Coaching with Sid

Unleash Your Creative Potential: Rewrite Your Beliefs

sent by Siddharth Anantharam    |   July 14, 2023

sent by Siddharth Anantharam
July 14, 2023

What’s something you believed about yourself but no longer do?

For the longest time, I believed that I was not a CREATIVE person.

To me, I always associated being CREATIVE with being an artist – a painter, a musician or an actor who is talented at envisioning something bold and producing something beautiful.

I never viewed myself as a visionary or trusted myself enough to create anything.

Which is why, early on in my career, I mostly took on roles and opportunities where I played the helping hand – operating in the shadows and helping other creative visionaries execute on their dreams.

I remember ruling myself out of so many opportunities because I just didn’t believe I was that “creative guy”.

But at some point more than 6 years ago, something flipped inside me!

I remember reading Austin Kleon’s book Steal Like An Artist where he shared that

Creativity is everywhere and for everyone. And that you don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. 

Reading these words was a breakthrough moment for me.

Because at that moment, I remember receiving the permission to suddenly question something I had believed to be true for so long!

In that moment I received the permission to ask myself – what does being CREATIVE really mean to me? And is it really true that I am not a creative person?

I’ve realized that GIVING YOURSELF PERMISSION is one of the most important aspects in the process of shifting a belief – either your own or that of a client you work with.

In today’s newsletter I am going to share the 4 levels of permission that most of us tend to operate from. I first read about it in Marshall Goldsmith’s book Lifestorming and it really stayed with me.


Understanding which of these 4 levels you or your client mostly operate from helps you customize your coaching approach for maximum impact – especially when it comes to shifting their core beliefs around life or business.

Level 1 - You Assume You Never Have Permission

At this level, your permission meter is at zero. You never try anything that goes against any established rules. You are terrified of trying something for the first time because nobody you know has done it before.

Are you someone who waits for the red light to turn green even if there’s nobody on the road for miles? Or never call someone out even if they are clearly making an error? Or share a different opinion about something to contradict what someone is actively sharing ?

As a coach, if you find that your client is mostly operating at this level, it helps to work on understanding their relationship with authority figures and rules. Especially instances where following the rules or listening to an established authority hasn’t really served their dreams or best interest.

Level 2 - You Seek Others’ Permission

At this level, almost everything you do in your life requires somebody else’s permission. You are so trained to wait for permission from your parents, your teacher or an authority figure in your life that you sometimes end up waiting forever to do something you’ve really wanted to – simply because you never received explicit permission.

You raise your hand but don’t want to be the first person to ask a question in a group. You wait to ask your partner where they would like to go for date night instead of deciding yourself. You wait to see if someone else does what you want to do first, as a precedent.

I observe that a lot of my clients operate at this level where they are constantly seeking someone’s permission or approval without realizing they are.. A question that I love asking to bring awareness to their pattern

Whose permission are you really seeking? Whose approval are you really waiting for?

At this level, the coach becomes one of those people who gives their client the permission to do or be something they’ve really desired for a long time.

Level 3 - You Give Yourself Permission

At this level, you officially give yourself the permission to be or do whatever you desire.

You review the situation and tell yourself – it’s probably okay for you to knock and enter that door. Or be the first person to raise your hand and ask a question in a group.

At this level, you justify and validate internally why it’s okay for you to proceed doing something or as Marshall Goldsmith puts it – you “self edit.”

For clients who are operating at this level, you will find that accountability becomes easier, commitment levels are generally higher and they are expressing themselves in different ways and means.

Level 4 - You Assume You Always Have Permission

At this level you simply assume permission to do whatever needs to be done even if it has never been done before. You assume that rules exist but they are situational.

You don’t mind asking the hotel staff for an upgrade on your room or pointing out a bad decision that your boss makes or calling out a value conflict that is happening in front of you. You ask a question without waiting to be acknowledged first in a group and are free to express your judgment, voice and choices in your decision making.

The clients who are operating at this level are the ones who might seek forgiveness but never wait for permission to go after what they really want.

From my experience, the healthiest, most driven individuals I have met consistently operate between levels 3 and 4 across all areas of their life. They are not afraid to give themselves permission to try new things, challenge themselves, speak their truth and live their values.

In Steve Job’s famous words, they have realized that,

The world is made my people no smarter than you.

Or as I realized 6 years back, the world is made by people who are not more creative than you are. Creativity is the simple act of creating something that does not exist and giving it shape and form. And each one of us has the power of creation inside us if we only we choose to tap into it.

What do you need permission to be or do right now? Which opportunities are you letting go because you believe something about yourself that you have not questioned? Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments below.

Leave a Comment

39 thoughts on “How to Coach Your Clients To Unleash Their Creative Potential”

  1. Thank you for another treasure.
    I only just flew over it and it activated something inside of me, will give it some more attention later and already wanted to express my gratitude for your leadership Coach Sid 🙂

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