“If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for permission.” – Anonymous
How much of your life is spent trying to please others? How often do you sacrifice who you truly are to maintain a certain image or to fulfill an expectation others have of you? When was the last time you felt fully alive in your own skin? Or totally in alignment with your values and what really matters to you?
Sadly most of us spend a lot of energy, time and focus on pleasing others, doing what they expect of us, and as a result feel completely drained inside.
In fact the #1 regret of people on their deathbed, as captured by Bronnie Ware is: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
And we were no exception…
For more than ten years we ticked all the ‘normal’ boxes: graduated university, got married, bought a house, had kids, and chose respectable and stable jobs in Public Relations (Leah) and as a Police Officer (Naz).
But as we stepped out and ventured into discovering what our passions were and what truly lit us up (because we originally had no idea!), we bumped up against something so big and insidious that it almost completely derailed our efforts…
This sneaking feeling of guilt started to appear:
- Why should we want more from life?
- Who are we to break the mold?
- We have such a blessed existence, maybe it’s wrong to push for greater heights.
- We should be happy with what we have.
- What about our partners, friends, colleagues, etc. who are still stuck in their life-sucking day jobs? It doesn’t seem fair…
- What if it doesn’t work and we’ve spent all this time/money/energy investing in us for no return? Is that selfish?
You see, we were finally doing something that we wanted to do (not what was expected of us), we were taking the reigns of our own lives and yet here we were feeling unworthy and guilty for enjoying the process and starting to feel alive again!
Have you ever experienced that? Have you ever taken time for you, focused on something YOU wanted to do only to feel incredibly guilty for doing it? Or maybe you have someone in your life who doesn’t really get it and who goes out of their way to make you feel guilty?
The Key to Unlock your Greatest Journey & Potential
Of the thousands of people we’ve coached in the past four years, one of the biggest hurdles faced by people taking the steps to find or live their passion is:
They have zero permission to do what lights them up.
Seems like quite a basic concept right? Except ‘giving ourselves permission’ might be one of the most difficult, yet important, things many of us can do.
Here at Live Your Legend we talk a lot about connecting with yourself, finding out what you rock at, getting in-person with like-minded people and starting mini-experiments to uncover what lights you up. There is a ton you can do to get started along the path (and to keep you going) towards living your best life…
But if you don’t have permission to do it in the first place, then it’s completely meaningless and useless!
It’s like driving a car without a license. You are on the road and making progress to your destination, but deep down you know you shouldn’t be out there in the first place.
The Importance of Integrity
Permission works the same way. Without permission your journey has no integrity. And without a foundation of integrity, nothing works!
So how do you know if you currently don’t have permission to do something you love? For us it was playing far smaller than we were capable of and keeping largely quiet about our passions in front of our families.
Here are just a few of the other potential warning signs:
- You procrastinate on taking action
- You play smaller than you know you’re capable of
- You hide your achievements (or worse, talk them down)
- You dial down your excitement
- You self-sabotage
How to Give Yourself Full Permission
So where does this permission come from anyway? Fortunately you don’t need to get an official stamp of approval or certificate from anywhere to do something you love… although in some ways that would make things easier!
Permission comes from within you. And you are 100% responsible for granting it. It is completely within your power.
And fortunately, granting it is very simple:
Step 1: Ask yourself ‘What do I truly want? Say your answer out loud & be specific as possible.
Step 2: Say out loud ‘I give myself permission to [insert what you want from Step 1]’
Now it is not uncommon for people to need to repeat this phrase over and over (sometimes daily!) until they truly feel it and believe it.
Some examples we’ve collected over the years from people just like you include:
- I give myself full permission to live a life feeling truly alive each and every single day.
- I give myself full permission to be happy today.
- I give myself full permission to travel the world.
- I give myself full permission to speak my truth.
- I give myself full permission to chase and live my dreams.
It is such a simple process, and yet incredibly powerful. Why?
Because if you don’t build a powerhouse mindset while you step outside of your familiar, then the odds of you falling back into the old mold are much more likely.
And like any mindset shift, it takes practice, perseverance and determination.
Pitfalls to be Aware of When you Give Yourself Permission
1. Some people close to you might not approve
When you start to take charge of your life, those closest to you might not be used to it and rebel in some way. Know that this is quite normal and all you need to do is simply have compassion for them, reassure them that you are not going anywhere (as their fear likely comes from the idea of losing you) and know that this is often their way of showing you that they care.
2. You will start to feel 100% responsible (scary!)
This can be an overwhelming feeling, but remember that it’s a good thing to be responsible for your life. When you give yourself permission you are back in the driver’s seat (with a licence).
3. It’s not a quick fix ‘positive affirmation’ style of practice
Usually we facilitate this process as part of an intensive coaching session, so you might need to give yourself permission daily, or even multiple times a day until you start to believe yourself and own it. It’s not enough to just repeat it; you have to feel it.
4. Your old patterns and ways of thinking will try to sabotage you
As you give yourself permission, there might be objections and negative thoughts (even more than usual) that start to arise (possibly quite strong ones). Take this as a good sign that the message is getting through and simply smile and become an observer of these thoughts. Keep on practicing and feeling your permission.
5. Make your permission specific
You will find ease and flow in some areas of life (i.e. where you have permission) and then roadblocks in others (where you are lacking permission) – remember that the more specific you can be in terms of what you want, the better. For example it’s much more powerful to say ‘I give myself permission to spend 2 hours/week on my passionate work’ vs. ‘I give myself permission to invest in myself.’
6. Take it a step further
Once you feel you truly believe and feel that you have permission, cement it further by asking yourself ‘What is the next, smallest step I can take now that I have this permission?’
Because there is only one person that needs to give you permission to live a life of greatness: YOU! And until you fully allow yourself to live the life you want, you will find it impossible to live up to your greatest potential.
And that right there would be the biggest regret of all…
We’d love to know in the comments:
What do you commit to giving yourself permission to do?
Just imagine what would be possible for you if you gave yourself full permission to live your greatest life…
We believe you have permission. Now, it’s time for you to believe it too!
-Leah and Naz