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What You Permit; You Promote

Read that again. What’s the first thing you think about? That will partly be influenced by the context in which you’re reading this newsletter.

If you’re at home it might be something as insignificant as a blind eye turned to a pet on the couch! You let it happen once - just once - and only because they looked at you lovingly that one time. Well guess what? They liked it! Now they’re up there at every opportunity and you get kicked off your own couch and resigned to the armchair across the room! (I feel I may have shared too much here!)

If you’re in an office or your workspace your mind may go immediately to culture within the office. What's allowed to happen that has now become a habit? Positively or negatively?

The words at the top of this page are emblazoned in large bold letters across the wall of the Strength and Conditioning office at Bristol Bears £13m training facility in Failand. The implications in an elite sporting environment are easy to arrive at: If the coaches permit shortcuts then they promote low standards. If the group permits some of its members to cause disruption off the field then they promote that behaviour. If they permit negativity then they promote negativity - mainly because in the short term it’s often an easier train of thought for reasons laid out later.

Parallels in the business world are easily drawn and this is a useful filter to run decisions through when in a leadership role. Which parts of your standard operating procedures are sub-optimal due to a concession made during their evolution? Which team members are cultural cancers because ‘oh that’s just how he/she is’ and they’ve never been called out on their behaviour? Conversely; which potentially positive behaviours have you seen be allowed to die out because their initiator was mocked or alienated by the group as a ‘suck up’ or ‘teachers pet’?

Now what if we start to look at ourselves through this lens as well? Your personal team: Your mind, body and spirit? You’re the CEO, Head Coach, Strength and Conditioning Coach and Psychologist for that team by the way. How are you going to approach the business of being you?

Personally I have found great clarity and mental fortitude in my decision making process when framing things through this lens. The idea of ‘permitting’ something into my life feels like it robs me of control. Permission is the result of persuasion and if what we permit is ultimately negative then surely we’ve allowed ourselves to be scammed along the way! As someone that hates the idea of the wool being pulled over their eyes; this implication offered me great strength when resisting the persuasion and withholding my permission.

So what does this look like in action? Well that depends. I’ll use the most simple context in my world:

I like to partake in particularly unpleasant fitness sessions. I’m not necessarily training for anything but one unfortunate hangover from a life spent in professional sport is the need to constantly chase your limits. This can lead to some relatively dark places mentally where basically you just want to stop! The temptation to end that momentary pain is huge. The allure of the self pity you’re dipping your toe in is almost too much to resist. The PERSUASIVE narrative that’s infiltrating your consciousness asking your PERMISSION to stop is real. So you stop. You PROMOTE the possibility of stopping. Next time that persuasive narrative doesn’t need to shout so loud or so long. You stop. One day you never even start. Now imagine that consciousness has had a ‘tip off’. It knows that narrative is coming. No permissions given to negativity today. Instead you PERMIT yourself to believe in yourself and recall the many sessions you’ve completed prior to that moment. The litres of sweat you’ve spent celebrating your ability and freedom to choose to exercise. You PROMOTE a feeling of gratitude, even when you’re physically close to your limits. You PERMIT self praise upon completion of the session. You PROMOTE positivity. You repeat.

Permit yourself to see good sides. Promote positivity.

Do not permit negativity. Promote positivity.

Always permit positivity. Protect it. Promote it. There’s some persuasive stuff out there gunning for it!

Tom Luke

Director/Coach Torque Training

Backs and Attack Coach Bristol Bears Women

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