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  • Writer's pictureJH


January 22, 2018

On the weekend, one of my faithful readers (I have a few, believe it or not), told me that my reinvention post at least peripherally inspired her to quit her job.


I’ve had other people tell me the blog has clicked with them too. Someone decided to get on her bike and ride. Someone else had her faith in a “public” kind of project affirmed by something she read in one of the posts.

I don’t take any credit for what those people are doing, of course. If anything, my stuff has been a last nudge for a few people, or maybe just timely. Their decisions – and successes – belong to them, but it is gratifying to find out some of my thoughts are resonating out there. For me, all of this really is about trying to sort out my own head and show people that things are possible if they just take action.

But the stories I’m hearing have me thinking about permission. Specifically, whose permission people seem to need to do the things they want to do. This isn’t my idea, by the way. I first encountered it through the work of Philip McKernan, with whom I’ve done a coaching session. He talks a lot about this type of thing, and now that I’m getting feedback from people on my little blog posts, I see how prevalent the issue is.

Whose permission are you looking for?

Whose permission to start playing the drums in a band again? Whose permission to join a gym? Whose permission get a tattoo? Whose permission to start a business? Whose permission to leave that job or career that’s killing you? Whose permission to take the trip to Europe that you’ve dreamed of your whole life? Why do you need a blog post or a psychic or the face of Tony Robbins in a pancake to believe it’s okay?

I’m not saying you should suddenly turn your life upside-down on a whim. Obviously your actions and decisions might affect other people, but consider for a second how much other people’s actions and decisions might limit you. A lot of us are martyrs. We’ll subjugate our own feelings and dreams so we don’t upset someone else. A lot of us are scared, too. We’ll hide behind someone else’s permission so we don’t have to face the stuff the scares us.

I don’t know why you need permission or who you might need it from. Maybe it’s a spouse or a friend or even yourself. That’s for you to decide, and I encourage you to do the work of deciding. If you’re holding back on something, ask yourself why. Then ask yourself if it’s because you think you need permission from someone else to do it. If you do, is it reasonable? Is it fair? Does that person have the right to your life? Is that person even in your life?

If yes, then at very least it might be time to have a conversation. Sometimes people think they need permission that it turns out they never needed at all. Sometimes the road block will be there and it will be formidable, but there are compromises to be found. Sometimes, probably most times, another person’s fears or priorities or power plays have no relevance whatsoever to what you want to do with your life.

Think it over and consider the possibilities.

You have my permission.

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