I hear this phrase, “playing small” quoted everywhere. Even this morning in one of my Facebook groups it was the topic of discussion. Although I understand why this message is so important to discuss, I really hate the phrase – probably because most are saying it over and over again without ever explaining what it means or offering any type of real solution. And, I believe, our over focus on it, rather than the solutions to moving beyond it, is what continues to perpetuation this so-called “problem” ultimately and unconsciously causing most people to stay stuck. That’s when my psychologist brain kicked in and said, “…then you share the solution.” So, here’s my take on what “playing small” means and seven (7) ways you can move past it and begin to “play BIG.”
I’ll start by first explaining a little of the difference between playing small and playing big.
Both are part of a mindset, which you already know. Your mindset was formed during your childhood and then strengthened by all your experiences in life. The core influencer of “small” or “big” mindedness – your relationships and environment. Mindset, simply put, is your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, values, and behaviors.
As a little side note and to reference my above statement about your mindset influencers, the root word for relationship is "to relate” which is defined originally as, “the ability to talk.” The “talks” you were exposed to and continue to have now greatly influences how your mindset develops and continues to function as well as influence your small or big mindedness now.
A Little More on Playing Small & Playing Big
Marianne Williamson, in her poem Our Deepest Fears, was the first (I understand) to coin and popularize the phrase, “playing small.” In light of her intention to calling us out to being more of who we were created to be…here’s what playing small means.
Playing small means we have forgotten and disconnected from our deeper truth that we were and are created as spiritual beings in the image of God, which comes with great power, blessings, and responsibilities.
Playing small also means we have not fully connected to our own truth and purpose or we have abandoned it for fear we are not good enough. This idea of not being good enough is deadly in that it causes us to be influenced by our fears, low self-esteem, low sense of worth, lack mindset, and our inability to receive.
On the other hand, sometimes playing small means not having enough of or the right type of information or strategies available to us in order to be seen, heard, celebrated and soar, especially in business.
Playing big, on the other hand, means one has finally become self-actualized. Self-actualization means in simple terms, the acknowledgement and acceptance of one’s gifts, talents, abilities, and all that we are good, bad, and ugly while still believing – I Am Enough.
Playing big also means knowing what you really want without fear or apology of having the desire. It’s focused attention and behavior. It’s strategic and consistent. It’s asking for help and then receiving it.
Playing BIG is very individual and intention – there is no right or wrong way to do it, it just has to be decided upon and then done.
Steps to Stop Playing Small
Remember who you are – a spiritual being made in God’s image to create life and then live that life abundantly
Identify who you are and what you really want. This is self-explanatory because you already know this is crucial to your overall success. Once you can make a decision about who you are and choose to be, which having certain values and principles can powerfully help, then you can identify what you really want in life.
Know that you are enough and unlimited - in order to have all you desired in number 2. This one can be a hard one and can only truly be healed and transformed when you are in relationship with someone or a community constantly saying this truth with you – You ARE Enough…Always Have Been…Always Will Be!
Commit to your experience – once you make your decision (to reach a definite conclusion) to “play BIG” stay committed to the tasks and experience of doing so. There’s a lot of growth in staying committed to the journey of becoming and playing big. Most get stuck here because the either quit or don’t follow through.
Love Yourself – remember you are a human being and are going to make mistakes. Remember this is normal and ok. Forgive yourself when you do, learn the lesson, and then move on.
Take Risks, Stretch Yourself Daily – humbly I say, most women have a hard time taking risks because of our fear of not being in control or safe, and that comes from (in most situation) other underlining issues. Although taking risks can be challenging, it is necessary for our spiritual intuition and feminine emotional intelligence development.
Bounce Back Baby – When you take risks and fail, if you quit, you continue to play small. But, when you bounce back by figuring out what went wrong, adjust, and then try again, you’re on the path to playing big.
Get Help and Build Your Team – again remember that you were not created to be, live, and do everything alone. You were created in and for relationship. When this becomes your number one priority it becomes ease to find your mentor/coach, community/tribe, accountability partner and group to help you stay on track and continue to move forward in being who you were created to be.
These are just a few ideas I have to helping you stop playing small and make a decision to play BIG!
If you realize you are in a place where you need more support, check out my coaching packages and upcoming programs.
To Your Unlimited Success!