Giving yourself permission

Remember those permission slips you used to get when you were in school that allowed you to miss a class or skip an event because you had another commitment? 

A handful of years ago, Brene Brown, the now famous researcher/ author/ lecturer/ story teller, brought the notion of permission slips into her personal life, as well as her work with organizational leaders. (You can read more about this in her book, Rising Strong.) 

As a self described control freak, Brene started using permission slips as a way to give herself room to make mistakes, be imperfect, messy, awkward. 

You know, be human.

She would write on a post-it note what she wanted to give herself permission to do–or be or feel–and put it on a mirror or in her back pocket. It was a simple way to remind herself she didn’t have to know all the answers, be all pulled together, or feel particularly savvy with handling big, uncomfortable emotions.   

I love this idea, not because I’m a control freak, mind you…I’m just asking for a friend. Ha.

In a world where there’s so much pressure to look good, be successful and make sure no one sees you sweat, permission slips are like flinging open a big window in a stuffy old house and letting in nice fresh air.

Ahhh….just the thought of it helps me breathe a little easier. 

I got inspired this week to write myself a permission slip. Here’s what’s on it:   

I give myself permission to stop ‘audiencing’ what I write. This is a term I recently learned from a friend and I love it so much. It speaks to worrying about what other people think and letting that crimp my writing, speaking, creating or generally showing up in the world as….me!  

• I give myself permission to be a beginner, and not expect myself to know how to do things I’ve never done before. That means, letting myself be ok with feeling clumsy. (This can cause those of us with tiny control and perfectionism issues to feel, well, out of control and imperfect. I’m going to do it anyway.) Besides, clumsy is the new sexy…  

• I give myself permission to be brave when I feel scared. And to feel scared when I don’t feel so brave.

• I give myself permission to sound really, really terrible while playing the drum a friend just gave me. 

• I give myself permission to let go of outcomes. Just suit up and show up, and let the rest be in the lap of the gods. (Remind me of this, will you?) 

Hey, this is a really fun exercise. I’m feeling freer and lighter with every permission.

Now it’s your turn. What do you want to put on your permission slip? What will help you breathe a little easier over the next several weeks?   

You know I love hearing from you. I do, it’s true!  xo