Episode #88: 5 Things I Want Us to Stop Asking for Permission for in Our Businesses

Today I'm talking about something that most sensitive business owners struggle with: seeking permission & approval vs. just doing the thing we want to do in the way we want to do it.

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Ruth Poundwhite 0:06
You're listening to creatively human with honest conversations about what matters to us and how it really feels to build an online business, put our work out into the world, make an impact in our own unique way, and importantly, to get well paid for it. I'm your host, Ruth Poundwhite, business mentor to quietly ambitious humans. Hi, and welcome back to another solo episode of The creatively human podcast. Now, what you're about to listen to is something I originally recorded as a live video in my facebook group. So if I reference it as a video, that is why, however, the content is something that is close to my heart, very important, I think, for all of us who are building a business based on how we feel especially sensitive humans, so I wanted to make sure as many people heard it as possible. That topic is all about seeking permission and the things I want us to stop seeking permission for as business owners. But what I don't want is for you to beat yourself up about any of these things, because we all do it. And I'm pretty sure I say that in the original video anyway. I also wanted to say before we jump into the content of today's episode, one of the best tools I have used on my journey to not seeking permission not seeking approval and deciding on things based on what I really want. One of the best tools I've used on that journey is journaling. And I would love it, if you would go to my website, Ruth poundwhite.com forward slash journal freebie, because there you can sign up to get some free journaling prompts to get you exploring some of this stuff about how you feel. And you'll be sent a series of emails all about journaling, or my journaling resources, all the ways I feel about journaling. And you can really dive into everything that way and see what comes up for you. But yeah, I do end this episode with a kind of a journaling prompt to help you dig into this stuff and to help you figure out where you're kind of seeking permission and approval from others. But yet, go to Ruth poundwhite.com forward slash journal freebie, if you want more of that. Anyway, I hope you enjoy today's episode. And please do come share with me on Instagram at Ruth Poundwhite. If you have any thoughts. I would love to chat with you more about this.

I have come on too quickly. And I say that as a kind of warning, because I'm going to quickly talk about five things that I want us to stop asking for permission for in our businesses. Obviously, this is a huge topic. And the subject of seeking approval seeking permission from others is not something that you can fix in one short live video. But I just wanted to bring it up. Because since I have launched my quiet ambition programme, and actually this happens when I launch anything or when I have people approached me to work with me one to one, I feel I get the strong feeling that what people are really asking of me when they're asking me questions about it is they just want permission to like invest in themselves, whether that's time or money, or whatever. So I just wanted to come on here and do a quick live about asking permission and, and the kind of things that I see happening, and how I hope that we can work towards doing things differently and not needing that approval from others and just listening to ourselves and taking action based on that. Now I just wanted to firstly say that there is a difference between seeking permission and being supported. I am massively supported in my life. And in my business. The key thing is that I am supported by people who encouraged me to find my own way. They may advise me, they may give me specific advice, but they always know that I know myself, my life and my business best. And I think that is the key. And people who will like call me out when I'm when I'm doing something based on what I think I should be doing or what other people are doing based on what I really want to do. So I do think there is a difference there. I also want to say that if you're doing any of those things, any of these things I'm about to talk about. That is okay. I'm pretty sure all of us are. So I just wanted to say this is like this is not me shaming anybody for doing any of this stuff. This is me, hopefully just shining some light on it, you know, because we've all grown up with certain rules about who we should be how we should act, especially as women and anyone from a martial arts background, so many rules. And honestly, I think that seeking approval or permission from other people is just a way of protecting ourselves from, you know, being rejected by others or making mistakes or failing or being disappointed. So I just want to say that I do think it's true be totally normal. I think that all of us do this stuff to some extent. But yeah, I just wanted to shine a light on it. And before I dig into the five things, I wanted to quickly read out this quote that I just found when I was googling by Steve Jobs. So he says, everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it. And once you learn that, you'll never be the same again. And I just love that quote, because it just, like, I'm always going on about how there were no, there are no rules in you know, running a business. But I mean, it's the same with life in general, right? We grow up with these kind of rules, we see people doing things a certain way, but that quote, just remind you that the way everything is done, is just made up by somebody else, you know. And actually, the most innovative businesses are the ones that break the rules, the ones that see things differently, and the ones that question the rules, and follow what may be considered at the time to be a crazy idea, like Steve Jobs himself is someone who people look up to as a business person. And he did things differently, he was not following the rules, he's now created a new set of rules for people to follow. And honestly, you know, there's a lot of ideas about what it means to be in business, what it means to be a business person, what it means to like sell stuff, I was just the other day watching a video of Richard Branson talking about how he basically bullshitted his way into getting people to advertise with him when he had a magazine or something. And I was just like,

