How many times have you wanted to do something but not done it, because you didn’t want people to see you or because you were sure people would talk about you?
And then you see someone doing the exact same thing you wanted to do, but did not have the courage to do.
In situations like this, you can’t help but wonder why we are so concerned about other people opinions when those same people don’t let our opinions hold them back.
Don’t wait for other people to give you permission to do the things you want to do.
Take the Lead. Don’t wait for Permission
A few years ago, I was walking down a road in my neighbourhood in the hot sun feeling hot, very thirsty and hungry. In the distance, I could see the local coconut seller by the side of the busy road and I thought to myself “I really could do with a coconut”.
A few months earlier I had bought a coconut from this particular seller. We pulled up in the car; I jumped out, got my coconut, sat back in the car and ate it.
His coconuts are not very refreshing; the water is hot as he has absolutely no shading; no tree, no umbrella. He sits in the sun with his coconuts all day. However that day I was hot and thirsty and wanted a coconut; refreshing or not. It would quench my thirst and abate my hunger.
The only problem was I did not want to be seen by the side of that busy road, head tilted back drinking from the coconut. These coconuts did not come with a nice colourful straw.
I would be too conspicuous. More than likely the juice would trickle down from the side of my mouth – not cool.
I would have to wipe my mouth and chin with the back of my hand — also not cool. For some reason, that day, I did not have a handkerchief with me. Walking around in the tropical sun without a handkerchief is not recommended.
When you are on holiday you don’t mind that sort of thing, but when you live in the place appearances need to be maintained. I am a professional woman; I don’t dribble by the side of the road.
I have happily eating coconuts from the roadside sellers, but not on such a busy open stretch of road. Also, I was always with the car, so I was able to hop back in the car after I had my coconut and drive off.
Today I was on foot, sweating in the hot sun. I would be too visible, so I walked on.
Fifteen minutes later on my return, still on foot, I saw a very respectable looking gentleman by the side of the road having a coconut. And I thought to myself “if he can do it, so can I”. But then I caught myself and thought “WHAT THE ……….”
I was so angry with myself. I had really wanted a coconut, but I had not been brave enough, confident enough, or whatever enough, to stand sweating on that busy road and have one.
I didn’t want people I didn’t know to see me, as they might form an unfavourable opinion of me.
It was only when I saw someone who I deemed to be as respectable as myself doing what I wanted to do, that thought “it’s okay to do this, it’s no big deal.”
“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others”
Basically, he had “given me permission” to stand by the roadside and have a coconut.
I was so furious with myself; that I had needed his permission to do something so simple. Permission from a stranger! Not even someone I knew and respected. I had never seen him before.
By the time I reached the seller, the gentleman was gone, so I stood there by the side of that busy road and ate my coconut. I even contemplated having a second one, just so I could stand by the roadside even longer, for even more people whizzing past in their cars to see me there.
I was soon joined by a young man, respectably dressed, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I had given him permission.
Don’t wait for permission. Do the things you want to do.
Give permission, don’t wait for it.