Permission Please

Entrepreneurs often ask me for permission to do activities they are more than capable of doing. It is the self-confidence they lack but certainly not the skill and talent.

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Why is it that sometimes entrepreneurs need to seek permission to do an activity?

Why is it that having just one person's approval that we then think: "Yes, I can do it and I will do it."?

When I say activity, I mean doing something out of your comfort zone. This could be from setting up a mastermind group, to calling a long sought after target, to changing your moniker to make your new title zing and stand out from the crowd, to even making a decision about what phone system to use in the office.

I think it all boils down to self-confidence. It is challenging running a business alone from home. There it is, I said it, alone. We can all too often feel overwhelmed by the lack of face to face interaction - the zero water cooler moments in the home office and the only potential company in the day being the Amazon delivery man or woman. Working alone means we don't have anyone we can bash out ideas to or have that colleague across the office spurring us on.

There is no one to deliberate with about your latest brainwave apart from yourself, and perhaps your online community if you have one. Doing something brave and 'out there' can feel very scary.

I remember speaking with a female entrepreneur who came across as very self-confident and self-assured when she told me about her achievements but with the one dream she had, she just couldn't do it until she had sought my permission. I am her peer, a fellow entrepreneur and when she asked: "Can I set up my own paid for mastermind group?" I said: "Absolutely yes you can! You have a proven track record for running non-profit making mastermind groups for over a year now, so now it is time to step up and start to monetise where your strengths lie." She was just after someone in her space to give her the final push.

I often help people speak to a dream contact that would be a game changer if they do manage to get in touch with them. They have done all the hard work, built their website, got great head-shots and copy but the one missing element is the influencer they'd love to speak to. If just one person is in their corner saying, "Yes, go for it!" this can make all the difference.

However, if you have sought permission and done the 'out of comfort zone activity' and it fails to reap the dividends you were after, after permission comes persistence.

Don't give up after the first attempt, try and try again. That is the best thing about being an entrepreneur, if one tack doesn't work, go in at a different angle - your boss isn't there over your shoulder quizzing how you are getting on, you are your own boss.

I do recommend however that you have a pre-planned activity set up for if and when those knock-back moments happen.

When I got a horrid knock back from a fashion stylist/journalist years ago, the only thing I could think to do was to go upstairs and fold the clean laundry. Now that is extremely out of character (much to my husband's chargrin!) but it was something that got me out of the office and active. Nowadays taking my dog out to the park opposite the house is an excellent stress buster, or even lying down on the floor with him so he can metaphorically lick my wounds works really well!

So I have three questions for you:

1. What can you or will you do if you get a rejection?

2. When was the last time you sought permission?

3. Who do you seek permission from?

Amanda FitzGerald

PR Strategist and Business Mentor, Amanda FitzGerald PR

My passion is helping business owners to have the self-confidence to do irresistible pitches to the media, networking groups or prospects. Being able to articulate what you do in just 8 words can be such a useful skill as you will catch the attention immediately of your audience. I am an NLP Practitioner, keen outdoor (pool) needing to find lakes to swim in during CV days, dog walker and yoga lover!


Go to the profile of Caroline Diana Bobart
about 5 years ago
Wow, I love what you've captured here. So much of the self doubt we entrepreneurs experience comes from living and working inside 'the bubble'. It is great being the boss, but as all entrepreneurs know, there is a fine line between delusion and being a real star. So more often than not, we err on the side of caution instead of going directly after what we really want. Good on you for calling this very real pattern of limited thinking out!
Go to the profile of Suzy Walker
about 5 years ago
Love this - mmmm, what would I do next if I stopped asking for permission? Right, I'm off!