Why to Give Yourself Permission to Make a Change - Audrey Parker

In Chapter 20 of 21 in her 2011 Capture Your Flag interview with host Erik Michielsen, entrepreneur Audrey Parker answers "Why is it Important to Give Yourself Permission When Going Through a Change Moment?" She learns to surrender, or relinquish, control and accept it is OK to sometimes do nothing. After co-founding, growing, and selling her company, Parker embraces the restorative idea of taking time off and begins a one-year sabbatical.

Parker co-founded CLEAResult, an energy management consulting firm. In 2010, CLEAResult ranked #144 in the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies. In late 2010, CLEAResult was sold to General Catalyst Partners. Parker graduated from Wake Forest University.


Erik Michielsen:  Why is it important to give yourself permission when going through a change moment?

Audrey Parker:  Change is always uncomfortable.  That’s the nature of it.  And allowing and giving myself permission to let the change be whatever it’s gonna be without knowing how it’s gonna go, just surrendering control, surrendering the knowledge – we don’t know what we’re gonna change into.  We don’t know how it’s gonna go.  We don’t know how fast it’s gonna go.  And giving myself permission to just experience it as it comes and just trust that it will be whatever it will be, it’s not comfortable, but trying to control something that really I have no control over doesn’t make much sense.  It’s just amazing how often in my life and a lot of people try to control things like that, that they really, you know, can’t, just putting a lot of energy into something that could be better spent doing other things.  So it’s been nice to just give myself permission to just do nothing sometimes, literally, just do nothing.  And there’s this voice in my head going ‘why are you just doing nothing?  This is crazy.’  You need to be doing something.  You need to – you have to be doing something.  And there is this – the rest of me, it’s just like ‘no, actually, I don’t, I’m just gonna sit here, and I’m gonna do nothing, or I’m just gonna, you know, stare outside out the window, or I’m just gonna daydream.’  And there has been a lot of that just need to come back into balance, and I didn’t plan that.  I didn’t sit and think this is what I’m gonna need or this is what I’m – how it’s gonna go, or, you know, I’m gonna go spend time with that person, or I’m gonna go travel here or there.  I’m just letting it unfold.  And it’s a much more enjoyable process that way.  It’s still uncomfortable but it’s much more enjoyable.

Erik Michielsen:  When did you decide to give yourself permission when thinking about change?

Audrey Parker:  I gave myself permission when I exited CLEAResult.  I set a clear intention that, you know, this has been so much my identity, it has been so much my life, it has been so much my focus, I’ve been so determined and committed, and I have no idea what’s on the other side of this.  And I just allowed myself to have time and space and just whatever I need basically.  I set it up that way.  And that’s why I decided I – some people were saying ‘oh I’m sure you can’t take a full year off; I’m sure you’ll be bored after just a couple of months or a few weeks or something.’  And I just knew I need a year.  I need a year.  And I just need to give myself whatever time and space I need, really. So it was nice to give myself that permission because it’s just – it’s allowing things to just unfold, and, like I said, I like it that way.