Stop Asking Permission

Today’s post is the 1st 2 pages of my new book Making Elephants Fly, which you can pre-order HERE

“If You can Dream it, You can Do it.” – Walt Disney 

I remember, growing up, that every time something significant was happening, my Mom had to sign a permission slip for me to participate. Whether it was Summer Camp, a field trip to the zoo, or just going to the neighborhood pool alone. This book is here to be your permission slip. You have to sign it though. Your Mom can’t help you with this one. This is your permission slip to do that one thing you have always wanted to do. To chase that dream that you have always had. To make that idea on the back of a napkin a reality. To do that one thing that “they” always told you was impossible.

For centuries people have had those kinds of ideas. If you are reading this at a coffee shop, chances are everyone around you has one of those ideas. Sadly, most of them will never act on them. Every one of us has had that “ah-ha” moment where we said things like “I wonder”, “what if”, “if I could only.”

I know what you are asking now. What do elephants have to do with all of this? Well I am glad you asked. You are going to have wait a second though.


First, let me tell you why you reading this book, or more like how you are reading this book. Somehow I ended up in a conversation about Walt Disney’s famous quote, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” I love Disney, a lot. My favorite memories growing up with my family happened at Walt Disney World, my wife and I honeymooned there, and visit there as often as we can. So if there is a conversation about Disney, you are going to find me in it.

Most people think that Walt’s quote is this warm and fuzzy quote about dreams coming true with a little faith, hope, and Pixie Dust. While all of those things may happen, what Walt really believed is if you could create something in your mind (aka your dreams) that you could make it happen. If Walt could see it or draw it on a napkin, he could assemble the right people around the idea to make it a reality.

For Walt, the idea of dreaming and doing was one that defined everything he did. This is the guy that sat on a park bench watching his girls go in circles on a carousel in the corner of a park and thought, “what if there was a place for families to spend time together not just on broken down rides but in places that only existed in the imagination.”

So in the midst of this conversation, that was game changer for me. I said, “If Walt could make Dumbo fly in a movie, he knew he and his team (now known as Imagineering) could make him into a ride that flies, and everyone would have a chance to make an elephant fly. That same team could make him fly across the sky at Disneyland during the end of the night firework display. They discovered that you could take a “Jungle Cruise.” In the 1990s,  they discovered that you could take an African safari in Orlando, Florida and see real live elephants.

This all happened because a man thought there has to be something better than this. Walt has another quote that doesn’t show up on t-shirts and greeting cards, but really captures the essence of what he was trying to say.  “If you can visualize it, if you can dream it, there’s some way to do it.” —Walt Disney

You and I may never build the world’s greatest theme park. We may not get great ideas on park benches, or may never have fireworks going off for us, but we have the ability to make our dreams reality. We don’t even need permission! But if you think you do, you now have permission –  go make your elephant fly!

So rip this page out of the book (or off the screen) if you need to, even show it to your Mom. This is your permission slip.

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