Those of you who are members of my Executive Mentoring Group might have noticed that I sign off the weekly challenge emails with the word, “Avanti!”
I’d like to take a minute to explain this because I love this word for a number of reasons.
In Italian, Avanti means: forward, ahead, in front of, onward…
But there is another very common usage of the word Avanti in the Italian culture.
When someone is seeking permission to enter a room, perhaps knocking on the door, or before they walk into your space, they will say, “Permesso?” which means, Do I have permission to enter? May I come forward?
The response is, “Avanti!” Meaning, “Yes, please come forward”.
So not only does Avanti mean forward or onward, it has the idea built right in that you have the permission to move forward.
So when I write, Avanti!,
I’m not just saying, “let’s go”, I am encouraging you to realize that you already have the permission
You have the permission
I see this one simple concept holding so many people back in their careers and lives — Waiting for something external to happen, waiting for someone else to give them an opening, a sign, a defining moment — waiting for the permission to act.
You don’t need to wait for anything else. You don’t need to wait for more permission. You’ve got it. Go. Avanti!
If you want something different, do something different.
People often express frustration at work about things like broken processes, frustrating organizational habits, poor communications, lack of tools and support, or just generally not liking their job.
In any of these cases, the worst thing you can do is wait for someone else to do something.
So many people assume that because it is not part of their job description to fix or change something, that they don’t have the permission to do anything about it. They wait for upper management to fix it — or just accept it as an unchangeable part of the environment.
One of the biggest reasons people lose their power is that they give it away. Or they simply never exercise it.
Once you start giving yourself permission to do things, you’ll be amazed at what you can do!
Things you shouldn’t wait for permission to do
Here is a (very) short list of things you should not wait for permission to do. The list is virtually infinite, and is only limited by your imagination.
1. Modify your job description to suit the changing business needs and market landscape (and your talents)
2. Fix a broken process or a bad habit, or invent a needed process
3. Propose new initiatives that solve problems or capture opportunity
4. Create new systems or structures that enable efficiency or scaling
5. Conceive of new strategies which enable better, wider-reaching outcomes
6. Negotiate your workload to be less busy, but of higher value
7. Create a new style of communication or conversation that helps your team
8. Re-work your budget to make room for new things
9. Seek a Mentor/Be a mentor
10. Put your hat in the ring for a new job by volunteering to do some of the work now
11. Make changes that improve your life like by blocking times for family or workouts
12. Seek out and follow through on personal and professional development resources
13. Eliminate toxic people from your team and life
No one cares about your career as much as you do
Don’t give up power that no one is actually trying to take away from you.
Put yourself out there. Define what you need and want, and negotiate a way to make it happen.
Create improvements for yourself, your team and your business.
Management (and everyone else) is too busy to even see all the issues and opportunities you are seeing, let alone fix them.
You have a lot more control in your career than you probably think.
Stepping forward, breaking through the limits of your job description, and driving change will make you stand out. It will open doors, and make you feel more powerful.
In fact the higher up you go, you don’t just have the permission to do these things, it is expected that you will do these things…even if no one ever explicitly tells you. And they usually don’t tell you.
If you want some support, tools and encouragement to help you move your career forward consider joining my Executive Mentoring Group.
I’d love to help.
What do you think?
Join the conversation about this on my Facebook page.
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Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor.
She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)