Nice. Deferential. Insecure. Strategic. There are many reasons for hanging back, waiting for permission to proceed, to advocate, to think (and demand) big. None of them is good enough.
The biggest difference between childhood and adulthood it that, once you are an adult, the world largely doesn’t care if you succeed for fail. Nurturing institutions like schools are behind you. Life is now up to you.
And you (we) in the social change work you (we) do need to realize that no one out there is really watching, is going to to give you permission. No one is going to “pass” you and tell you to advance to the next level. There is no enforced “graduation” to push you to a new phase. In fact, there are loads of people out there who are happier when you don’t progress, dream big, demand more, make change. They want you to be quiet, sit still, think small.
If our strategies for social change are based on asking permission, we’ll never succeed.