The Permission to Fail


I love the idea of permission. No, really, I was obsessed with it as a kid. I’d ask my parents if I could play at the neighbor’s house, ask the librarian if I could dust the bookshelves, ask for second (and third) servings of dinner. I loved permission because it meant someone else allowed me to do what I wanted. Years later I went to college and majored in Business Administration, which gave me the permission to pursue business. Shortly thereafter, I went to law school, which gave me permission to become a lawyer.

Let’s be real: permission is safety.

Life got sticky when I had no one but myself to ask whether I should pursue my dream of becoming a photographer. It meant I bore the entire responsibility of making it happen. I couldn’t apply for it, I couldn’t take a test for it…I simply had to do it. Most creative professions require persistence, drive, and hard work, not a diploma (which is just permission on paper form)…and I constantly have to remind myself of this.

I want permission to try new things in my business. Even after a series of successful projects, I still want someone to tell me it’s okay to fail. Sometimes I wait for some cosmic sign (or at least a fortune cookie) to point me in the right direction, but consistent waiting is fear camouflaged as prudence. I’m slowly learning that if I want to permission to take a risk, to do something I love, the only person who’ll give it is myself.

Today, I hope you give yourself the permission to fail and follow the direction of your dreams.

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  1. Lindsey Laughlin

    April 28th, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    PREACH, sister! So proud of you ~

  2. Natasha Cadman

    April 28th, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    This one if for me. I’m sure. πŸ˜‰ xxx

  3. Tina

    April 28th, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Thank you for being an example to us all.

  4. Sally Pinera

    April 28th, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Well said. You know they say you don’t know true success unless you’ve failed? I wish to continue to fail and succeed, fail and succeed, and yet again, fail and succeed so I know I am constantly learning and growing as a human, an artist and as a business owner.

  5. Elizabeth Hope

    April 28th, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    I love this! I have recently given myself permission to stop shooting things that don’t make me happy! Honing my skills and realizing that children and love stories are what I LOVE TO SHOOT has made a big change in my day to day happiness!

  6. Julie Michaelsen

    April 28th, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Jasmine, this post could not be MORE relevant for me today after a frustrating week of self-doubt, fear and paralysis by analysis! So thank you!
    All the best,
    Julie x

  7. Jen

    April 28th, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    UGH! I SO needed to read this today. I completely empathize. Sometimes I look for validation for even a reason to shoot – as if getting paid is the only reason to get my camera out and do a portrait session. It’s limited me creatively, and I recently came to the conclusion that I just need to shoot – whether that shoot turns out amazing or is a complete failure. I just need to shoot. πŸ™‚

  8. Elizabeth

    April 28th, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Love this!!! Thank you, Jasmine!

  9. Carrie Hall

    April 28th, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    It is so true, if you do not give yourself permission to fail, you can not really give yourself permission to succeed. Good post, great reminder πŸ™‚

  10. Cara

    April 28th, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    I needed to hear this today. Thank you.

  11. Christina

    April 28th, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Thank you. I am just starting out, and this was just what I needed to read at this time. When I think of advertising my services, I usually put it off and retreat out of fear of not succeeding. I love weddings though, I love people, and I *KNOW* I can do this. Wish me luck!!

  12. Emilyanne Hardy

    April 28th, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Jasmine, can I just say, that my jaw dropped when I read this this morning. Here’s why…. I am in the process of launching my new website, and, in my "ABOUT ME" section, I almost said your exact words. I went to school to be an engineer, and I too have been led to believe that the piece of paper you receive upon graduation dictates your competency in a field (i.e. diploma for engineering). Thanks for the comfort, and the similarity in our paths. πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to meet you in July!

  13. Kayla

    April 28th, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    I so needed to hear this today thanks!! I’m launching my photography website Thursday. I have been procrastinating this day forever in fear I’ll fail, but I’m jumping in finally and prepared for the worst or the best.

  14. Gertrude Gusewelle

    April 28th, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Thanks for this encouragement today! I was just thinking about the responsibility that I have given myself by owning my own photography business & that I’m finally getting used to being the only one responsible for EVERYTHING & that not everything will go perfectly every time, but it’s still my passion & my heart & as long as that remains true, everything else will fall into place.

  15. Betta {Linen and Silk Weddings}

    April 28th, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    I love this Jasmine… So timely πŸ™‚ I launched a service back in November that automatically labelled me as The Mad Planner of the UK (capitals because no one beats me…). I’ve been fearing judgement of others for months (sadly I still do), and get terribly discouraged when I get the feeling that people in the industry think my new service won’t stand a chance. But, when I think about it rationally, I realise that if I fail, I’m only affecting myself and no one else, so what I choose to do with my business has very little to do with others. It does help that I am one determined (aka stubborn) little thing, but I need to learn that succeeding is not proving something to others; succeeding is accepting my strengths and my limitations, falling, learning, and raising myself up, proud of the baby steps and the small bumps that come with the process of growing. xxx

  16. Megan Decker

    April 28th, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    I love this perspective. So much truth, Jasmine! Thanks so much!

  17. Susan Beth

    April 28th, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Permission to fail is paramount! Can’t make progress without it. Thanks for the reminder.

  18. Nikole

    April 28th, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Jasmine, your words were exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you!

  19. Alethiea De Pasquale

    April 28th, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    By the state of SoCal (and Birmingham, UK) I hereby grant you, Jasmine Star the permission to fail, the permission to succeed and the permission to have that last piece of cake in the fridge! ;-p x

  20. Ashley Rogers

    April 28th, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Amen! Preach it sista!

  21. Whitney Lane

    April 28th, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    True Dat J*

  22. Kelly Renee Photography

    April 28th, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Thank you Jasmine! I needed this!

  23. Claudia

    April 28th, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    i enjoy your blog posts so much <3

  24. paulina

    April 28th, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    oh jasmine, you have no idea how much i needed to hear this today. your honesty touches my heart. thank you!

  25. Gretchen

    April 29th, 2014 at 12:06 am

    I love this post! So many times we think it’s not okay to fail. That if we do, we have to make up for it. I like the concept of giving yourself permission to fail. To try new things. To fail, and then eventually succeed. <3

  26. Christy

    April 29th, 2014 at 4:11 am

    You are SO amazing! Exactly what I needed to hear as I’ve been a bit of a chicken lately..

  27. Tara Brown

    April 29th, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    This is EXACTLY how I felt when I was deciding to leave my job and pursue photography full time. I actually had the conversation with my mom, "I think one of the things that’s holding me back is that I’m waiting for your permission." Similar blog post coming soon, hahaha. πŸ™‚ Glad you gave yourself permission!! xo

  28. Hannah

    April 29th, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    I have been struggling with this exact issue for quite a long time. I’m a stay at home mom to 3 little children. I LOVE photography, and have been pursuing it for years. I have done lots of shoots each year for friends but have been so afraid to commit. I spend so much time praying over the decision to start a full fledged business and blame my indecisiveness on not knowing if the Lord is leading me in that direction. But sometimes I wonder if it is just me and my fear of failure. This type A very driven and rule following individual does not like doing anything that I might not be good at. Your post came at a great time. Not sure if it was God giving me the nudge forward πŸ™‚

  29. Tonya Damron

    April 30th, 2014 at 6:53 pm


  30. Ruben Nunez

    May 5th, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Like they say, failure is the first step to success. Totally agree with your advice.

  31. Claire Gill

    May 19th, 2014 at 8:48 am

    This is so true. I think failure in something you are actively trying to master is one of the the best ways to learn, and one of the best indicators that you are challenging yourself and improving your practice.