One of my life lessons has revolved around giving myself permission to accept and act on my personal needs as a valid priority.
Like many of the soul-inspired professionals I work with I was brought up to focus on my commitments to others first and ended up repeatedly putting myself last.
This often left me feeling exhausted and frustrated about never having the time or energy to follow through on my own priorities.
Yet life events have interrupted this conditioning, and through accident, injury or other unexpected challenges I’ve been forced to slow down and realize that my personal priorities are not optional extras!
No matter what crosses my path, my guiding light has always been my deep commitment to a conscious approach and this perspective has enabled me to remain open to hidden opportunities.
As a result I’ve discovered that giving myself permission to make different choices on a consistent basis has led me to break limiting patterns and find a more balanced and authentic way forwards.
I love the idea of “Permission Slips” that Harvard researcher and bestselling author Brene Brown recommends in her book Dare to Lead*.
These are tools to identify what might get in your way of learning and practising new ways of showing up; they’re also effective for building trust in a group.
When you start a new project, coaching collaboration or team meeting, you write a permission slip for what you need to give yourself permission to do, feel or not to do, and then follow through to make that a reality.
Brown offers the following examples:
- If you’re working on your own, maybe you need to give yourself permission to:
- Stay open minded
- Give yourself the time you need
- Make a list of questions
- If you’re working in a group, you may need permission to:
- Show up to group meetings
- Ask for what you need
- Pass during group sharing
Get Into the Swing
When your intention is to set yourself free from conditioned patterns of thought and behaviour that have been part of your life for a long time – like always putting yourself last – naturally it involves more than an intellectual exercise.
However, you can get into the swing of giving yourself permission to make small changes starting today, and then work your way up to more substantial ones.
Here are a few simple suggestions:
1. Give yourself permission to claim at least 10 to 15 minutes of quiet time for yourself each day; check in with how you’re feeling and what you most need right now in your personal and professional life.
2. Jot a few notes down in your journal to gain a fresh perspective; if you don’t have a journal, give yourself permission to buy one for stream of consciousness writing to process your thoughts and feelings.
3. Decide on what you most need to give yourself permission for today and write that in your journal too; ask a trusted friend or colleague to support you to follow through on your chosen priority.
Other examples for permission giving include to:
- Put your creative work first: develop your ideas for a new project, plan a course or do some writing before you answer emails or get lost in social media.
- Let go of perfection once and for all: embody the realization that releasing perfection sets you free to enjoy each moment and your best results for now.
- Ask for help and support when you need it: there’s no requirement to do everything yourself! In fact the greater your contribution, the more you need excellent support around you.
Today, I give myself permission to…
… lie down and rest for 15 minutes without feeling guilty.
How will you complete that sentence?
Please have the courage to share your permission statement below and we can all hold the space for each other’s permission giving success!
* Dare to Lead by Brene Brown