What Will It Take To Give Yourself Permission?

Oct 29, 2021 | 0 comments

What will it take for you to have permission to move yourself, your work, your business, or your organization in the direction of your dreams? Permission is the first step from breakdown to breakthrough.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about getting from breakdown to breakthrough. We have all experienced this in small & possibly large ways. The breakdown comes in many forms: divorce, illness… our own, or someone close to us… death, natural disasters, the worldwide uncertainty of Covid 19, job loss, or an impossible level of job demands and stress. Children are born. Children move away. Business grows; business declines. Staff shortages are chronic.

My own breakdown began in 2015. I decided, for a variety of reasons, to take a full-time position as a traveling development officer for a very large nonprofit corporation that managed retirement communities in 4 states. I began working for them on Dec 1st. It was a great job with a great company. 

Little did I know that the unraveling of life as I knew it was underway. On Dec 4th my mother suddenly died and by the end of the month, my romantic partner ended our relationship. Then in Jan 2016, my mother’s sister was discovered to have advanced throat cancer. She passed away at the end of April. Shortly after that my dog died. Seriously, my dog died!

I found myself on the road 3-4 nights a week, living in Hampton Inns. I awoke one morning and just for a few moments wondered “What city am I in?” By Fall 2016, I was in full burnout. Or as I’ve come to describe it BREAKDOWN!

Many months passed before I would give myself permission to acknowledge the dire circumstances I was living through & the impact a series of profound losses were having on me. “Put your head down & plow forward!” “Buck up!” “Many people have way more difficulties than you!” My self-compassion was empty. 

Eventually, the advice of friends and a trusted mentor led me to ask for help from a life coach. Sally showed me that I could grant myself permission to step away, rest, recover and decide what was next for me. She also showed me I not only had the right but also the responsibility to choose what’s best for me in the way I was living & working. 

I now know that granting permission is always the 1st step on the path to freedom. Permission to feel. Permission to know-even hard truths. Permission to take time and to take space. Permission to move forward in the direction of my dreams. Permission is the first step from breakdown to breakthrough.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you sick & tired of being sick & tired? 
  • Are you ready to change your mind about long-held “musts” & “shoulds”?
  • Are you ready to risk knowing & following what your heart longs for?
  • Are you ready to be the decider in your own life? 

The rest of the story…..

The work with Sally showed me clearly that my true calling was and had always been, to help people who wished to source their life and their work from a place of heart and intuition, rather than an external focus driven by reasoning alone. This in turn led me to study with the Martha Beck Institute for Wayfinder Coaching. 

This was a huge departure from the way I approached consulting previously. Yet the more I learned at MBI and the more I dug into the Wayfinder practice, the more convinced I became that this was the right path for me. 


Then the gremlins and the demons kicked in! My rational mind screamed “What makes you think this approach could possibly work?! I learned very quickly from my own experience & from the people I’ve worked with, fear is the biggest obstacle to granting ourselves permission to make life-changing, soul-inspiring decisions. 

Liz Gilbert, in her brilliant work, Big Magic has a chapter entitled “The Road Trip” Liz describes the symbiosis with fear like a family road trip. Here is what she says to fear:

“You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you’re not allowed to have a vote.”  Then after listing all the things fear is NOT allowed to do Liz concludes “But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.” 

So, if we refuse to allow fear to drive us, how do we decide? For that I turn to the wisdom of my teacher and mentor, Martha Beck who says: 

“Here is the crux of the matter, the distilled essence, the only thing you need to remember. When considering whether to say yes or no, you must choose the response that feels like freedom.“ 

“Feel” is the pivotal word here. How does it feel in your body, in your heart, in your quiet knowing? Does it taste of freedom?! Pros-Cons, rational & linear thinking have a contribution to make in the process. Like fear, don’t let it be the driving force.

Here’s the question. What will it take for you to have permission to move yourself, your work, your business or your organization in the direction of your dreams? Let me know if I can provide guidance and support as you move from breakdown to breakthrough. It starts with permission. 


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