Giving yourself permission in your career

In our catch meeting this week, the Drive Tribe and I were talking about permission. It got me thinking about giving ourselves permission. 

I remember driving into work after having my daughter and arriving late every day.  Leaving earlier wasn't an option as the nursery wasn't open and that ten minutes cost me up to thirty minutes in rush hour traffic. I got so upset - being late is definitely something that causes me anxiety. I remember my boss saying to me that it didn’t matter. The company needed me to get the work done, they didn’t mind what time I started/finished. She reminded me that there would be days I would get the work done more quickly than my contracted hours and other times when it would take longer. It was a weight lifted and it was the permission I needed to relax. 

As I told this story to the tribe it made me think about how we wait for permission in our careers. In fact, I think it’s one of the things people expect from me! We wait for permission to be brave, to change careers, go for that promotion, create a more balanced life. 

We settle for less without permission

So many people have a clear vision of what they want, but seem to quickly brush that vision off and end up settling for what they have in front of them or what is easily attainable — that’s usually the much safer option.

Take a moment: 

In your ideal world, what does your life look like? What kind of work would you be doing?

What is stopping you from achieving that now?

We don't trust our intuition

When I am coaching (and in life generally) I believe that we hold the answer to the question we seek inside us. The trouble is, that we often don’t trust our own intuition. In those moments we might feel overwhelmed by the shoulds, opinions and fear to make the wrong choice. So we go and ask as many people until we get the answer we want...or is that just me?! When we rely solely on the opinions of others, we aren’t listening to our own intuition or values. 

This pattern is called permission seeking behaviour. We’ve been conditioned by parents, teachers, and society to ask for permission to do things. When it comes to change, as adults, we still wait for that permission to make a change.

We seek out permission when we are faced with our own insecurities about our decisions and our thoughts. We seek permission for someone or something to get the answer we already have an answer to.

You are the only one who can give yourself permission

I have had so many conversations over the years where folks have come to me to ask my opinion about whether or not they should leave a job or go for a new one. They may have already received permission from their own friends and family but they need their own permission. People often tell me that coaching changed their life (as I tell my coach regularly!) but the truth is that it is that person who changes their own life when they give themselves permission to step into their own power. 

When you give yourself permission, the weight is lifted and things you thought impossible start to happen. That’s because when we get lost in thinking; when we seek outside answers we are wasting time. We are only able to focus on the issue at hand until we get the answers we want to hear. 

It's time to believe in yourself

What giving ourselves permission really means is that we back ourselves. That’s what makes the difference. We can give ourselves permission but we have to believe that we can make it happen. Our friends, family, colleagues, mastermind partners, mentors and coaches can all tell us that we can do it, that we should do it, but until we believe it ourselves, we can’t give ourselves permission. 

When we take a chance on ourselves; when we commit to something we are brave enough to show up in our own lives and stand up for ourselves. Permission to be brave can only come from you.

What does giving yourself permission look like in your career?

Permission doesn’t have to be leaving your corporate job or even starting a business, permission can look a thousand different ways. It can look like:

1. Sign up for that course that you have been eyeing for months

2. Take an extra hour to work on your passion project

3. Let the dishes sit until the end of the day

4. Setting boundaries

5. Decline that amazing job offer because your gut tells you so

6. Make your health a priority over your work

7. Allowing yourself to try and fail at something

8. Be ok with where you are in life

9. Ask for more responsibilities because you are ready to be challenged in your job

10. Hire that coach that you know will change your life

And the list goes on and on…

Permission to live your life is something you have to grant for yourself. The biggest lesson I have learned is that no one, absolutely no one is going to know you more than you know yourself.

“The biggest thing that I had to learn was that I was the only one that was thinking that I needed to stay where I was. Everyone else around me wanted me to be happy. Everyone else was just looking for me to make the best decision that I could. I was just walking around with these expectations that I  had to be a certain way. So, I really had to  give myself permission.” - MJ Fitzpatrick

What to do when you find yourself waiting for permission

If you’re feeling like you need to ask permission, challenge the thought. 

  1. What makes you feel like you need someone to tell you it’s OK to go for it? 
  2. Then tune into your intuition. What would you do if a magic wand granted all of your wishes?
  3. What is stopping you from doing those things?
  4. What do you need to know in order to give yourself permission?

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