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  • Writer's pictureBill Petrie

Granting Myself Permission

How a visit to the ICU changed my perspective.

Today is Christmas when many gather with family and friends to exchange gifts. If you’re reading this on December 25th, there’s a good chance I’m doing exactly that, as Christmas has always been a special day for me and my family. We will exchange gifts, enjoy a fine meal of prime rib, and give thanks for our good fortune.


However, it’s also Monday, which means publishing a blog. If you know me at all, then you know that I attribute a large portion of whatever success I’ve achieved to being consistent, especially when it comes to content creation. So, even though it’s Christmas day, I can’t allow eight years of publishing a blog every Monday just stop because it’s a holiday – even if this one is difficult to write.


Three weeks ago, I wasn’t feeling well and attributed it to a lingering cold and the stress of the final push of the year. Like most people, I not only burn the candle at both ends but also try to light it in the middle to squeeze as much out of it as possible in the shortest imaginable time. I kept drinking fluids in hopes of flushing out whatever ailed me and continued my breakneck pace, assuming I could simply push through the lethargy and fatigue. As you can likely surmise, I was wrong.


I finally went to the doctor, which I don’t like doing – not because I’m fearful, but because it’s time away from things I feel I need to be doing. To make a long (and private) story short, I didn’t realize how sick I was until my doctor sent me to the emergency room, and I was subsequently admitted to the ICU for two days.


In the silence, only broken by the continual beeping of machines monitoring every possible reading from my body, I was terrified. I wasn’t sure what the short or long-term outcome would be and wondered if I would even be home for Christmas. The time I spent in the ICU also gave me an opportunity to reflect on the fact that I need to do a better job of listening to my body as I’m convinced that had I gone to the doctor sooner, I never would been in the hospital, let alone ICU. As an aside, the ICU is simultaneously the worst and most expensive Airbnb in the world. I do not recommend it.


After I was discharged, I pondered what changes I needed to make to ensure that there was not a repeat visit to the ICU. One phrase kept coming back to me: granting permission. I have done an abysmal job of giving myself permission to pause, take a break, or even breathe over the past few years. I simply get straight, go forward, and move ahead while neglecting both my mental and physical health.


That stopped after I left the ICU.


  • I’ve given myself permission to step away from my office to prepare and eat healthier meals.

  • I’ve given myself permission to slow down.

  • I’ve given myself permission to take time for myself with exercise and brain breaks.

  • I’ve given myself permission to close brandivate for the week between Christmas and the new year.


Are you giving yourself permission to take time for you? If not, I can assure you that the destination isn’t all that great – something I had to learn the hard way. My hope is that by sharing this – at least the parts I’m comfortable sharing – that it helps someone realize that continual grinding without taking time for self-care will negatively impact your health.


To be clear, I’m in a much better place from a health perspective and plan to be for a long, long time. Candidly, I feel better than I have in months, and my doctor is thrilled with how I’ve recovered. He’s not the only one.


Moving forward, I’m committed to rewiring how my brain works to ensure that the above permissions become part of me as opposed to things I need to consciously think about, but I also know it will take time to do that. However, this week, I’m permitting myself to keep the brandivating to a minimum while I enjoy time with my family.


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