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  • Writer's pictureRob Olsen

You Have Permission . . . Give Yourself Space to Explore

Updated: May 14, 2020

In the first step to living intentionally and fulfilling your dreams, I talked about

asking yourself “the question”. Now, I want to focus on the second step and talk about giving yourself permission to explore new opportunities and ideas.

Be open to exploring new and different opportunities.

Are you so locked in to your current situation that you can’t take the time and

allow yourself the opportunity to explore new ideas and see if there are other

doors opening, or closing, for you? I believe that both open doors and closed

doors send a message that you should pay attention to.

I was advised to take additional courses to receive additional endorsements so I could make myself ‘marketable’ for the jobs available in education. But again, this was a

safe place for me and I wanted to be sure I was going to be able to find a job

after graduation.

I was so locked into my career path, with blinders on, that I couldn’t even

explore other ideas. Everything I did was focused on this one career path.

Why didn’t I allow myself to explore? I can tell you why. I was scared and I

had a fear of leaving my career path that I had worked so hard for, and

landing my first job.

Asking the tough questions wasn’t even considered.

Sad, but true, I actually told myself I would be disappointing others if I did not

find a job in my career field. I felt this disappointment stemmed from me being

so determined to accomplish what I said I was going to do, that I had worked

too hard to now do something different, or even “just think about something

different or consider a new idea”. Again, nobody ever asked me the tough

question of, “What is your dream?” This wasn’t even considered or allowed to

be a thought.

After my wife asked me, “What is your dream?”, I was finally so relieved, at

the age of 43, to begin to look at the world with a whole new perspective

because I had given myself permission to explore. (Thank goodness I was

only 43 and I had time on my side to explore new ideas and opportunities and

to live my dream!)

The well-meaning things people say…

While I was exploring ideas, I had people say to me, including my family,

* At 43 years old with 20 years of experience in education, you can’t start

to consider other options for your career.

* Are you going through a mid-life crisis?

* You can’t be serious. You have too much invested.

* What about your retirement?”

These are all things I heard, but as I reflected on those comments, I began to

understand that they were all coming from people living in fear. The same fear

I had previously held on to, the one of exploring!

Then came the “A-ha!” moment.

During this time of exploration, my wife and I decided to leave our fears

behind and take action toward our dreams. We attended an inspirational Big

Dream Gathering at Drake University and this is where the “A-ha” moment hit


Attending the Big Dream Gathering helped me to not only dream BIG, but to

frame ‘my fears’ in a way that really hit me. This is what I heard, “Your fears

and hesitations are holding you back from providing more opportunities for

your children as well as your wife, and you need to start living out your


Why is it important for you to have space to explore? How did you give yourself


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