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Sign Your Own Permission Slip

By Claudette Rowley

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sail. Explore. Dream. Discover." -- Mark Twain
Growing up, permission slips were a big part of school life - essential to participating in special projects, field trips, or class trips out of state. For me to take part in any adventure outside of the classroom, my mother or father had to sign the slip. Now, as an adult, I can sign my own permission slip. In fact, I don't even need one! Yet I realize how often I don't give myself permission to be who I want to be or do what I want to do.

How many times have you decided that you wanted something, and then denied yourself permission to have it or even ask for it?

In my experience, here are the top ten beliefs that cause people to deny themselves permission to want what they want:

  • I can't afford it.
  • I don't deserve it.
  • What will other people think? Someone might not like it.
  • "In my family, we don't desire things like that. My parents had the same sofa for twenty years. Why should I be any different?"
  • What if I get it and decide that I don't like it?
  • I might fail.
  • I might succeed.
  • I can't have THAT (it's too big, too small, too expensive, too fill-in-the-blank).
  • I'll have to step outside of my comfort zone.
  • And the essence of all resistance: "I am afraid."

Here's the antidote to these limiting beliefs: GET TO WANT WHAT YOU WANT. It's that simple. You get to want what you want without judging it or measuring its merit or any justification at all.

Here is an example from my own life. Recently, I've been paying closer attention to what I want and how quick I sometimes am to deny myself. For instance, I'm developing some new strategic alliances in my business. I've noticed how rapidly limiting beliefs will surface, such as, "Don't even bother to call that person. She won't return your call." If I don't stay conscious and aware, I'm stopped in my tracks. I have to keep recognizing what I want and giving myself full permission to have it without judgment.

Here are some steps to get you started:

  1. Recognize what you want.
  2. Refrain from judgment.
  3. Give yourself permission to want what you want.
  4. Take the action required -- for example, asking, buying, giving.
  5. Notice what opportunities open up for you and what opens up inside of you.
Following these steps may feel uncomfortable; you might feel fear. That's okay. These are simply signs that you are moving away from what's been comfortable to you. You are growing!

Each time you acknowledge what you want, refrain from judging it and act on it, you enter the flow of life. Life wants to give you what you want. Our socialization (see ten limiting beliefs above) tends to complicate matters and have us believe otherwise. Recognizing what you want and giving it to yourself is a skill. And like most new skills, it requires building the "muscle." The more you work the muscle, the easier it is to move.

In the end, you are the only one who can sign your own permission slip. As 2003 draws to a close, what's the permission slip you want to sign?

Copyright 2003 Claudette Rowley

Claudette Rowley, coach and author, helps professionals identify and pursue their true purpose and calling in life. Contact her today for a complimentary consultation at 781.538.6616 or Sign up for her free newsletter "Insights for the Savvy" at

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