I feel very strongly about this blog post. I have noticed some things over the last several months that continues to shock me and have me scratching my head.
Scenarios from last few months...
I've gone to a few events where I'm describing a life situation that I think is funny because it's some decision or thing I did that clearly shows I know how to laugh at myself.
And it never fails that I get the same weird response, "That's okay."
They normally say more but these few words are uttered the same no matter what situation or story I'm sharing.
It started happening so frequently that I told a friend how frustrating it can be because it comes across as extremely patronizing.
And it's not just these scenarios...on more than a dozen occasions I will reach out to someone to become a new client or purchase one of my company's products or services.
In these scenarios, the person I'm speaking with proceeds to tell me that they are not interested.
That's fine! But here's the crazy part: they then go on to tell me their opinion about what they think of my product or service in a way whereas you'd think I had asked their opinion!
I'm of the same mentality as Brenee Brown: unless you are in the ring (or apart of my existing clientele/business group) getting your butt kicked too, you don't get an opinion, especially from the sidelines!
Last scenario I'll share before I get to what I believe is going on: I was at Starbucks the other day and I complimented a young lady on her boots, telling her I also loved the heel height (see picture).
She then proceeds to tell me it's the highest heel height she wears.
With a befuddled look on my face I inquire why. She replies, "Because people with my height don't wear high heels."
I then inquire how tall is she. She responds that she's 5'7".
I started laughing telling her I'm close to 5'9" and I've worn 4 and 5 inch heels my whole life. She looked shocked.
I then continue: "So you're telling me you're going to let the opinions of people you don't even know dictate what you will or will not wear? Hmm. Do you like heels?"
Of course she responds that she loves heels.
I then thought to ask her how old she was...she replied that she was early 30s.
Ahhhh, there it was...a light bulb sorta went off in my head.
For every scenario that I shared with you above, one of the consistent chords is that the other person was younger than 40 years old.
This is not a post about bashing young people or anything like that.
My point is that in our age where social media Likes give us confidence about our choices and we regularly ask for Recommendations on Facebook about what to do when we go on vacation or go out to eat, I'm concerned that it's causing us to believe that people need our permission to edify their life choices and we need their opinions to make us feel good about ours.
I'm 43 and grew up in a time and household that taught that sure, you may get a few key inputs from mentors, pastors, parents, etc before you make life decisions but at the end of the day, YOU make the choice AND live with the full results of that choice.
There was never a "decision by committee" or group vote or escapism from responsibility when it was time to make your decisions about life.
It's all I know.
And what this way of making decisions does is creates valuable experience, self confidence, courage and an ability to "make the call" in your own life.
What I've realized is that the people in the scenarios above weren't being patronizing. They are just so used to being surrounded by others (social media, strangers and friends) who all give them their opinions (and indirectly, their permission) about how they live their lives and the decisions they make about it.
Please don't weigh a Facebook recommendation for a travel destination or Yelp! recommendations for the new pizza joint with the same brevity as making life and business decisions.
They are not the same!
You don't need permission to pursue that second career. #OwnIt
You don't need permission to go salsa dancing in Peru to relive an old memory that made you feel alive. #OwnIt
You don't need permission to leave that unhealthy relationship that your spirit has told you wasn't good for you. #OwnIt
You don't need permission to call that long lost love that you've never stopped thinking about. #OwnIt
You don't need permission to wear red lipstick everyday as opposed to only special occasions when you absolutely love it. #OwnIt
You don't need permission to put together your proposal to HR demonstrating why you know you deserve equal pay. #OwnIt
You don't need to continue to be apart of a group whose members will never accept you as one of their own. #OwnIt
And lastly, when I say #OwnIt, I mean own the fullness of the good and bad that may come from your decision. Don't pass off the responsibility of what that decision can lead to, good, bad or indifferent.
I really do believe that people who make life and business decisions by huge committees made up of people who have no "skin in the game" towards their success are also trying to muster courage and bravery from the outside (meaning, from the approval and permission from as many people as possible), instead of mustering the courage and bravery from the inside to make a brave and unique choice.
You don't need permission.
Other Blog Posts to Inspire You to #OwnIt: