Problems vs. Solutions: permission

Is there an area of your business where you’re waiting for permission?

Permission to…

  • Launch a new service
  • Attend that conference
  • Go after your ideal client
  • Really “own” your personal brand
  • Hire with confidence
Say “no” to work that’s not a good fit
  • Streamline your process
  • Ask clients for referrals
  • Charge more
  • Reach out to someone you admire
  • Be authentic on social media
Ask qualified prospects to work with you
  • Fire clients who aren’t a good fit
Start a mastermind group
  • Ask for a meeting and pitch your new idea
  • Set boundaries with clients
  • Get rid of a service
  • Call yourself an expert
Play a bigger game in a bigger arena

I see many entrepreneurs waiting. Waiting for consent, for approval.

Waiting for permission to take their business to the next level.

Know this: A permission mindset is bad for business—and for personal growth.

Because it’s waiting around for some external entity (who may never show up) to say, Yes, you belong. You’ve arrived. You know enough. You are enough.

I co-founded Red Spade, a successful usability company, without the expected degree in human-computer interaction. I didn’t wait for permission (via a master’s degree in the field) to help companies improve the usability of their e-commerce sites.

I could have waited for the degree to give me permission.

But giving myself permission meant I didn’t have to delay launching the company. I could get started right away—trying and failing and succeeding. I gave myself permission to learn by doing, on the job.

What is your waiting about? Are you worried your credentials aren’t quite right? Or your portfolio isn’t quite enough?

Or maybe you worry because you don’t always feel like an expert. And if you don’t feel like an expert, isn’t that proof you’re not one?

Let’s be clear: The answer to that question is threefold: No, No, No.

None of us feel like an expert all the time.

Or put another way—most of us walk around at times feeling like a fraud or impostor. That somehow we’ve pulled the wool over enough eyes to get where we are. That we’re one misstep away from the curtain being pulled back and our “not enoughness” revealed.

  • So we don’t go after the speaking gig that makes our heart beat fast because we want to be asked instead. As proof we are qualified.
  • We don’t pick up the phone and make the cold call because we’re afraid of hearing “no”. And that’s proof we’re not qualified.

And so we wait. For permission. For someone else to say we’re experienced enough, expert enough. For someone else to deem us credentialed and competent.

Well, when you wait for permission, you do a lot of waiting.

And you miss out on a lot of opportunities to learn on the job, to build your skills, to step up and show up.

I know this for sure: You’re ready to contribute and make your mark long before you feel ready. And that if you wait until you feel you know enough—and are enough—you’ll be waiting a very long time.

And now repeat after me:

  • I will not ask for permission. I will act.
  • I will not wait for permission. I will act now.