At NASA, there’s a poster of a bee that says, “Aerodynamically the body of a bee is not meant to fly, the good thing is that the bee doesn't know".
The bee doesn’t care that the laws of physics say it can’t fly, that its little wings shouldn’t be able to keep its giant body in the air. It just goes about its business anyway.
How often do you take the perspective of the bee in your life? Both at home and work? Probably not often enough. We let our own, and others, thoughts, beliefs, fears and insecurities tell us what we can and can’t do.
Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston and author of several books, talks about a concept of writing yourself a permission slip in her book, Braving the Wilderness.
She says that we tend to force ourselves into certain ways of being and doing and don’t allow ourselves to step out of what we are told is “normal”. When people want to do something out of the ordinary, she tells them to write themselves a permission slip. Just like how your parents used to give you permission to go on a school trip or sporting event, the permission slip frees you to do something new and different – something that you know will add to your work and life.
Sometimes we need a permission slip to be vulnerable with others, take a risk, deal with conflict, be creative or admit we don’t know.
Start giving yourself permission today and see what happens. You might just find life can be a little bit sweeter when you don’t stop to think about what you shouldn’t be able to do.
A Team Human Conversation
Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.
Think of a time you wanted to do something but didn’t. What held you back?
If you could give yourself permission to do one thing, what would it be?
How can you make it easier as a team for people to give themselves permission to do things?