Permission

Throughout our lives we have been told that we need permission. You need permission to go to school, to take that class, to try something new at work.

And if we don’t have permission, gatekeepers will try to keep us out of wherever we were trying to go. Bosses will reject an idea that might require too much permission.

One thing that I found, though, is that in a lot of situations where I didn’t need permission I still felt like I should get it anyway. I should make sure I interpreted the assignment right, or that it was OK for me for me to write my presentation like it was a short story.

The biggest situation that this occurred in was when I started trying to start my own ventures and businesses or when I tried to take on massive global problems. All of a sudden I felt like I should ask someone first. And while you be rationalize it as getting advice, what it really is is that you’re asking for permission through their approval of your ideas, business, or venture. I felt like someone needed to say “Yes Brad, you are a good fit so you should go do that.”

Online you can find a lot of articles, books, and podcasts telling you that you don’t need permission to do things. And while what all of those things are saying is true, I have found that sometimes that doesn’t help, that the feeling of still needing permission persists. After all, our education system has brought us up valuing things like permission and deadlines.

If you want someone to tell you that you don’t need permission, there are plenty of places to go to get that advice. In a pinch, the quote “Ask for forgiveness, not for permission” can even get you there. In wake of this saturated topic, I am going to give you a different angle to come at it.

So if you feel that you need permission before you can start to tackle big problems, I am here to say one thing: You have permission. You have permission to do that thing you have been wondering about. You have permission to look different, act different, think different, and be different.

You have permission to start a new business. You have permission to do things that you think you may not be qualified for. The best qualification is actually doing it and getting results. You have permission to forgo getting that degree, certificate, or training and just deciding to start anyway instead. Are you trying to get that piece of paper to prove to yourself that you can do it? The better option is to prove you can do it by doing it. Even if you have to fail multiple times to finally succeed. You have permission to speak out and stand up for causes you believe. If you don’t, who will? You have permission to not only believe that you can make an impact, but to actually make that impact. You have permission to tear down, fight back against, or simply ignore the gatekeepers of the status quo in order to build a better future. And by no means should you ever look to seek permission from one of them.

Now, whenever you come up against something you feel scared to do, you can get past some of that fear one of two ways. You can either believe that you don’t need permission, or give yourself permission, and get started. Or, if you are still struggling with doing this (and there is no doubt that it can be hard) you can simply return to this post for your permission, and I will happily give it to you, so you can go on your merry way and get started.

It can be hard to start doing things without permission, so don’t feel bad when you feel like you still need someone else’s blessing to do something. But remember that I am giving you permission to do it, and I can’t wait to see what you accomplish. I am excited for the day when you are able to give yourself permission, but I am more excited about what you can accomplish when you have it, so I will always be here to help you get started.

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