Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Wisest Question: “Do I have permission to do this?”

Often times I come unstuck on this very point and I wonder if you relate. In my passion and enthusiasm to do the things I feel I can (either at work or at home) I often just do them; most of the time I get a good result with kudos all round. Occasionally, however, I get it wrong and either don’t involve the right people or don’t do things in the right way; it’s often because I have overstepped the mark of my influence. Basically I haven’t obtained permission.

Permission is a form of respect for the order of things. It’s a reverent understanding of all things in balance and the interrelationship of things and people. It also understands the limitations of choice...

We have choice in life; often the level of choice we have outstrips the actual boundaries of our influence, and therefore we enter a moral testing ground when we usurp the power of others or encroach others’ boundaries we hadn’t perceived before (or perhaps we didn’t care--which is a more blatant form of acting without permission).

On occasion I’ve done this, more often than not, flippantly. But, the point is I’ve generally paid the consequences. When we make mistakes we must be prepared to pay.

Gaining permission for things takes moral control; it takes patience and an absence of greed and selfishness. It’s utterly respectful, yet wisdom comes in when we know when not to submit and make the assertive decisions based on our consideration of both our realm of influence and our authority. Wisdom meets both qualifiers; in wisdom we’re respectful and discerning, proceeding only when we should.

Let’s face it, it’s embarrassing to make a faux pas by making decisions in areas we clearly don’t have authority over. We must seek permission or we lose credibility and that’s not easy to get back.

We should ask ourselves this critical question regularly: “Do I have (or need) permission to do this?”

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.

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