The Kenyan Nomad

The Kenyan Nomad

Monday, July 4, 2022

On Permission

In her book Dare to Lead, researcher BrenĂ© Brown introduces the idea of permission slips. The idea stuck with me and was fascinating enough that it's come up in conversation with others. Recently, especially, it came up in discussion with a good friend, as well as with someone I'm coaching. 

As with a lot of the learning and thinking I'm doing right now, I'm compelled to ask the question: how does this relate to me and my life? 

What are some of the roles I've fallen into, the routines that I've started following, the person I and others believe me to be that I can give myself permission to rethink? 

A few came up. 

The permission to travel. This is an interesting one because I look at my peers—I'd like to think this is for inspiration rather than comparison, but inevitably there's always comparison happening (note to self to dig deeper here)—and many of them started to engage deeply in this beautiful, educational, life-expanding habit when they were much younger. I didn't, apart from when I was called to do this for work. Why not? I guess there are stories we tell ourselves in our minds, and my stories revolved around needing to prioritise visiting family and friends, around needing to save, around trying to build some stability in place and routine. 

Recently, I had a fascinating discussion around tradeoffs, and realised that life will always be about making these. I've been wanting to explore the world outside of what I know for all the beauty and growth and wonder that lies there, so why have I been waiting for the perfect moment? Back to those stories. There will always be other tradeoffs I can make. There will always be those who feel I didn't make the right ones. At the end of the day, however, I need to be comfortable with my choices and my tradeoffs, and so, I give myself permission to travel. 

The permission to reinvent myself. I've been on a journey of growth and discovery for a while. I'm sure many of us have. However, there's almost an instinctive need to protect that growth, to refuse to engage in that vulnerability—perhaps for fear of what'll have to change if I unveil what's been brewing under the surface and allow myself to be true to who I am today. Once again, change can be hard, internally as well as externally, as people either grapple with discomfort when you're no longer serving the patterns they were used to or as they flex and flow to accept the changing pieces. 

What's an example of this? I love being a part of the potential equation. Helping others unlock, unblock, and access their potential. Doing this in a way that serves them and me in a way that I still don't have language for. However, for the longest time, I felt that my strength around working with people wasn't a 'real' strength, or one I should be proud of. So even as I developed this, I couldn't take pride in it beyond in a few select circles. 

The permission to say yes to that which scares me. My twenties were about a lot of growth, yes, but digging deeper I found ways to stick to comfort. Did this limit my growth? Maybe, who knows. Do I want it to limit my growth going forward? Absolutely not. Feelings are such an important indicator. I love helping those I coach realise it, which was how I realised that this was important for me, too! Fear is indicative of there being something unknown. The urge to protect and turn inwards can instead be flipped to a desire to explore, and what better way to do this than by saying a big YES? 

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