I Hereby Authorize You To…

As I drove down the road the words from the podcast hit me like a snowball to the face.

“Secretly, I wanted to be magician but I didn’t give myself permission to do it.”

Those are the words of Christopher Hart as he visited with Bob Stromberg on his podcast “The Wide Eyed Creative.” While you may not know Christopher Hart by his name or his face you likely have seen him. His hand portrayed Thing in the Addams Family movies. You can check out Bob’s episode #24 here.

In the podcast, Hart was explaining his desire to become a full time magician but the struggles he faced in pursuing that dream.

As I wiped the snowball off my face I began to ponder his words. Are there things in my life that I haven’t given myself permission to do? I had about three more hours in the car so there was plenty of time to consider the question.

When you think about it much of life is about getting permission, or authorization, to do something. I remember as a boy needing to get a pass from the teacher to go to the lavatory. If I wanted to stay overnight at a friend’s house I needed to get permission from my parents.

As an adult, I asked my in-laws for permission to marry their daughter. A green light authorizes me to move forward to my destination. A driver’s license allows me to be on the roads with everyone else. Even today, at 62 years of age, if I have a cookie at 5 pm and supper is at 5:30, I feel guilty because I didn’t get permission, which likely would have been denied by my mom.

Permission and authorization are good things in most of life. If we didn’t live by some standards we would be surrounded by utter chaos. Permission is also something that is granted to us from someone else, someone in authority of some type.

Unfortunately, this need for consent can carry over into other areas of our life that don’t require it. Because we live in such a regimented way in most areas of our life it is difficult to be aware of when we don’t need permission.

In wrestling with the permission question as I drove down the road I came up with two places in my life where I don’t need to seek authorization from anyone else. I need to give myself permission just as Christopher Hart needed to give himself permission to be a magician.

If you’ve read some of my earlier blog posts you know that my father passed away very suddenly when I was fourteen. A very well meaning man, who came to school to inform my brothers and I, gave us this message; “Boys, this is going to be very hard on your mom. I don’t want you to cry. I don’t want you to ask any questions. I just want you to be men.”

The message received was, “Dave, you do not have permission to grieve this very tragic loss in your life.” So, I didn’t. I stuffed it all. While I have done some work on this in recent years that lack of permission has impacted me greatly in a negative way as well as those around me. I need to authorize myself to deal with that loss.

The second area in which I need to give myself permission is around my business. I am my own worst enemy in growing my business. All indications are that people love what I do and want more. I struggle to give myself permission to be successful. I’m working on it and have taken some steps to really work on this in 2018.

How about you?

Are you holding yourself back because you’re waiting for permission from someone? Maybe there is no one else. Maybe you just need to give yourself permission.

Do you have the courage to authorize yourself to – insert your yearning here.

Go ahead. You have my permission.

Joshua 1:9


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  • Darren Aune

    Brene Brown, in her book “Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging,” describes the time she realized she needed to give herself permission to be herself. With that realization, she began to write herself permission slips on post-it notes. Permission to be yourself is a step on the way to success.

    • Darren, Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I’m a huge Brene Brown fan. I haven’t had the opportunity to read “Braving the Wilderness” yet so your comment has intrigued me even more! I really like that idea of writing permission to ourselves on a post it note. Simple steps are often the most powerful ones! Thank you, Darren! Dave Cornell