“Who gave you permission to do that?”
I’ve always marveled at people who can just go out and do things in several different fields. They are the Leonardo Da Vinci’s of the world – true renaissance people who don’t allow the artificial labels and boxes to contain them.
There are examples of architects who are also creating furniture or smart phones or interior designs (Philippe Starck comes to mind). Or photographers who also compose symphonies (Gordon Parks). Or fashion designers (Tom Ford) who are now directing films. In the past, many famous names come to mind as being renaissance folks: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Michelangelo, Galileo, etc.
Who gave them permission to do these things?
It was no one but themselves.
Musicians and artists often struggle with permission to practice their craft. They have to hustle! Teaching is an opportunity but it seems many do not make it a priority. After talking to many creative folks, I’ve discovered a few things. There is a resistance to starting a business. The reasons I heard include: lack of confidence, experience, a plan, focus, fear and more. But behind all of this, I have discovered another reason…permission.
No one gave them permission.
As children, we are taught to always ask for permission.
“Can I go outside?”
“Can I have a snack?”
“Can I sleep over?”
It’s a natural part of every child’s life. But for many, that habit created a pattern that is difficult to break.
Our society is organized around permission. It sets structures for us to work, live and play within. Color within the lines. This hierarchy structure is necessary and useful, especially for safety reasons or for life and death industries like aerospace or medicine. But, at some point we need to grow up and be adults. Are we not going forth because we have not given ourselves permission?
“You don’t need to ask permission to take responsibility.” – Ed Catmull, President, Pixar
Jobs are being eliminated from the old structures of permission. They are being replaced with the self-motivated work of responsibility.
Whether you are currently employed or self-employed, you have the opportunity to take full responsibility for your results: financially, emotionally, mentally and socially. Everything. You don’t need to ask anyone’s permission. You can just start doing it.
Of course, there are many other things that are required for success. But it all begins with letting yourself take action.
Over the last few years, I have been training and coaching music teachers and business owners.
Here’s what one told me.
“The act of me agreeing to contractually pay you for the [coaching] immediately, concretely changed my mindset from an amateur to a professional.”
In some ways, you can see he had finally given himself permission to make this a focus.
No One Is Coming
This reminds me of the writings of psychologist Dr. Nathaniel Branden. He is famous for several books including the Six Pillars of Self Esteem, The Psychology of Self Esteem and others.
Throughout his books, there is a central theme: “No one is coming.”
In other words, there is no windfall.
There is no knight in shining armor riding up to save you.
There is no hero.
It is within you.
Give yourself permission…the elephant will wander off.