The Permission to Be Yourself

I’m a big fan of permission. In a world full of noisy self-promotion, the best way to get attention and keep it is by building trust.

Permission to be yourself
Photo Credit: MSVG via Compfight cc

Make promises and deliver; and over time, you’ll have people lining up to listen to you. That’s how you create fans for life.

But that’s not what this post is about.

When permission fails

Sometimes, waiting for permission is the worst thing you can do.

Hear me loud and clear: I’m not saying you should ever force your message on someone who didn’t ask for it. But I am saying this:

No one’s going to give you permission to be yourself. [Tweet that]

Do you want to be a writer? An artist whose work is acknowledged and revered? Maybe you dream of starting a movement that matters.

Well… what are you waiting for? “An engraved invitation?!” as my dad used to say.

You might be waiting a long time.

The reasons we wait

  • We’re busy.
  • We’re scared.
  • We’re insecure.
  • We don’t believe we have anything to offer.
  • We think we’ll fail.

All those reasons are valid. Life moves quickly, and scary things lurk around every corner. We’re nowhere near as good as we could be, but we’re good enough to start. And we often get better as we go.

But here’s the thing about excuses: they typically don’t go away until you start moving. So maybe it’s about time you got started.

Awards don’t eradicate anxiety

Sure, it’s nice to receive accolades, to get affirmation. But even those aren’t enough to motivate you, if you don’t already have that inner drive, the will to keep following your passion when no one’s cheering you on.

This isn’t easy work, or cheery work, but it’s good work. And it rarely occurs until you realize you’ve got a gift to give the world.

We are all missing out until you make that one crucial decision — the decision to be yourself.

I know this is as scary as much as it is exciting. But we must move forward, casting aside the fear and overcoming the obstacles that stand in the way. You will have to be brave in this endeavor, making the first move.

But as you do, you will gain a sense of momentum that will be hard to shake. And as you continue, you’ll become a force to be reckoned with.

That is, of course, if you don’t quit.

And yet…

Many of us are still waiting to be picked.

We hope someone will give us the keys, the right to enter. We hope for the paperwork to come in or for a form to fill out that will finally qualify us to be who we are.

But that won’t happen. Because no one can make you start but you.

(No wonder we’re so afraid.)

As it turns out, this call to be our truest selves rests entirely on you and me, on our ability to be authentic and honest with ourselves. And honestly, is there anything scarier than that?

I doubt it.

What kind of permission are you waiting for… before you choose to be yourself? Share in the comments.