April 12, 2022

Episode 34: Permissiveness

Permissiveness is this treacherous feeling that maskerades as confidence. It’s when you feel certain that you’ll reach your goal, but… in the future. No action needed today.

What you will discover

  • The difference between pivoting and giving up
  • 4 reactions to not meeting your goal
  • The difference between permissiveness and confidence
  • How to tackle permissiveness


Mixed and produced by Adrien Grenier

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Episode Transcript

Hi, welcome to the Excellent Rider podcast. I'm Mélanie. I'm a certified life coach and I specialize in helping people like you get things done, find ease and motivation again, and get unstuck when you feel like you've lost your mojo. I'd like to start by thanking Jumpingmomma in the Netherlands who left me a very kind review on Apple Podcast. Jumpingmomma wrote:

"I love all the topics, listening to each episodes is like having a best friend and life coach in one who constantly motivates and inspire you when you feel like everything is not going the way you want it to be." So thank you so much Jumpingmomma, and I'm really glad today to continue to inspire you with this episode. I will definitely be thinking of you as I record.

In the past two episodes, we've been talking about relationships and we are going to continue to explore this very rich topic for a few more episodes. But I wanted to interrupt this streak briefly to talk about a decision I took recently, because I think this will help many of you understand the difference between giving up on your goal and pivoting.

So we're going to go back to the topics of relationships in two episodes. Today's episode, I'm going to talk about this decision, and then next episode, we're going to talk about money. And from two episodes from now, we're going to go back to talking about relationships and specifically setting boundaries.

So let me give you first a little bit of background on this decision I'm talking about. So if you follow me, you know that in the past few months I've been preparing the launch of a new service, which I call the Make Over and which is basically the Netflix of coaching. You pay a monthly subscription at a very, very reasonable cost, if I may say so.

And you have access to the following: two hours of group coaching per week, and you can show up or not, you can join in to listen to other people being coached, or you can be coached yourself. You can join for the full hour, or you can just join for a little while. It's completely up to you.

You also have access to a library of coaching tools on how to tackle all of your problematic situations. From how to get rid of imposter syndrome, to how to stop procrastinating. How to take a decision when you're feeling confused, how to set a goal and what goal to set to yourself, how to get unstuck; and dozens more such questions that you all ask me all the time and that I have clearly described in the library how to tackle.

You also have access to a community where you can share your questions and progress with like-minded people who are going to cheer you on and help you out as you progress on your journey of change and transformation. And you also have access to a topic of the month complete with a workbook, daily worksheets, and regular workshop calls so that you can make over your mindset in a specific area and create the results that you've been dying to create.

The month of May is going to be dedicated to improving your money mindset so that you can make more money, save more money, pay back your debts and learn how to appreciate and enjoy the money without feeling stressed, vigilant, or deprived all the time.

And I was going to launch this Make Over in April. And so in the month of March, I was working very long hours. I started very early in the morning. Typically, I jumped out of bed and two minutes later I was on my computer. I finished late at night.

I started working on weekends too. I didn't go out and exercise anymore. I started turning down invitations to go out with friends. And I was doing nothing more but work and not in a good way. So I noticed how it started to really take a toll on me, on my physical wellbeing, on my stress levels etc.

And so I decided to postpone the launch from April to May. And I want to use the example of this decision to show you the difference between giving up on your goal and pivoting or adapting to the situation. So place yourself in a moment where you were trying to reach a goal, and you are seeing that your strategy was not working for whatever reason.

Maybe the circumstances were not working in your favor. Maybe they were some unseen difficulties that were arising. Maybe you were procrastinating. It really doesn't matter what the reason was. Just that you started seeing that you were most likely not going to reach your goal in the timeframe that you had decided.

And there are typically four main ways to react to that kind of situation. So the first typical way is that you start to stress out and you start to work frenetically and keep your head to the ground and power through; and generally do a lot of things on your to-do list, but probably not think very strategically about what is on your to-do list and what would probably be the best course of action in the limited time that you have.

So under the category of stress, I also include overwhelm, frustration, powerlessness, and exhaustion. Like all of these things they make you keep on working very hard, keep on powering through and not strategically rethink what you're trying to achieve.

The second way that you react to these kinds of situations, typically, is that you can feel discouraged and there you're going to stop taking action, or you're going to pay lip service to taking action, but generally you're going to stop being very efficient in the direction of your goal.

And here too, you're not going to be very strategic about how to reach your goal anyway. You're just going to give up. And in that category, I also include entitlement, self-pity, confusion, impatience. These feelings typically have the same kind of a result than discouragement. In those moments you, you give up and you stop taking action.

The third main way to react to this kind of moment is that you can feel permissive and you can tell yourself that "it's not a big deal", that "it's going to work out anyway", that you "will have plenty of time to catch up tomorrow or next week" and not take any action at all today. And then the fourth way to react is to feel confident;

to take stock of where you are, where you need to go; and to think strategically on the best way to get yourself to the result and then take whatever action you can immediately; and get yourself closer to the goal already immediately, even if it's a very small step. And what I want to talk to you in more detail today is the difference between permissiveness and confidence.

