I have both loved and loathed that word.
In October 2013, part of the C7 returned to Colorado for the Advanced Captivating Women's Ministry Retreat. One of us had gone through a considerable amount to get there and while sitting in a comfy chair in front of a roaring fire during a break she told the tale. Suddenly I heard "permission" and asked her to say that part again. She said, "My mother gave me permission to attend." Say what?!?! A grown woman, wife, mother, and her mother GAVE her permission. Yes. Gave. Offered. Freely. Her grandfather was dying and no one knew when and her mother said, "Go. God wants you to go. It is what your grandfather would want." *Sigh*
I have never forgot that story, her face when she told it, or my dropped jaw reaction to it. I doubt I ever will.
That day in what was the safest of safe zones, she taught me "permission" and what it really meant.
I only wish I had a nickel for every time I have used that story (paraphrasing and with no names) to make a point with someone of the importance of giving others permission to....fill-in-the-blanks here.
When was the last time you gave someone "permission" to do something opposite of what you wanted, social norms, expectations, or just because??? Yeah...before that day...me neither...I had not. Not.
I am a girl born and raised on you make your bed, lie in it. You put that on your plate, eat it. Not to mention any other number of nonsensical approaches to life.
*Yeah...I just used the word nonsensical in a sentence. :)))) Shoot. Me.*
Today I was given permission to dream, to stay as long as I want in my third place that is currently packed and write, to skip a meeting for another meeting, to send something "when I could," and any number of other permissions I am given on a daily basis....that before October of last year...I did not realize them for the gift that they were....
Today I gave permission to others....to be late to work, to be late to a meeting, to cut a meeting short, to bring me the wrong order, to leave early, to be a douche canoe (yes I said it, and yes I gave someone permission to act like one (for a hot minute)), to just be...Who. They. Are.
No one needs our permission (most of the time) and no needs to give us permission (most of the time), but what does that mean when someone says, "Go. It is okay." or any other forms of "permission" that we give each other on any given day? What does it mean to be purposeful in the offering of that permission? To look someone in the eye and say, "Go. It. Is. Okay."?
It. Means. Everything.
Tonight I am sitting in one of my favorite "third places" typing up a concept paper for a non-profit who today gave me/our firm permission to dream and now I have to put those dreams on paper. At one point in the writing, I converted to bullet points because the dreams were coming quicker than I could type, and I was frankly afraid I would lose some of them. *Nerd. Alert.*
I am near tears sitting here in a public place typing dreams in a word document. Who. Does. That.?!?!
*Deepest of Sighs*
Okay...I just cried a little...waiter signaled from across the way with thumbs up and mouthed, "Okay?"...Good. Grief. My thumb goes up and awkward smile.
While sighing and drifting off, just now, I gazed awkwardly out the window and saw a homeless man walking down the sidewalk. When he came upon a group of people, he moved to the side without hesitation, allowing them to pass before continuing on. Not a one of them even acknowledged him. WTH?!?!
Who gives him permission to do anything at any point in his day?
Well, I completely went off the rails for a moment. My apologies. Dreams and heart just collided for a hot minute.
Today my partner and I took a moment at the end of our day to weigh out the highs and lows, wins and losses, and assess. At the end of it, we came to the conclusion that we were placing expectations on some of our team that were unfair...meaning we were expecting our drive in them. Not. Possible. It led to a very interesting discussion about people's drive, highest and best use of people's time, expectations, etc. We are making some changes starting tomorrow. We hope the changes will lead to the magic bullet. We are willing to risk it. Why? Because we have good people and we want to give them permission to be their highest and best...not just for our firm, but in life. That is a tall order, but a worthy one to strive for...and we are willing to invest the time to figure it out. We also are deeply invested in giving ourselves and others "permission" in work, and in life.
When was the last time you gave someone permission? When was the last time you were given permission?
I give you permission to dream.
What do you want to be when you grow up? What makes your heart flutter? What brings tears to your eyes when you think about doing/saying/being it? Where do you want to go? Live? Who do you want to love you? Who do you want to love? What hobby do you want to pick up? What buried dream or desire needs to be unearthed?
Isn't it beautiful?
I have completely changed my tune about the word. I see it for all of its possibility, but mostly for the gift that it is to someone else...or just ourselves...to Be.
Tomorrow I challenge you to be purposeful in giving yourself and others permission. Trust me on this.
Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)