I’ve been thinking a lot about the oddity of the concept of permission.
Two days ago, after conducting a workshop on INSPIRED SERVICE at a Pan American Congress a woman came up genuinely thanking me. Shen then turned to my husband to thank him for allowing me do the workshop.
I was stunned.
Then it happened again. And again. Three times over fours days Mark was thanked for ‘allowing me’ do my work.
Every time I do Roundtables on ‘Power’ there is a huge shift when women see from the inside out that their ‘power’ is different than male power. And when they understand that not only is it possible to live in their power, but essential, it becomes a seminal moment. Freeing.
After one such Roundtable, a woman came up, grabbed my hand, eyes brimming, “I’ve been in this profession for over 25 years. Thank you thank you thank you for giving me permission to use my power as a woman.”
There it was. That word again. Permission.
In this last workshop for 250 men and women from the America’s, I asked them to share a time when they had given ‘Inspired Service’. Most of them struggled with that question. ‘Inspired’ seemed way too grand for them. But as I kept holding up a mirror to let them see that their excellent service was way beyond any job requirement, the room became electric.
In essence, I gave them them ‘permission’ to own their excellence.
The dictionary definition of permission is this, “The right or ability to do something that is given by someone who has the power to decide if it will be allowed or permitted.”
I didn’t have the power to decide that these capable and brilliant people should be allowed or permitted to view their Service as Inspired.
Nor do I have the power to allow or permit women to own their own power.
Nor does my husband have the power (or wish) to decide if I should be allowed or permitted to do anything.
Woman or man it doesn’t seem to matter; we keep looking for someone to give us permission. A book, a speaker, a movement, someone to say, “You have my permission do live fully. I am allowing you to be as big as you are meant to be. I give you my approval to find your voice and lift it high.”
The power is not out there…. It is in you. And so is the permission.
I get that sometimes we need to see ourselves as the formidable beings we really are, that’s why I hold up a mirror to women. Sometimes we need to dig deeper into meanings, our own values, or false datum we have too long accepted as truth. That’s why I do Roundtables. Often we need to know we are not the only one feeling doubt or fear.
But most often we need to learn to trust that quiet voice inside. We need to give ourselves the power and permission to say YES to our life.
Say YES to the crazy impossible dreams you know are bumping against your heart.
Say YES to the challenges that make you dizzy with fear.
Say YES to you.
No one needs to give you permission. You can give it to yourself.