So reaction number three and reaction number four. I think you understand and you recognize very well the first and second action. So stress, where you're going to take a lot of action but probably not in the most effective way; and discouragement, which is going to make you stop taking action. Which is why I want you to focus on reaction number three and four, which is permissiveness versus confidence.

So permissiveness is this feeling when you allow yourself to not follow your own rules or your own action plan, it's when you start telling yourself "it's okay, no biggie". "I have time tomorrow". "I know how to do this". "It'll go quick". "It's as good as done". You feel very confident that you're able to do the thing, but the key difference with confidence is that you're not taking any action and in particular, you are not checking right now that you're able to make possible what you feel confident to make happen.

So you don't schedule the time on your calendar tomorrow. If you think that you have time tomorrow, you don't rearrange your meetings tomorrow to make sure that you will have enough time to do the thing. You don't take whatever action you can take now to make it easy and feasible. You just assume that it will work out. And I want to draw your attention to the fact that permissiveness feels good.

You feel off the hook, you feel like it's not a big deal. You feel like it's as good as done. And the key here again is that you're not taking any action. That's the difference, that's the main difference with confidence. Confidence on the other hand, it's knowing that you are going to get to your goal. That you will deliver the result. And taking action immediately to start to make this happen.

So let me give you a few examples of the difference between permissiveness and confidence. Let's say that your goal is to increase your salary. Confidence would be to immediately book a time with your manager to discuss about your performance and explain what salary level you believe your performance and the added value that you bring are worth.

From feeling confident, you would immediately start to prepare a list of arguments and you would brainstorm what else you could do to influence your boss's decision. Such as perhaps I don't know, talk to a trusted mentor to influence your boss, or maybe apply to a couple other jobs to benchmark your salary so that you can come back with some facts when you talk to your boss; etc, etc.

Permissiveness, it would be to think that your annual performance review is in three months, and it will be the great time to talk about it then. And you will make sure then to have the discussion, and you're quite confident that you will get the ear of your boss then.

So notice that permissiveness is a very convenient way to not have to face the scary action. It keeps you pretty confident that you could if you wanted to, and so you don't need to do it right now. So it's a little bit of a sneaky feeling because it really looks like confidence. But the main difference is that you're not taking any action.

And so you don't have to do anything that feels uncomfortable right away. Another example of permissiveness is when you're battling with imposter syndrome at every single new job that you've ever taken, you've read the number of books on the topic. You've Googled the topic to death, and every time you take on a new job and you feel like a giant fraud, you anyway tell yourself that you can probably fix it yourself and that you're going to find a solution and that you don't need external help.

That taking external help is overdrive. It's telling yourself that you're smart and so of course you can figure it out. And yeah, by all means, I mean, you're smart and you can figure this out.

But at the same time, if you haven't figured it out after so many months and years, perhaps it's time to bring in the cavalry. So permissiveness is to think that, of course you can figure it out. And by the way, you're going to Google some more right away. Confidence would be to think that of course you can figure it out and it will probably require the help of an expert and hiring someone, like a coach for example, wink wink, to give you the tools and the support you need to make real progress.

That's probably the most effective course of action right now. And of course, if you imagine hiring some help, it means that it will probably require some discomfort and facing some works that you're a little bit reluctant to face, but from confidence, you will believe that it's worth it.

And you will go ahead and you will do it anyway. From permissiveness, you're going to convince yourself that you can change by yourself and you're not going to take any real action. And so of course, if you keep on repeating what you've done before, you're going to end up with the same results as before.

So it's really important to understand the difference between permissiveness and confidence, because when you're not reaching your goal and you're feeling permissive, you're very likely to give up on your goal and on yourself, but in this very sneaky way of placing your achievement far off in the future, or sometimes not so far off, sometimes you're you think you're just postponing by a few days, but you're letting yourself off the hook today.

And that's really the marker of permissiveness. Today, it feels like vacation. You don't have to do anything. You're fine. And tomorrow: done deal. But the thing is that if you're not doing something today, why do you think you're going to be somebody different tomorrow? You're going to be exactly the same person.

And so if you feel off the hook today, you're going to feel off the hook as well tomorrow. So coming back to my decision to postpone the launch of my subscription service by one month, when I started noticing that I was working too much and that I was most likely not going to manage to produce all the content I wanted to have ready in time for the launch.

Or that if I want it to be ready in time, it means that I would have had to continue giving up on exercising and feeling good and having free time and maybe even sleep for way longer. I decided to postpone the launch by one month to launch in May 2022, instead of launching in April. And I want to show you the difference between if I had decided from permissiveness and deciding from confidence.

So if I had taken the decision from permissiveness, it would have looked like feeling very relieved that I didn't have a tight deadline anymore. I would have perhaps taken a few days off from that work. At least I would have procrastinated for a couple more weeks telling myself that I have lots of time and it's going to work out and I postponed by one month so it's yooohooo! you know, it's fine.

