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After many years of contemplation, I finally jumped into private practice, 5 years ago. I left behind “corporate” – exhausted by styles, questionable tactics, work place issues, demands, hours and all those other things many before me have grown tired of. Along the road of developing and being in small business, there have been some phenomenal lessons, including calmly accepting my partners’ emotional and physical support and grasping the daily lessons we get – when we have both open eyes and minds! Every day, people share their stories, lives and insights and provide me with a never ending stream of emotional gifts and learning. I am ever so grateful to all of you who have made my life a reality. I have a deep passion for people, growth and fairness. I am not so tolerant of complacency or the status quo. I am deeply committed to wellness, teaching, learning and writing ….and now I move into the BLOG realm. You know what? I am really excited! Hang on to your hats!

DOES PERMISSION HOLD ANY POWER?

This may be a different twist on the subject of permission, as this is about the power of asking permission. I had a recent experience with someone who violated a confidence. I had asked a long term “friend” permission to confide in her about a matter deeply concerning me. She agreed and probably like most reasonable people, I assumed that her agreement “to confide”, also meant she was constrained by the terms of “confide” which by nature means “in secret” / “between you and me only”. But she decided, misguidedly, she would speak to the other involved and do her own “assessment” of the matter. To add further insult, she wrote both myself and the other, a rather chastising (critical parent) letter, to tell us how she saw things, what we needed to do immediately, and that she would mediate to ensure we both got back on track. Wow! Serious interference!

As a JAG trained mediator, I found this seriously affronting. Both of us who received “the letter” have stepped back from her , having similar but different reasons for feeling offended if not appalled. I am sure she did not think it through very well and I am sure her intentions, she believed, were positive. Whilst at first, I was deeply hurt that an educated friend/person would behave with such presumptuousness and so thoughtlessly towards myself and another. Then I felt annoyed. Now, I feel gratitude. The experience, has actually reminded me and concretized again, one of the most important things, we as professionals, friends and people need to consider. That is the art of asking permission. We are so certain about our rights – sometimes we actually violate others. It is not our right to TELL others what to do, or to do against another without permission. We are half of any interaction. Asking permission takes courage, because sometimes you have to accept NO. More importantly, it always shows respect, which is one of the mainstays of any healthy relationships. Every day, I ask if I can offer advice, a suggestion, or an alternative. I would never suppose an intervention without permission. Permission seeking, is probably one of the greatest forms of rapport we can start with.

I think with the advent of the Internet, many people feel certain of their expertise on (perhaps) far too many areas. The truth is, I am not an expert on your life, nor you on anyone else’s. We can offer …. but uninvited intervention is offensive. So is advice. One only has to listen to people, in the grocery store, at parties, speak to their elders, friends or over coffee telling them what, how and why!  O-Dear! What would happen if we all just listened more, asked first and talked less? We may be onto something here……… It’s been a game changer for me, maybe worth a go….