let's just say it didn't make me think very nicely of Richard Branson. And I just think, you know, these are the kinds of messages that we have grown up with, and we see all the time. But there is another way to do stuff. So yeah, basically, I think that that's where all this permission, permission seeking stuff and approval stuff comes from, it's very hard to like deviate from the norm, it feels unsafe. But obviously, we are in a really good position with our online businesses in the way that we can choose to do things differently, we can influence the culture of business. And we can do things based on how we feel that really, really suit who we are as a person, and that don't necessarily play by the old rules. Okay, so with that in mind, I'm just gonna go through the five things fairly quickly, because like I said, this is a pretty big topic. And I could talk for ages about each of these five things. So I'm just gonna go through them fairly quickly. But I'll always come back on and talk about it again, if you want me to. Okay. So the first one is a big one. And I see a lot of us, me included, seeking permission, permission and approval for what we want to charge and what we want to earn. Now, the truth is, the truth is that a lot of us charge based on what other people charge, and that is just a fact. And the interesting thing is about that. I can't remember who said this, I think it might be Denise Duffield Thomas that I first heard highlighting this, but the truth is that you charging based on what other people charge is just like basing what you charge on other people's like money, stories, money issues, money blocks, and I just thought, oh my god, that is so true. Now, obviously, things differ depending on your market in certain markets, there are a range of what people charge and that kind of thing. Like I'm not discounting that. However, we have to go further than just charging based on what other people are going to charge. So how many times have you like thought about your pricing? And and just had a feeling that you wanted to charge more but being like, Oh, no, I can't do that. But then you've seen someone else do it. And you thought, well, maybe I can, you know, it gives you permission to charge more. The other thing that often comes up is like when you've been working with someone like say, a coach or a mentor, and you want to raise your prices, but it would bring them in line with their prices or even above their prices. That can be a huge, huge thing and a sign that you're kind of seeking outside permission and approval to charge or you actually want to charge. I personally pretty much doubled my own prices in October 2019. And the thing that led to me doing that was firstly a feeling and a knowing that I was not charging enough. So basically, if you're not charging enough, I think that the kind of signs that you're not charging enough can be things like resenting the workload or signing client and thinking, yay, for one second, and then oh my god, where's the next client coming from? That is definitely a sign you're not charging enough. And just Yeah, when you have this feeling, and this idea that you want to charge more, but you keep knocking it back with logic, right? So in 2019, I basically doubled my prices. And just before I did, I had this realisation that nobody is going to just magically appear and tell me it's time to raise your prices. And I know that sounds obvious Yes. But you just think, Oh, well, when such and such raise their prices, they must have had a reason, they must have had a certain set of circumstances that meant they were like, Yes, I know, now is exactly the time to raise my prices. The truth is, I think that that can happen. Sometimes I think it can be very obvious. Sometimes when people are really fully booked and have like massive waiting lists, they obviously can raise their prices, right. But I think for a lot of us, you know, nobody is going to be able to tell us when it's right to raise our prices, we need to give ourselves that permission. So I did. And I told myself that this was going to be a story that I was going to share with my clients that it worked. And it has, so just trust me at the time, it was scary to give myself that permission. But now it has paid off. And similar things have happened with my clients, like I've spoken to clients, and I can just hear it in their voice, that they are holding back on what they want to charge for a variety of reasons, usually to do with external opinions and approval. And yeah, when they raise their club, their prices, and it just feels right, that is just amazing. So yeah, first thing I want us to stop seeking permission for is what we want to charge. Second thing I want us to stop seeking permission for is working the way we want to work. And basically, in a nutshell, wanting what we want. Now I know this sounds obvious, but I think I think so many of us,

