The first six months of 2019 are in the books – rapidly, I might add. It feels like just yesterday we were slogging through the grey swamps of January.

At the Foundation, the midpoint of the year means we’re looking back on our work over the past six months and planning for how to end the year strong. I imagine many of you are doing the same.

Here are a few of the questions our team is reflecting on:

  • What are our biggest accomplishments? What have we done that we’re proud of?
  • What’s the most important lesson we’ve learned so far, and what do we need to do with it?
  • What’s the most important feedback we’ve heard, and what do we need to do with it?
  • What are the three most important goals or priorities for me at work and at home through the rest of the year?
  • What do I need to write on my permission slip?

On that last question, we’re borrowing an exercise from researcher Brené Brown, who has a habit of writing herself permission slips when facing down big, anxious moments. The question to ask is, “What do I need to give myself permission to feel or do so that I can tackle this challenge mindfully and authentically, without worrying about what other people will think or how I’m ‘supposed’ to be?”

Some examples might include giving ourselves permission to:

  • Be present and not worry
  • Ask for help
  • Take up as much space as we need
  • Give up control
  • Jump in when we are scared
  • Speak how we really feel

Permission slips are especially useful for work we put off. And given the critical, mission-oriented work we all take on daily, there is plenty that far too frequently gets put to the back burner. Speaking for myself, the work I sometimes put off is the work where I want to do something big, but I can’t quite work out how to plan the perfect vision and how to work out the perfect plan to execute. The uncertainty and potential for failure can stop me. In those moments, I have to give myself permission to set the table as best I can, let guests have their experiences, and be willing to learn from their feedback and keep moving forward.

My experience is that those places where we give ourselves permission to act bravely will be the things we’re proudest of when we do our end-of-year reviews.

As you and your teams do this, let us know how the work is going and what is on the horizon for you. We’d love to have a conversation with you about your organization’s goals through the end of the year, and hear your permission slips

– Michael Tipton
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation President
Head of Community Relations


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