I'm going to be great. And I would not actually be planning in detail what needs to happen every single of these extra 30 days for the launch to happen as I hoped it would. After a couple of weeks of doing not much, I would have probably been back in the exact same stress, probably even more because by then I would also have a guilty conscience that I didn't use that time in a good way.

And I would just have postponed the stressful situation by four weeks without using that extra time strategically. But taking the decision from confidence? That's a different story. What I did is that I immediately started to plan the preparation of everything I wanted to include in the Make Over day by day for the extra 30 days.

I even added a few things that I thought I would launch later because I actually have some extra time if I'm giving myself one extra month to launch. I also took action immediately. So for example, I contacted every single person who was on the waiting list and I offered them some free coaching sessions during the month of April, as a compensation for the extra wait, so that they wouldn't have to wait for the grand opening to address their problem.

And then we had our first coaching sessions already last week, and that was great. And that set them on the right course so they can immediately start working on their problem. And if anything, for them, it's been a wonderful bonus because since I didn't launch the Make Over and I didn't open the gates, they are very limited people who are joining the coaching sessions. And so it's very intimate. And so they have lots of time to be coached and they can come back and be coached all the time on their topics.

So they're going to make fantastic progress this month. And this is everything that I wanted them to have as part of the makeover. So, and they even get it for free. So for my clients, it's amazing. It's wonderful. And that was also a very clear sign for me that I'm not letting myself off the hook and that I am delivering value immediately.

Even if I am not reaching the exact goal that I wanted to reach by the end of March. So I also finished everything that I could finish by the end of March. So I didn't let myself off the hook of that one. I really worked hard on that one. And then I decided also to make this unplanned podcast episode, so that you could also benefit from this experience and understand the difference between permissiveness and confidence.

So to summarize, when you notice that your strategy is not working, there's typically four different reactions. And the first one is to not rethink anything and just keep your foot to the pedal and try to do everything in spite of the fact that you're extremely likely not going to reach your goal, because there's just not enough time. Or if you give up.

So these are the two first types of reactions. Neither of them is going to help you reach your goal. I actually heard an excellent thought on the topic from a guy.. I was watching a documentary on a guy who spent 25 years on death row for a crime that many believe that he didn't commit. His name is Roger McGowen. And I heard him say, victory doesn't consist in winning, but in never giving up.

And I think this is great advice, whether you're just trying to push through in spite of the fact that it's very clear you're not going to make it in the allocated time or whether you are trying to give up. In either cases, this is very good. You need to continue working on trying to reach your goal, but you probably need to do a little bit of a strategic reassessment on how you're going to do that and what you're going to be able to deliver in the time that is left - if the deadline is unmovable.

Or if you are changing that, if it's possible to change the deadline, what are you going to do strategically so that you don't let yourself off the hook and so that you anyway deliver even more value in the new deadline, right. But the most treacherous of all of the reactions is permissiveness. It's postponing the deadline without holding yourself immediately accountable to continue delivering productive action towards your goal. Immediately. Like right now. And also without holding yourself accountable to deliver even more value.

I mean, since you have a longer deadline, you can probably deliver even more value than you were aiming to deliver. Real confidence, it's to pivot and to modify your strategy, but to keep on taking massive action. Today. Right now. To make it happen right away. So if you notice that you're being permissive and again, permissiveness feels delicious, right?

It feels like confidence and it feels like, "oh, tomorrow... We'll be fine..." You know, "it will happen". So it feels like you're off the hook. If you're feeling permissive, make sure that you identify right away what needs to happen today for you to reach your new deadline and that you take action right away. And to do that, you can reconnect with the reason that you want to reach your goal. Reconnect with what it will mean to you to have achieved your goal.

Notice that you don't really feel like doing it and do it anyway. Take some action today. And if you cannot do it for you, at least do it for your future self so that he or she doesn't have to end up in a very stressful or very discouraged period, again, a few days or a few weeks from now. And I'm going to conclude with a few thoughts that I find useful in those moments when I feel like I just want to be off the hook, whether it is by feeling discouraged or trying to power through, or feeling very permissive about it.

So I'm going to share those thoughts: one day or day one? You decide. The only thing standing between you and outrageous success is continuous progress. How you do this is how you do everything. A smart person sitting down doesn't go as far as a stupid one who walks. Doing nothing today offers you comfort; you're not made for comfort; you're made for greatness.

The path of least resistance is a terrible teacher. A lifetime of glory is worth a moment of pain. I'm nearly there. It's going to feel so good afterwards. Acting now is the difference between me and me from the future. And the last thing that I like to tell myself: I like to ask myself, how can I play with this?

And that's usually a very powerful question in those moments. I hope that you found this episode helpful. If you did and you want to help me reach other people who need to hear this, the best ways is to share it. You can tip a friend and you can leave me a review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. And if you want, the transcript is on my website excellentrider.com/podcast.

Thanks a lot for listening today. And remember that even when you can't get yourself to do what you want, even when you're stuck in negative emotions and unpleasant thought loops. And even when you don't believe it, especially when you don't believe it, you're not broken. You're not flawed.

And you're definitely not jinxed. You're just learning how to be an excellent rider. There are no bad horses, only untrained riders.

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