were not only just don't tell anyone what we want, because there's something like we're almost embarrassed that we could even want that, like it seems too much, or not possible. But we don't even tell ourselves, you know, I know that one thing I have done in the past is I've just avoided setting any goals whatsoever. And I know that this can come from a variety of reasons, like it could be a fear of disappointment, but I also think for me it is it has been in the past, an inability to give me permission, myself permission to just want what I want. And the great thing about working with different coaches and mentors has been that I can talk this stuff out without judgement. And as soon as you say it out loud to another person, and they're just like, great. It just takes away all of that. All of that. Yeah, permission seeking. Now, ironically, obviously, that is a form of getting permission from someone else. But like what I said at the beginning of this live, the importance of having mentors around you and peers who give you space to figure things out yourself, rather than prescribing what you should want. That is the key. I also think that another sign that we're seeking permission for this stuff is that we only think it's okay to want it when we see someone else wanting it, you know. So when we see someone else who's like us who might be like a sensitive business owner, who might be an introverted business owner, or who might be like a mother, whatever, like categories and labels we have on ourselves. When we see someone like us doing that thing, it can automatically give us permission to do it ourselves. Now, obviously, again, that is a form of outside permission. And I wish for us all that we wouldn't need that, right. But it does highlight why it is so important for us to put ourselves out there as as we are to give that example to other people. And I was thinking about this. And the way it's really showing up for me recently is the fact that since the whole lockdown and not having childcare and everything, now I am the like breadwinner in our family. So I I am working most of the time still, but my husband, he has his own business. And obviously that has gone way down because he can't actually go out and do his business because he does like workshops with people and stuff. Although he is he is looking to do online. But anyway, I have been working over 10 hours less every week and I have been thinking about this before the lockdown. I've been thinking is there a way for me to work less? Is there a way for me to spend more time with family, but I've just want to let myself entertain it. And then I was just suddenly granted permission to entertain it by the fact that I had to you know, because it's locked down and we'd lost our childcare. And I just find it so interesting because now having done it having started to try it I'm just like well this is what I want and I just never claimed that before. And it's just so so interesting. And often feelings come up when it comes to like having a clearer schedule working fewer hours loads of feelings come up about that especially when the kind of work culture is so ingrained like how many hours we should be working, when we should start work everyday when we should end work how many days off we should have so so ingrained and yeah, I mean some of the other things I was thinking of was like for example helping my husband quit his job and the only reason I gave myself permission to one that is because I saw other people doing it but you know I wish for us all that if we just want something like that we can just admit it and we can go for it. Yeah, okay, so the third thing that I wish for us to stop asking permission for is being ourselves and saying we want to say and I know this is a massive one. This is all about all of these things are working progress right base Specially this because you can't just like snap your fingers and decide I'm going to be myself now, it's actually not that simple it because you can think that you're showing up as yourself. And it just takes work and work and work to like, uncover the layers and realise that you're not. But I think some of the signs that you're looking for permission to actually say what you want to say or to, like show up as yourself in your content are that you are focused on practical questions like, what time of day should I post? How often should I post? How long should my posts be? How often should I send my email newsletter? You know, things like that, I feel like they are all signs that you are looking for a magic answer, you're looking for permission. But really, what you want to do is speak to your people and say what you want to say. Now I've I see this a lot in my clients. And this is something that I work through with them. But yeah, more often than not quite like questions like that can obviously be useful and have their place. But more often than not, I think that what they are really looking for is just permission to show up and talk to their people. And I know that sounds simple, but it really, really, it's not easy.

You know, also like fear of annoying people like having an idea for something you want to say and then holding back or like getting really obsessed with the algorithm on social media focusing on the likes you get, and not posting when you want to post things like that. I feel like oh, and the big one. I'm just like, looking down on my notes here. The big one is when you just have this feeling that your inner self is not matching what you're putting out there. And I can't explain what the feeling is, but it's just not nice. It's not feeling in integrity. It doesn't mean that you are lying to anyone, it doesn't mean that you're being false. It's just like it's a it's a fear based thing. It's a protecting a protection thing, right? You're not like one of those scammy business owners who's lying, but you're just feel something inside is not matching what you're putting out there. So yeah, being ourselves and we want to say that is a big one. Okay, number four, is the permission to be supported. So I ran my business for Let me think it was probably around 10 years. Which is just insane. To me. When I say out loud, I ran it for around 10 years before I had like proper support. So it throughout those 10 years, I had like one off calls with a few people like coaches and stuff. I did hire I hired people to do the practical stuff. So I was supported in that way, although that is its own thing as well. But yeah, it was 10 years until I had like regular coaching, regular mastermind groups, regular community of people who got it. And I just feel like I was looking for permission in so many ways. Like Firstly, in terms of the money, it costs to sign up for that some of that stuff like I didn't feel I could easily spend money when it was something really practical, like hiring someone to write content and copy. But I couldn't spend the money when it was like hiring someone to help me as a business owner, because I was like seeking approval and permission for someone else to tell me you are a real business owner. And you do deserve this. You know, it's even made me think of when I go and have these business meetings with myself like obviously not right now we're in lockdown. But I will often take myself out to London or whatever. And I'll like take myself out for brunch, and then do some work on the big picture of my business planning some staff thinking about what I want for my business, and then I'll have like a nice dinner. That is me just like treating myself, like a real business owner, you know, people who work for actual normal, that is not a good way to describe it. You know, I mean, regular jobs. You know, the people at the top of those jobs in the management and stuff, they go out for dinner, they do that stuff, they treat themselves properly, they get help in all ways. And us as like individual entrepreneurs, we don't often feel like we have permission to do that. So that was Yeah, that was number four. Okay, last one, I feel like this video is getting so long, I plan to come on for shorter time. But there we go. The last one is creating time for ourselves and the big picture. So I actually just covered that when I talked about having those business meetings with myself. It is really, really hard to give ourselves permission to do that, especially when, and I think a lot of these things, I think, because if we're under charging, then we have to be stuck in the day to day doing doing doing in order to get what we need to get out of our businesses. So it's really linked to the whole charging thing as well. It can also be like signs that we're looking for permission from other people can be like not upholding boundaries, you know, because we don't want to offend or annoy anyone, whether it's a customer, a potential customer or anyone in our world. Yeah, and just like not asking for what we want in terms of the support we need to make that time happen. So again, this is linked to like the support thing that I was talking about. not asking our partners for the time we really need on our businesses, like especially women have like a huge, huge mental load. And I feel like that mental load, I feel like you have a mental load as a woman generally. But also, as a business owner, I think being a business owner comes with a mental load. And I think that we need to talk about it more. And I feel like this is why I'm so passionate about not needing anyone elses permission to do right by you, when it comes to what you charge. When it comes to how often you work when it comes to the support you have. When it comes to creating time and space in your schedule to do this big picture thinking, or even just to like, nourish yourself and take care of yourself, I am getting more and more. What's the word like fired up about that it's like, I feel like we need to be selfish, I feel like we need to be more selfish than we are. Because we all have a huge mental load as business owners like our work is never done. our to do list never ends. There's always more we could be doing. We're always making all the decisions. Therefore, we need to charge enough to make it all worth it. We need to create enough space to keep ourselves healthy and happy. And yeah,

