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Are You Waiting for Permission?


Girl in green sweater and glasses asking a questionWay back when we were kids, we learned to ask for permission. It was perfectly normal, and we were good at following instructions for the most part. This continued through school and likely in our corporate jobs, if that’s where our path led us.


Before I really began coaching creative entrepreneurs on a formal basis, I can remember a conversation I had with my friend Barbara. Barbara wanted to leave her corporate job and turn her passion at art into a business, only she was waiting for someone to affirm her decision that it was OK. She asked me what I thought. She asked our circle of friends. She asked her sister. She asked her mom. She asked her husband.


She wanted someone else to say that she was ready, that her work was good enough, that she would be successful. In other words, she was looking for permission outside of herself to take a chance on herself, to invest in her own skills and talents.


When did it become necessary to get permission from someone else to live our own lives? Sure, Barbara did need to talk with her spouse to make sure their family needs were met. Ultimately the decision was really Barbara’s.


What happens when you wait for permission? Ultimately I think it cheats both you and others. You because you are putting off being extraordinary at being yourself. And others because you are denying them your gifts.


If you are someone who recognized you are waiting for permission, here are a few tips:


  1. Begin to visualize the beginning and the end. Where are you now and where do you want to end up? This will lead to clarity. Do not worry about the journey in the middle.


  1. Start the journey. State what you are doing. Take the first step, then the second step. The other steps will show up when you are ready for them.


  1. Don’t apologize for missteps along the way. We all have them, and we all learn from them.

It’s hard to visualize someone as a leader if she is always waiting to be told what to do.”
Cheryl Sandburg, Facebook


Please share a time that you didn’t wait for permission and what happened as a result.


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Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at



See the ICAP blog at



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2 Responses to “Are You Waiting for Permission?”

  1. JaNeanne said:

    Thank you for posting this. I am in the process of making a change in my life and the fear of disappointing those around you and the self doubt can be overwhelming. But when I see encouragement like this I know all is going to be just fine!!

  2. Shelly Stokes said:

    Thanks for the gentle reminder, Morna. I scheduled two whole months in Mexico this spring and it has been marvelous. By taking part in a personal art residency program, I found myself in the midst of a small group of full-time artists. And I realized that it is time to devote a lot more of my life to my art and teaching, and less to the things that no longer feed me.

    Yes, I am giving myself permission to move on to do the things I really love. And permission to stop doing everything else. One more week in sunny Chapala and then it’s time to start on my new path!

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