Are you waiting for someone else to give you permission?
Years ago, I was waffling on a decision to take a new job or stay in my current job. I had made a pro and con list, discussed it with friends, and analyzed it to pieces in my head. When I still couldn’t make a decision, I reached out to a coach for help.
“It sounds like you are asking for permission to quit,” she replied.
She was right. I was asking for permission. And I had reached out to her specifically because I thought she would give it to me. I realized then that I had give myself permission to make my own decision.
The same thing came up as I transitioned my business to coaching. I told myself I was waiting on my certification, my website, my business cards… all before I could start declaring myself a coach. While these components are arguably important and help build my credibility, I was using them as excuses not to move forward.
Does this sound familiar?
A common theme with women entrepreneurs (and women in general) is waiting for permission. In fact, women are often hesitant to embrace themselves as experts despite having the knowledge and skills. (We’re less likely to apply for jobs we aren’t 100% qualified for than men — and therefore less likely to get them.)
The sad truth is, we often stand in our own way by waiting for some type of external permission or validation before moving forward.
Sounds a little like self-sabotage, doesn’t it? Somehow we have learned to create excuses for ourselves not to move in the direction that would best serve us. Instead, we give others the power to grant permission to us.
If any of the following scenarios sound familiar, you’re likely waiting for permission:
- You know what you would do… if only you had more time/energy or less responsibilities
- You would love to start something new… but you know (insert person here) would not approve
- Your body or intuition is telling you one thing… but you fear that taking that path cause disappointment/heartbreak/failure
What you seek permission for can be anything from changing careers or asking for a raise or raising our prices. Or you could be waiting on an award or certificate or piece of paper that makes you feel “legit” in some way. Anytime you find yourself saying, “I can’t do that until…” you’re waiting on permission. These thoughts and beliefs are keeping you stuck right where you are.
How to give yourself permission
So when you find yourself stuck and waiting powerlessly, notice what you’re waiting for permission to do.
1. Ask yourself:
- What action am I being called to take, but fearful of?
- Who or what is holding me back?
- What do I fear to be true if I take this path?
2. Own your authority over yourself. Realize that you are the ultimate expert on you, and as such, you are responsible for your life, your health, your energy, your path, your happiness.
3. Now, acting from your own expertise, write yourself a permission slip to do that very thing you’ve been waiting on. Literally, write it on paper and put it somewhere you can see it. “I, __________, give myself permission to ___________.”
4. Notice how you feel once you’ve given yourself the permission to do (or not do) the thing that you desire. What is that feeling? Is it freedom, expansiveness, excitement? Allow yourself to feel those feelings now that you’ve opened the door for yourself to experience it.
What are you waiting for?
Making decisions in our best interest can be scary, because the stakes are high. And the fear seems real. (Even though it’s not.)
Going boldly where you have not yet gone is terrifying!
Yet the only way to truly take control of our own lives is to honor ourselves by making decisions that support our interests, passions, and growth.
Instead of making excuses and waiting on others to give you the green light, give yourself the green light, and give yourself permission. Permission to try. Permission to succeed. Permission to fail. And permission to change direction if it doesn’t work out as expected.
Where in your life have you been waiting for permission?
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