something goes above our expectations, we’re happy. If something doesn’t hit our expectations, we’re devastated. If someone [meets] our expectations, we love them. If someone doesn’t meet our expectations, we’re tired of them. So maybe if our life stayed the same, but our expectations were reset, we’d see things completely different.”
Let’s be honest. This book is like going to therapy. Who is the ideal reader for Live Free?
“Before a reader reads Live Free, they gotta get to the place [to] where they’re sick and tired. Sick and tired of living by what everyone else wants and expects of them, but not really living the life they know is deep down in their heart. They gotta get sick and tired of feeling like they’re putting out so much energy and effort, and getting very little in return. They gotta get sick and tired of feeling like they keep getting the short end of the stick in life. Those who are in that position when they read the book, have found that it has had an exponential impact on their lives.”
What is your interpretation of freedom? So often we use this word interchangeably with others to where it takes on different meanings in different contexts. What does it truly mean to “Live Free”?
“When I say Live Free, it means that you are not under the mental, physical or emotional control of anyone or anything. You live by the expectations that you set, not by those imposed on you by others. So in order for someone to receive this book, they’ve gotta get to the place where they’re like, ‘I need change [and] I need it now, and I no longer can continue the way that I am.’”
Live Free is a deep exploration of one’s self, one’s beliefs and the 4 areas of expectations (Personal, Cultural, Relational and Professional) that may be holding you back. With interactive reflective questions following each chapter, along with storytelling by Franklin, Live Free is the timely companion for such a time as this.
To watch the entire visual interview, visit the “Leah Frazier” Youtube channel. Hear the complete, full audio version of the interview on the PR Yourself with Leah Frazier podcast here. Follow the author on social media @DeVonFranklin. This article contains affiliate links to Live Free.