What was one of the most frustrating things about being a kid (teenagers, specifically, come to mind)? For me, it was having to get permission to do what I wanted to do.
When you’re a kid with no job, no bills, no life or death responsibilities, you think to yourself, “when I grow up, I’m going to do whatever the hell I please”.
And then you leave the nest, and maybe you kind of do anything you want for awhile. But then you see the immediate repercussions of not going to work or not paying the power bill, and you start adulting. And for many, especially women, this is the point we stop giving ourselves permission to do what we want. At all. Ever.
We’re waiting for a sign, or the stars to align, or just someone to tell us to go out and live our lives already.
And conversely, the women that are out there hustling and living their lives often are looking for permission to take a break. They want someone to say, take a sick day, a vacation, a lunch break, for pete’s sake.
Either way you lean, it so rarely happens that someone will simply know what you’re thinking and jump right up to offer you the validation of your idea that you seek.
Just like the white knight isn’t coming to rescue you (and who needs him anyway!) there is no one walking around writing permission slips for you to follow your dreams.
And if that’s all you need, then here it is. I’m giving you permission right now to go out and chase that dream in your heart. To go realize your authentic self and potential. To put it all to good use.
I’m guessing that probably didn’t do it for you, though. So here are some ways to kick that need for permission in the first place.
WHY DO YOU NEED PERMISSION?
This is a deeply personal question, but I can tell you that there are several reasons that I have found for why we go looking for permission.
This is the big one. I’m going to be tackling more about overcoming fear in later posts, so stay tuned for that.
Fear manifests here by making you think that you need permission to:
- be a beginner – you’re afraid to try something new or look silly doing it.
- fail – what if you chase your dream job and fail? (see also perfectionism)
- be an individual – what if you no longer fit in with your friends?
- take care of yourself – what if you take a day off and everything falls apart? – or worse, everything is fine and they didn’t need you.
- start – you’re afraid to make a change.
This is just a small list of the thoughts that could plague you when you want to make a decision but feel like you need to be validated by an outside force. The thing about getting the permission is that it doesn’t change anything.
Even if someone thinks your idea is good, doesn’t mean that it wasn’t good before they told you so. Just like if they think it’s a bad idea, doesn’t mean that it’s is. Their opinion of your decisions shouldn’t make or break the choice to live your life.
Fears are hard enough to overcome without dragging in others beliefs and opinions about you that shouldn’t even be considered. Asking anyone and everyone what they think and to approve your ideas will only leave you more confused than when you started.
ps. this is why I’m not an advice giving coach. When you work with me the ideas and decisions are your own, I just help you arrive at your plan.
As with so many issues relating to your thinking the first, and biggest step, is to simply acknowledge the thoughts. Once you have realized that you’re afraid of something, consider the real results of your actions.
If, for example, you had been afraid to look silly or to fail, you would have never learned to walk or talk. Everyone is a beginner at some point.
Consider what’s worse, forever allowing your fear to stop you because of something that might happen (and probably not be a big deal), or never getting a chance to follow your dream.
Not trusting yourself
While not trusting yourself might also stem from fear, it can also be it’s own issue. You may struggle to feel powerful in your self belief and feel that you need that external validation.
Now I’m not saying don’t do your research or don’t consider the opinions of those people in your inner circle. What I am saying is that you don’t need to run to them to get approval for your ideas. Nor should you cancel a plan that you’re wholeheartedly for that they might not approve of.
Seeking external approval, instead of trusting yourself, is going to leave you hanging every time. Those around you are likely to have conflicting opinions and you’re still going to have to make your own decision. And now it’s worse because you’ve muddied the waters with their opinions.
Trusting yourself, especially if you haven’t in awhile, isn’t going to just happen overnight. But it’s something you can begin to develop.
You can begin to build self trust by really getting in touch with yourself. Become aware of the thoughts and feelings that YOU have, not what others are telling you. You can do this with a meditation or mindfulness practice, by journaling, or by just taking some quiet time to be aware of your thoughts.
Begin making decisions based on what you think and feel. Start small and enjoy that rewarding feeling you get for having relied on yourself. Then just keep building.
LIVE YOUR LIFE
Regardless of why you’re seeking permission to follow your heart, the results are much the same. You get to continue to have an excuse, play small, and put things off.
This allows you to not take responsibility for you life. Then when it doesn’t turn out to be what you had hoped for, you don’t have to take the blame, or feel guilty, or even try to change it.
But I KNOW that’s not how you want your life to be. If you did, you wouldn’t be reading this article right now.
You don’t want life to happen to you, you want to go out there and be an active creator of your life. You want to be able to stand up and say
“Yes I AM following my heart and going after that job!”
“YES I DO deserve a day off and I’m taking it!”
Both ends of the spectrum are important. Don’t just give yourself permission to start, and then think you can never stop. Permission goes both ways.
So the next time you find yourself looking for others to validate your choices before you make them, consider what if you just did this on your own? What if you didn’t give away your power, and took responsibility to trust yourself and your choices?
Go out there and live your life to the fullest. I grant you my full permission. Not that EVER needed it in the first place.
If you’re struggling with feeling stuck or unable to make the decisions that will get you to your best life, send me a message. Coaching can help you live your most authentic life.