My 2016 Permission Slip

Remember school field trips?

The sheer joy and anticipation of spending the day outside the classroom at a play, a museum, or some other historical site? You’d rush home to deliver the all-important permission slip to your parents (and silently pray that they wouldn’t elect to chaperone).

As children we’re required to ask for permission for just about everything: to use the restroom, to speak in class, to grab an afternoon snack, to stay the night at a friend’s house. As we get older, the asking evolves into borrowing the family car or to stay out past curfew, and then  eventually we ask permission for vacation days or to build a new deck off the back of the house.

In our youth we ask for permission to get to DO things, or to start or experience something new.

Now as an adult, I feel like I’m still seeking permission, but now it’s for VERY different things

Permission to stop.

To take a much needed break. Or, as a business coach of mine used to say, to be a “human BE-ing instead of a human DO-ing!”

I’m notorious for this: I’ll work myself into the ground, forsaking my physical health and mental sanity, until I’m at my wit’s end, completely fried and ineffective, bemoaning all of this to my partner ( and probably breaking down in tears), who’ll eventually say “Jacqui, I give you permission to take a break.”

Yep. Pretty much me without taking time for self care

Yep. Pretty much me without taking time for self care

So why, as a grown-ass woman, am I still asking permission for what I need? Why is it so hard to just STOP and take care of my damn self already? 

Apparently I’m not alone. It turns out there are thousands, if not millions of women out there just like me, who aren’t allowing themselves to pause, to breathe, to take the time to take care of themselves in order to be able to care for everyone else. Is it due to societal expectations? Or the expectations of those around us? Or are we just making it all up and holding ourselves to a ridiculously impossible high standard? 

I’ve discussed this concept with my dear friend and self care expert and Shelley Hillesheim. As a professional coach and rescuer of driven, overachieving, frazzled type-A women ( hmmmmm I don’t know anyone like that), Shelley helps her students to learn how to re-prioritize self care in order to create a more complete and fulfilled life. In a recent blog post she encourages her readers to break this go-go-go-crash cycle by creating their very own permission slip. I loved this concept so much that I decided to give it a shot!  So, here goes nothing!

Permission slip

In 2016, I give myself permission…

To be imperfect

To stop worrying about what others think already!

To cry

To eat the damn cookie

Oh and I do love cookies!

Oh and I do love cookies!













To slow down and appreciate the day for what it is- a blessing

To not have it all, do it all, or be it all

To cease, once and for all, the comparison with others

To express myself in whatever way I see fit, be it laughter (even if no one else is laughing), song (even if they cover their ears), art ( even if I suck),  or writing (even if no one ever reads a word).

To take some down time when I need it

To seek out fun and adventure each week, regardless of perceived “urgent obligations”

To surround myself with people I care about and who care about me

To not be freaking Super Woman!!

To take time to enjoy the things I love every day: Music, exercise, language, learning, and art

To fiercely protect my time and only say “yes” to projects that excite me. If it’s not a “hell yes!”, then I don’t do it.

To choose to be happy NOW, not when “_______” happens


This permission slip is like my personal manifesto for life. I make a point of reviewing it several times per week and it really does help to bring me back down from the ledge when I’m starting to whip myself into a freakout stress frenzy.

I truly believe that by staying true to these intentions on my “permission slip” that I’ll be well on my way to creating my truly inspired life. They are just so much more meaningful to me than any  goal or resolution that I could set.

Of course I still have goals for my business, relationships, finances, etc and I will continue to move in the direction of those goals. BUT, I now know that the important thing is not necessarily to focus on the goals themselves, but on creating the environment for myself that I’ve described above, which will in turn give me the energy, clarity, and mental capacity to accomplish those goals.


So, now it’s your turn! Leave a comment below and tell me one thing that you’re giving yourself permission to do in 2016. Then, visit Shelley’s blog to download your very own permission slip. Paste it on your wall, your refrigerator, in your journal or in your wallet, somewhere where it can serve as a constant reminder of the life you’re trying to create for yourself.

Oh, and if you’re ready to commit to focusing on your personal self care this year, don’t miss Shelley’s soon to be published book, Self Care 101! It’s being released at the end of the month and you can get all the details here

Happy New Year!

1 Comment

  • Shelley Hillesheim

    Reply Reply January 21, 2016

    I am celebrating every beautiful word you shared in this post Jacqui! This is so incredibly inspirational and yes, we do need permission, often. Thank you for writing this and for pimping my influence and my work. I appreciate it so much!
    ~ Shelley

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