You Don’t Need Anyone’s Permission

You Don’t Need Anyone’s Permission

This morning I read about Melody Stein and her husband, Russ in the Washington Post.

The article explained how the couple recently opened their second restaurant, a popular authentic Napolitano pizza place called Mozzeria.  They will now have a restaurant in both San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

What caught my attention was Melody Stein’s willingness to keep believing in herself and in her dream, even when everyone else said it was impossible.  Over the last twenty years Melody has had lots of skeptics say she couldn’t do what she and her husband have done because Melody Stein and her husband are both deaf and all of the employees in their restaurants are deaf as well.

In fact, when Melody applied to the California Culinary Academy, the school denied her application.  “[The Academy] called my mom and said we can’t accept her application because she’s deaf,” Melody said. “What if they were in the kitchen trying to yell, ‘Out of the way!’ with hot soup? They viewed me as a liability.”

In other words, the California Culinary Academy said that Melody would never be qualified to work in a restaurant kitchen because she was deaf.

How did she succeed despite this roadblock? Melody simply chose not to believe that thought.

What I want to point out is that it doesn’t matter what other people’s opinions are about our qualifications.  Those opinions never matter unless we believe them. Believing what they wanted to believe about their own skills and abilities is why the Steins have been able to build a successful restaurant and food truck business.

As I wrote in Unqualified Success, “If you are waiting for the feeling of qualification—the permission slip, the stamp of approval, or the seal of authenticity—you may wait forever. We think we need society, or the industry we’re in, or our families, or our degrees to tell us that we are qualified.”

If the Steins had waited for the world to say they were qualified to open two successful restaurants, I’m sure they would still be waiting.  Luckily, neither they nor us ever have to wait for permission from anyone.

Now admittedly, sometimes the hardest person to get that permission from is ourselves.  Too many times I have seen personal limitations and opinions get in the way of success.  How this works is that we seek “permission” and approval from the world around us so that we can feel good enough about ourselves to try.  But if the industry or the company or the world around you doubts your ability, then like Melody Stein, you need have enough belief in yourself to go after your dreams and succeed without anyone else’s endorsement.

If we aren’t achieving our goals, It’s only ever our thoughts that get in the way of our success—either we have accepted the opinions of others or we have put up our own roadblocks regarding our qualification.

But Melody Stein’s story reminds us again that what we believe about ourselves is always optional. We get to choose what we believe and whatever we choose also determines the results we get in our life.

Choose wisely.

What about you?  What beliefs have allowed you to overcome obstacles in your life and work?