“The only permission, the only validation, and the only opinion that matters in our quest for greatness is our own.”
~ Steve Maraboli
the idea of giving yourself permission and, more importantly, not seeking permission from others, is a bit of a personal development and business coaching “standard” these days.
you will hear it from the mouths of an endless stream of speakers, you can read it in a mountain of self-help literature, you might even see it in a sea of motivation pictures posted via social media.
but what does it mean, give yourself permission?
it sounds so simple, and it is, but is it as easy as it seems? hell no, if it was, everyone would be doing it, and nobody would be posting, writing, blogging or speaking about it!
what it boils down to is this; if you want to do something, want to say something, want to create something. just do it.
no point sitting there, waiting for someone to come along and say “hey! great idea! here’s your permission slip”.
no point in waiting for someone else to validate your thinking and tell you to proceed – it won’t happen.
it happens in school, it happens in workplaces, it even happens in social groups with any type of hierarchy. but when it comes down to your personal dreams, your individual goals, wants and desires. nobody is going to give you the green light. ever.
how and why would you give yourself permission?
at a basic level, you just say “i can do this”. it’s nothing more than a mindset, nothing more than flicking an internal switch.
you can (and should) do it for anything and everything. give yourself permission to:
- get healthy
- get active
- start a business
- live an amazing life
- pursue your dreams
- become the person you always wanted to be
- join a social club
- take up a new hobby
- give up an existing hobby or interest
- leave behind anything that no longer serves you
- change your life
- and, as television adverts for compilation albums are so keen to say “and many more”
warning: it’s scary stuff but worth doing
i won’t lie to you, giving yourself permission to do anything is scary. it usually means facing up to some kind of fear, some kind of artificial limitation you have imposed on yourself. having to deal with what other people think is possible, and what is not possible.
- i gave myself permission (eventually) to get fit and run a marathon
- i gave myself permission to leave website development behind and pursue a real passion
- i gave myself permission to enter tough mudder
- most recently i gave myself permission to aim to run across australia
none of these things were easy to allow myself to do. it was far easier to stick with the known, the comfortable and the obvious, “sensible” options.
nothing worthwhile is easy. nothing amazing is obtained without effort. no new territory can be explored without confronting fears of some kind.
and the best thing is, once you start to give yourself permission to do and try things, it gets easier and easier to grant yourself permission to do and try more things.
eventually, giving yourself permission becomes a habit, a way of life.
finally, you give yourself permission to live.
and isn’t that what we all want, really?
what will you give yourself permission to do?