Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I Give You Permission

When I first realized I wanted to leave news, I remember thinking, "How can I possibly leave a career I spent years building? I sacrificed so much to get here!"

That's exactly what I told my best friend. She was quiet for a few seconds and then she said, "Do you need permission to leave?"

She was absolutely right. I needed someone to tell me it was okay to leave and start down a completely new path. I told her, yes, please, I need permission. And she gave me the greenlight to start fresh.

I've thought about that conversation often, especially over the last year. My life looks completely different than it did a year ago and I'm so glad that it does.

Permission is a funny thing.

It means that we are unsure about pursuing what we really want. We worry that maybe our dreams are a little too big, a little unreasonable, and highly likely to fail. We think perhaps it's best to stick with what's safe, what's secure and what we already know. But our hearts yearn for more. We fantasize about what it would be like to actually climb Everest/start our business/call that guy we've liked for so long and tell him how we really feel. And then we talk ourselves out of it.

How much have you talked yourself out of lately?

I used to do this all the time. My family and friends will tell you I would call them excitedly with this idea or that…that would inevitably fade away, me having done nothing about it because I was too worried about what other people would think or say or because I convinced myself I might fail.

That's when a few of us started what we call automatic permission. Ideally, you wouldn't need permission to do anything you want to do. And that's what I'm working up to these days. If there's something I want to do, I do it. No questions asked. No permission necessary. However, for the really big stuff, I have friends that I call and say, "Listen, I'm thinking of doing x." And they reply, "Awesome, go for it." Permission granted.

I've realized that it's a crime against yourself when you don't pursue what really moves you, shakes you, wakes you up in the middle of the night. When we talk about our heart's desire, what we really mean is what we are here to do. Our purpose. And it's not corner offices or cubicles or 401K's. Those are important, I get it. But one life…ONE LIFE PEOPLE.

Arriving in Antarctica!
My little sister is one of the ones who gets that. She's currently in Antarctica. On paper, her job
sounds…well…not exciting at all. She's a steward at a research facility. She prepares meals. However, in the short time she's been there, she's trekked all over the continent, had face time with penguins in the wild, worked the ice ramps where planes land and taken insanely gorgeous pictures of a landscape that may not last another 30 years. She is exploring and learning and living in the truest sense of the term. At 25, she's already visited all 7 continents and taken part in fascinating adventures, painting her face in Burma, visiting an orangutan refuge in Borneo, working in a bar in Northeastern Australia.

She never asked for permission to do any of this. She simply listened to her heart and went for it.

She inspires me. In turn, I try to listen to my heart as often as possible. And then I do what I feel moved to do. Because I know it may inspire others to begin doing the same.

So if there's anything you secretly long to do, don't wait.




  1. I can't believe I stumbled on your post, Diana. I'm a meteorologist/reporter in Portland and this is exactly what I needed to read right now. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Sally

    1. Sally, I'm so so pleased to hear that my post helped you! Thank you so much for reading and please don't be a stranger! I know how it is in that industry so if you need any support, I'm here! XO