career decisions, permission, green light

You Don’t Need Their Permission

Many people are contemplating a career decision—to leave their jobs, to change professions, to start a business, and so on. But they’re hesitant, because those around them seem to discourage it:

“It’s too risky.”
“You need to think this through.”
“Are you sure you’re ready?”

So they agonize over the decision for months. They read more books, blogs, and trade publications. They ask more people for input, as they write and rewrite their pros and cons lists. Some may feel the need to have gone through a lengthy process—to leave no stone unturned, lest they appear reckless.

Here’s the thing though:

Well-meaning people may not always give you the advice you need. This is true whether they are your friends, relatives, colleagues, or mentors.

Their priorities are not your priorities. Their goals and values may not fully align with yours. They don’t know your financial situation, your personal timeline, or your tolerance for risk. They don’t understand what’s prompting this change—what you’ve been thinking and feeling—except for what you’ve shared. They are not you.

So don’t worry about naysayers thinking it’s too soon or too risky. Quick decisions aren’t necessarily rash decisions. And risky decisions aren’t necessarily bad ones. That’s subjective anyway. What seems risky to them may not be risky to you. For example, leaving a job without another lined up may be considered risky. But if you have a substantial amount of savings, that de-risks your decision—perhaps to a level you are comfortable with. Other people wouldn’t know about your personal savings.

To be clear, you should certainly educate yourself and seek wise counsel. But you don’t need approval or permission from others. If the potential tradeoffs and consequences are acceptable to you, go for it. At some point, more time, more information, and more perspectives won’t make your decision better. You just need to make the call.

It doesn’t have to take weeks or months. You don’t need to justify yourself or control for every possible outcome. Sometimes it’s a quick, personal decision—made with clarity, conviction, and follow-through. And that’s enough.

This is the ninth post in our series: Challenging Your Self-Limiting Assumptions.