Korean-Americans, You Don’t Need Permission to Be You

in many cases if we wait until we know “enough” we’ll miss a meaningful opportunity to contribute what we can, and no “expert” is going to come along and save us — we’re it. [Our life] is about accepting that we’re good enough now, and realizing that when we lack confidence in our abilities our behavior shapes our attitude (and sometimes we just need to walk in like we own the place.) — Ed Batista, The Cult of Done

Being Korean-American, I rarely proclaim my strengths and act upon it. Even if an internal rumbling within me notifies me that I’d dominate the opportunity at hand, I wait.

What the hell am I waiting for?

After discovering that I possess a strength for creating strategies for individual and organizational leadership development through practical step-by-step implementation plans, I realized I rarely grab the baton to do what I know I can do. In fact, it wasn’t just me. Those around me (particularly Korean-Americans) acted like caged artisanal craftsmen when in reality no cage existed. We are waiting for the cage door to open… but the cage doesn’t even exist.

What is this cage?


Specifically, permission from hierarchical superiors to validate your skill sets so that you can now execute your craft.

The truth is, outside of careers that require legal certification (medical, legal), permission is not required.

In the same stream of thought as Ed Batista, an executive coach from Stanford’s Business School, from the quote above: You’ve probably missed a lot of opportunities because you thought you weren’t good enough yet.

So stop waiting for someone to tell you that you can take that opportunity.