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Stop Waiting For Permission

Permission is an interesting thing. As children who are not yet ready to make all of our own decisions, permission is a concept that is pervasive in our worlds. We have to ask permission to go outside, to have friends over, to watch an extra hour of TV, to have dessert. We have to ask permission to go to the bathroom when class is in session. School would send home “permission slips” to our parents to not only notify them, but also ensure we had their blessing to go out on class fieldtrips.

As adults, we tend to follow accepted rules of behavior. There’s less actual “asking” of permission because as long as we generally follow the expectations, things run relatively smoothly. But the structure is still there in most jobs. You might need permission to start a new project, or hire the right people, or to spend any money whatsoever. (Oh, expense report approval process – ERAP – how I do not miss thee!!) The further along you get in your career, or the higher you climb the ladder, the less you have to ask permission. In fact, you then become the one in power – the one to grant permission to others.

As adults, we ask permission less when it comes to things we do in our personal lives. And yet, when it comes to starting a business, some of us are so used to that structure of school or work, that we get hung up. It’s almost like we’re waiting for someone to give us permission to do what we want to do!

Entrepreneurs, by nature, tend to be independent, risk-takers. It may be that the whole concept of permission was what drove us to start their own business in the first place. The idea of working for someone else and having to ask never really worked for me. But others might have to work at the independent mindset.

Regardless, we are driven to get things done and while for the most part, we are fine answering to ourselves, we also live by certain rules and hold ourselves to very high standards – we feel obligated to always be performing.

So, you’re tempted to take a break from a long and grueling afternoon of content creation, but you don’t. There’s no one there to offer you permission.

Have you ever thought about giving yourself permission? You know that a happy well-rested employee is the most productive employee. You know that applies to yourself as well.

Much of the stress we have around our business is completely self-induced. So, what if you could reduce 80% of that stress, just by giving yourself a little more permission to live and pushing a little less to produce?

What about permission to let go a little bit? To not meet that self-imposed deadline? Think about if you were someone else’s boss. Would you be making them work as hard as you are working? Would you set such tight deadlines? Or would you be a little more forgiving with them – keeping in mind their work-life balance?

Or, what about permission in another context … what about permission to put yourself out there? So many of us hold back because our content isn’t perfect. Our website isn’t fully complete. While you might not turn that same level of work over to a client or a boss in a different situation, can you give yourself permission to put it out there anyway and not let perfection be the enemy of action? I, myself, am often tempted to hold my gifts back from the world because I’m waiting to make them perfect. But I know there’s nothing that kills a small business faster than inaction.

Life is too short to be waiting around for the world to give you permission. Give it to yourself. You’ll see. There are amazing things waiting for you on the other side.

I didn’t even realize I was doing this until recently. I’m one of those people who never liked working in large organizations – waiting for all kinds of people up the chain to sign off on my work and give me permission to move forward was maddening. And yet, when it came to really launching my own business, I felt like I was waiting for something. Waiting for someone to give me the green light to put it all out there. But who?

ME. I only needed to give myself permission.

So today, I declare: I’m not waiting for anyone else! What I’m doing is not for everyone. I know that. Not everyone I know will like it, resonate with it, want to get involved, or talk about it with their friends. So, it’s ok. I don’t need to ask their permission.

I did, however have to ask them to opt-in to my mailing list recently. And some did! I took that as a sign that I do have some outside support and some people like it. But that’s not the same as permission. From now on, I give myself permission. You can, too.