we need to grant ourselves permission to want what we want, need what we need, and give ourselves those things. And now I'm not saying it's easy. I'm not saying that me rambling off these five things is going to suddenly make it like, Oh, I can do that then. But just being aware of it is the first step. And it is a process. It is an it is a process of uncovering layer after layer after layer. So I feel like I've come really far in this work. And yet, as soon as the pandemic happened in the lockdown, and I didn't have the childcare, and I was working less. It was only then that I realised I hadn't been giving myself permission to work less all this time. So yeah, before we go, I just want to say, whatever has come up for you, as I've been talking about giving yourself permission, listen to that little nudge inside and dig into that. Like Where are you holding back from giving yourself permission. It can sometimes be so obvious in some ways, but we hide it with layers of logic and expectations and whatever. So yeah, listen to whatever has been coming up for you through this video. And I would really love it if you could give yourself a permission slip for whatever it is that you need right now. You can even Google permission slip, like, like Bernie Brown has love and like you can print them off and write yourself a permission slip, I would definitely recommend you do that. So yeah, give yourself permission to do things the way you want to do things and to want what you want. I really hope you enjoyed today's episode, like I said at the beginning, journaling is one of the best tools for business owners to figure out what they really want and to stop asking permission from others or to even see those kind of sneaky hidden ways in which you're asking permission and don't even realise it. So go to my website, Ruth poundwhite.com forward slash journal freebie, all one word to get all my free resources on journaling. And hopefully they'll be really helpful for you. That is Jen Ruth poundwhite.com forward slash journal freebie, and the links also in the show notes. Thank you so much for listening to another episode of creatively human. If you have a moment, I'd be so grateful if you could rate and review the podcast, it really does make a difference. And if you'd like to carry on the conversation or ask a question for a future q&a episode, there are three ways to connect with me on the Facebook group on Instagram at Ruth Poundwhite or my personal favourite, my behind the scenes newsletter. Just go to Ruth poundwhite.com forward slash newsletter to subscribe and keep doing what you're doing because your work really does matter.

Note: at this time transcripts are automated and unedited, which means errors may occur. But we hope you find them helpful!

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Show Notes

Today I'm talking about something that most sensitive business owners struggle with: seeking permission & approval vs. just doing the thing we want to do in the way we want to do it. I share 5 ways I often see this show up for people, why it can feel scary to go our own way without external permission, being supported to make the right decisions, and what we can do to feel more confident about it all. For some journalling tools to help you feel confident in your own way, head to https://ruthpoundwhite.com/journalfreebie

“We need to give ourselves permission to want what we want, need what we need, and give ourselves those things” 

Some of the things we talked about:

  • Why not seeking permission & choosing based on how we feel is a GOOD thing, but also scary
  • The difference between being supported in our decisions as business owners and seeking approval or permission from others
  • Charging what we want to charge
  • Wanting what we really want & engrained work culture
  • Being ourselves & speaking our truth
  • Being supported in life & business
  • Looking at the big picture of your business

Links from this episode:

Other episodes you might like:

“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again – Steve Jobs

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Thanks so much for listening!

When you subscribe to updates you get access to 3 bonus episodes of the podcast – exclusively for email subscribers – that dive behind the scenes of my business (I talk about failures, money, community & more!)