November 20, 2014

How To Write Your Own Permission Slip

Remember as far back as your high school days, if you can. Slipping out into the empty corridors with a hall pass always felt odd, unusually quiet, if I remember it right. There were no slamming locker doors or bouts of laughter occupying the space. Just silence where there was usually so much chatter.

When we write ourselves a permission slip to do something different, we can feel as if we’re entering a zone where all we hear is crickets. Maybe it’s the silence of our hesitation or fear that’s deafening, or the fact that we are going where others haven’t gone before. It can feel a little isolating if we’re honest with ourselves. “It’s lonely at the top,” as the old saying goes, and as leaders, we are prone to feeling isolated and short on advisors before we step out in front of our companies or teams. 

That’s where the beauty of a coaching relationship arises. It calls for a kind of accountability with others that most of us do not experience, or believe is possible. That’s why our Executive Coaches at Coachwell are passionate to support each leader’s unique needs to ensure they scale to their fullest potential. 

After covering specific areas where we need to give ourselves permission, it is time to begin writing ourselves permission slips for action. Writing yourself a permission slip can sound like a funny, or illegitimate idea. Isn’t permission only granted by people with big titles who sit behind important desks? Arguably, the most important permission slip that we will ever get in life is the one we write ourselves. 

The whole permission-granting process helps give us an actionable set of goals and timelines.  It means giving ourselves permission to start and to fail if necessary. That reality can be hard to face, but it’s absolutely necessary if we are going to take risks. The permission slip prescribes specific goals and begins putting our principles into practice. After all, can we ask others to follow the leader if we don’t have a vision for where we are headed? I want to encourage you to extend yourself some trust and go beyond your comfort zone–to something new and exciting!

Four steps to writing your own permission slip:

1. Identify your Mount Everest. What is your impossible goal? Define it, outline how you will achieve your goal and stand on the summit of success. Guide your mindset and approach to be permission-giving, so you can see the opportunities and avoid the fear.

2. Get going! Activity breeds movement. Goals become more attainable as we move towards them. Do the action steps you see now and new ones will appear in pursuit of want you want to achieve.

3. Measure your success. Every bit of progress is noteworthy. Track it and pace yourself. Don’t look at what’s not working – see the forward movement. Stay focused on your goal, your approach and adjust as needed.

4. Celebrate! Yes, even your smallest victories are worth recognizing. Keeping a permission giving perspective will give you the momentum you need to blaze new trails!

We would love to hear from you. Let us know of the permission slips you are writing so we can celebrate with you. Please send your permissions slip goals to 

To your excellence in writing a compelling permission slip,

Coach Greg