It’s not unusual to be denied permission to do something, for good reason. Sometimes it’s for safety (you can’t stand in the aisle during takeoff), sometimes for other people’s comfort (you shouldn’t allow your kids to run through the museum screaming), and sometimes it’s for health (you can’t eat certain foods if you have certain ailments).
However, we often deny ourselves permission. I hear people say, “Oh, I could never do that,” or “They wouldn’t listen to me.” Then there are those who request permission that is unneeded: “Do you think it would be okay to tell the client that my fee is overdue?” And sometimes we’re able to formally grant ourselves permission when we think about it (“My coach told me to confront the issue and not simply run from it”). Others, of course, just assume they have permission and don’t really think about it at all—let’s go backstage and get a photo.
In fact, the progression looks like this: 1) Assume no permission, don’t even try (unconscious incompetency); 2) Request permission (conscious incompetency); 3) Officially give yourself permission (conscious competency); and 4) Assume permission (unconscious competency). We ought to be living our lives between 3 and 4 (four alone all the time produces narcissim and self-absorption).
How many times a day are you denying yourself permission to live the life you deserve and would love to lead? Victims blame “them.” Achievers look to themselves.
The only safe thing is to take a chance.
– Mike Nichols
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