In many of the spaces we move in before we work for ourselves there are a lot of rules around what we can do and when.

‘All promotions are based on seniority.’

‘You can’t do this job until you have that qualification.’

‘You can’t study this unless you did that first.’

And in some cases these rules make sense. I know when I go into hospital I definitely want to be sure that the surgeon did indeed learn exactly how to do the surgery needed!

Other times though these rules actually don’t make sense at all. If you are an amazing teacher does it make sense that you can’t go for certain jobs because others have been there longer than you?

Probably not. But the system doesn’t allow for this.

The reason these rules are usually created is not because someone was trying to make it hard, it’s to ensure that the person who gets the job can actually do the job in question. It’s just that this doesn’t always work.

The bigger problem here is that we lose the ability to decide for ourselves what we can and can’t do because we get used to handing over the decisions that affect our lives to someone else.

Our brains get confused

Living inside these systems makes us forget that in some areas we get to make the rules ourselves.

And more important, in business, no one is going to choose us or allow us to do anything.

We actually have to make that decision ourselves. Instead of every previous situation where we had to wait for permission from the powers that be to step up to the next level.

And getting used to that and giving ourselves permission can be hard.

Lots of businesses never get started because the owner never gives themselves permission

I get to experience this possibility all the time.

When I speak to new and potential business owners in my complimentary strategy calls (Interested? Book one here) I often hear “One day I’d really like to…” or “I’m training to….” or more telling “My friends have been telling me for years I need to… but I need to get ….. first”.

Here’s what I tell people – yes, you want to know what you are doing. Are you ever going to feel ready? No.

Are you ever going to have enough pieces of paper to allow you to follow your dreams? Not unless you, YOURSELF, give yourself permission, no.

Here’s how I started this business

To illustrate this I’d like to share a little about how I started this business.

The very first form of this business was me helping newbie business owners find their business idea or niche. I saw a lot of people really struggle in this area and given my experience from  my previous business and all the hours I had spent with my head in books reading about business models and validating business ideas I was pretty sure I could really help people.

Did I have any formal qualifications allowing me to help people with business ideas? No. I looked at doing an MBA in entrepreneurship but it would have taken years and only a very very small proportion was relevant to what I wanted to do. I have a degree in Economics. It sounds good but is essentially irrelevant here.

So I decided to test the idea and see if I could help people by taking on some free clients.

In short, they were super happy, it worked and here we are today. Thank goodness! Because I was done with IT!

The really important point here is – there literally was no piece of paper I could get that would give me permission. I had to do that myself.

Now, of course this isn’t always the case. Sometimes there is a clear path to getting certified, or getting permission for what you want to do. And if so, I would definitely encourage you to learn more about your craft.


If the only thing stopping you is your own lack of permission.

So how do you decide?

Of course there is nuance to this and it depends on what you want to do.

In general I find women especially err on the side of caution and have the potential to keep doing ‘busy work’ i.e. more learning, rather than being confronted with the reality that they can actually start now and it’s totally okay to start.

No one will get mad or tell you you’re jumping the queue or not allowed or something. If you do get a negative reaction it’s more likely to be sour grapes because you are working to improve your life.

My advice is to PICK YOURSELF – give yourself permission. You are the only one who can.

Really. Please do this. Preferably now.


Has this helped or inspired you? I hope it has! If so I’d love to hear more in the comments below…

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