We all have things that we want to do, dream of doing, or secretly long for. But a lot of those things, big or small, never see the light of day. Take a moment and think about your answer to these questions. Just one minute. Go on, I’ll wait.
I’ve always wanted to…..
I’ve stopped myself because…..
What I needed was……
This right here is what I call The Permission Gap: that gap between the things we’ve always wanted to do, and the things we’ve actually done.
There are typically three reasons we get stuck from moving forward with the things we really want:
- We need someone to tell us that it’s going to be okay.
- We need support for our choices so we know we aren’t totally crazy.
- We want someone to stop us because it’s generally easier not to jump. We want to be validated.
We need to be validated. We want to know we are going to be safe, that it’s all going to work out. That our world won’t fall apart.
That we won’t, God forbid, fail.
Here are some common desires that can put women firmly in the permission gap:
- Quit a job
- Start a business
- Leave a relationship
- Be more creative
- Move countries
- Get a tattoo
- Write a book
- Ask for more support
- Start a side hustle
- Completely change careers
- Speak the truth
- Be more real
We get lured into the permission gap by our stories. Not our real stories. Not the truth. But the stories we tell ourselves about what will happen if we show up, act, be ourselves, take a risk, or just do what we really want to do.
Perhaps some of these stories will sound familiar:
- People won’t like it
- People won’t like me
- It will be too hard
- I’ll be judged
- People will think I’m crazy
- My partner/parent/kid/boss/friends won’t approve
- I’ll look silly
- I won’t fit in
- People will be upset
- They will say no
- I will fail
But here’s the question I want you to really sit with:
What is the cost of living your life in the permission gap?
What is the cost of your inaction? What are you missing out on?
Adventure perhaps. Following your true passion and living your life on purpose. Meeting your soul sisters or life partner. Being the person you were put on this earth to be.
Maybe just living your life with more freedom and lightness and joy because you aren’t being constantly weighed down with the heaviness of all of these thoughts and fears and irrational stories that keep you stuck.
What if you just said yes to yourself?
What if you picked one thing that you currently want to do or try or be, and instead of deliberating in the permission gap, you just went ahead and did it.
I dare you to pick one small thing. Or pick one crazy big thing. And take the action you are longing to take.
Write the book. Start the side hustle. Leave the relationship that’s making you crazy. Book the holiday to a far flung destination. Ask for the promotion.Change companies. Build your brand. Sell your house. Move cities. Become an artist. Kick out your toxic flatmate. Die your hair red. Get the tattoo. Go volunteer in Nepal. Become a vegan. Move to Alaska. Speak truth to power. Just say no. Finally say yes.
The permission gap is not a place you can live your one big glorious life from. It’s a persistent safe zone. It’s too comfortable. And nothing great happens there.
Be brave dear friend. Give yourself permission to not only want what you want, but to take action.
Because greatness is in the doing. And the only permission you need is your own.