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Stop Waiting for Permission: Do What You’ve Been Resisting

Stop Waiting for Permission: Do What You’ve Been Resisting

Whose permission do you need? Really, it’s not a trick question. Who needs to give you the nod of approval before you can start a business, start dating after a bitter divorce, or write the book you’ve been talking about for the past nine years? Whose approval are you desperately seeking? Your spouse, a boss, friend, or expert in your field? Unless you’re six years old, you don’t need anyone’s permission to create a better, fuller, richer life for yourself. Of course, it doesn’t always feel that way. Someone has to tell you you’re good enough and smart enough, right?

Well, no actually. We cling to the (irrational) belief that we require approval before we can achieve because it’s safe. It gives you a fabulous excuse. You can tell others, and more importantly, yourself, that it’s out of your hands. It can help you sleep because it gives you the illusion that you’re not in control. And if you’re not in control, it’s not your fault. But if you want to do more than sleep well and want to start living well, you need to make a decision. Are you going to put your success and happiness in your hands or someone else’s?

This message hit home for me last week. I presented to a roomful of actors and artists at a Screen Actors Guild event. Talk about an industry built on the need for approval. If you’re an actor, you need a casting director to tell you you’re good enough. If you’re a musician, you need a record label to give you their seal of approval. And if you’re a writer, you need an agent or publisher to recognize your genius. This is true for all actors, musicians, and writers . . . except those that have decided they don’t need to wait for anyone to tell them their art is worthy. These are the artists that don’t wait, they create. The ones such as Zak AmbroseCraig BenzineChristina PerriOren Peli, or “Born this Way” Maria.

Not an artist? Not a problem. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living. The freedom that comes from discovering you don’t need anyone’s permission is yours for the taking. But how can you break free from this destructive and limiting belief?

Get conscious. It’s time to name names. List a goal or aspiration and write down next to it all of the people for whom you are secretly waiting approval. If you’re having trouble, ask yourself this: Who needs to tell me that I am old enough, young enough, experienced enough, smart enough, attractive enough, thin enough, funny enough, or creative enough? Maybe you’ve been waiting to get a boyfriend before you travel across Europe. Why can’t you go alone? Whose permission are you seeking? What about dropping your current job and switching to a career that inspires you?

There are two truths. The first is that nobody will ever give you permission. The second is that you don’t need anyone’s permission. Success doesn’t come to those who wait for it. Success doesn’t even come to those who ask for it. Success comes to those who fight off the naysayers and push forward without a permission slip.

It can be incredibly scary (and life changing) once you realize it’s up to you. Regardless of the story you sell yourself, it always has been up to you, and it always will be. What would happen if you woke up tomorrow and decided you didn’t need anyone to give you permission? What’s the first thing you would start? Really, it’s not a trick question.

(Wish I Could Do That image by Owen PriorCC 2.0)

Are you ready to create more money, time, energy, and passion in your life? Learn how to live your best life now with these free resources:

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You can also join a community of passionate people at Richer Life who want to achieve more in life and at work. With your free membership, you can participate in conversations I have with experts, celebrities, authors, and thought leaders that are laser-focused on practical ways to drive more money, motivation, and meaning into your life. Take the first step toward creating a better life by joining Richer Life for free now!

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Robert Pagliarini

Robert Pagliarini is obsessed with improvement, making the most of his time and energy, and inspiring others to live life to the fullest by radically changing the way they invest their time and energy. He is the founder of RicherLife.com, a community of passionate people who want to learn and achieve more in life and at work and the co-founder of The Band of Brothers Foundation, a non-profit helping kids around the world.

19 comments

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11:56PM PST on Mar 7, 2014

Thanks for the reminder.

12:43PM PST on Jan 9, 2013

Thank you

8:48PM PDT on Jun 10, 2012

"Don't wait, create!" I needed to hear that! Thanks!

8:21PM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

Sounds simple...

12:14PM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

True. If you always ask permission to do the things that will allow you to live your life out full measure, the answer will always invariably be a resounding "no." Thanks.

10:39AM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

It's one thing feel the emotional 'need' to ask permission, quite another to get a loan so you can do the thing. Or line up the help who will be dependable, and a bunch of other lagitamet escuses people have for not doing somerthing.I don't mean to 'diss' the author, but it bugs me when these well meaning people only look at the emotional side of an issue, but not the practicle side, like location, age, money. I've done plenty of things in my life that others might consider incredable,Yet to me it just seemed like a necessity that had to be done and I had enough practical skills and good health to do it, but I certainly know not everybody could do it.
So maybe people need to understand the difference between a mind set of doubt and how the culture is often stacked against them.Like wise, don't assume that if something is possible for some then everybody would be doing it. Self healing is a good example.It can be done by many, but others won't know if they can untill they try it themselves.

9:46AM PDT on Mar 21, 2012

Thank you

9:44AM PDT on Mar 21, 2012

I vow to get unstuck - just tomorrow!!

7:13PM PDT on Mar 20, 2012

Who says I'm asking permission? It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

7:11PM PDT on Mar 20, 2012

We all need a push sometimes. However, keep in mind that some people are truly stuck and need a helping hand in getting going. I just need a push!

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