Entrepreneur Themes and Member Resources

Permission To Be Safe

Have you ever paid attention to how often we ask others for permission? And how we pretend to ask for advice, when in fact we’re asking for permission?

This is how it sounds:

• What do you think about this?
• Is this okay?
• What if I did this?

We’re not really asking what other people think so we can weigh their opinions. In fact, what we’re doing when masking permission as advice is asking for someone else to tell us it’s okay to proceed.


Of course in business it’s important to do our research. To evaluate the options. To run the scenarios. And often that does involve asking others for their opinions.

But doing our due diligence is different from asking for advice. Here’s why asking for advice-or permission-won’t help you succeed.

When you ask for advice, you aren’t likely to get the answers you need. You probably won’t hear the hard truths, and you probably won’t get the push you need to take a leap. Because the thing about humans is that (1) they won’t always tell you the truth, for fear of hurting your feelings; and (2) they will often tell you the safe answer, because no one wants to be responsible for telling you to take a risk.

So the answers you will often get are the least risky ones.

You will get permission to be safe.

But being safe isn’t synonymous with being successful. In order to succeed, in order to build something innovative or great, in order to live a spectacular life, you have to take a risk. And often you’re the only one who can tell yourself that truth. You’re the only one whose advice really matters.

You’re the only one whose permission you should be getting.

So let’s stop asking for advice-especially advice couched as permission-and instead lead with the confidence that we will figure it out.

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