simple conversations


Permission to Be

What do you want to be?

A writer, designer, photographer, singer, musician? Or perhaps you want to be an astronaut, doctor or engineer.

Can you be what you want to be? Most of us grew up in a system where you had to be qualified to be any of the above. That we needed permission from a higher authority to be what we wanted to be.

Understandably, if you want to go gallivanting off into space, mess about with someone’s organs, or operate heavy machinery, you would first need to arm yourself with the relevant skills so you don’t end up maiming yourself or someone else in the process.

But let’s talk about professions that don’t affect public health and safety. Do we need permission to enrich our world and society with our creative talents?

Do we need permission to be creative?

Street artists are, in my opinion, the pioneers of self-selection. They just go out there and do their stuff, whether it’s drawing caricatures, painting, singing, playing bagpipes in kilts, performing mimes or twirling fire batons. They don’t bother with asking permission.

They pick themselves.

I struggled for a long time with the idea of being a copywriter. Despite the fact that my clients were often full of compliments for the work I did, there was always a voice at the back of my head, telling me that I wasn’t qualified to call myself a copywriter. Because I’d never had formal training or completed a degree in Copywriting (if there is one for it), and hadn’t had my work featured in a professional publication. I felt like a fraud.

Looking back, I realise now that it was my lizard brain resisting my choice of picking myself.

I feel much more settled and confident in my self-selected profession these days. It’s not so much about getting permission to be. If you don’t have the goods to back up your offer, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been awarded a PhD, or certified by all the professional institutions in the world.

The only thing that matters is what you have to offer.

Your clients will decide if it’s worth their trust and money. But if you don’t show the world what you can do, you’re depriving them of your art.

“No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself.” – Seth Godin, The Icarus Deception

So if you’re doubting your own creative skills, stop doubting, and start doing. Take a page out of those street artists’ books. If they can be, so can you.


LindySiuPermission to Be
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