In your career, do you play small or go big? If you tend to shy away from giving it your all, you’re not alone. Almost 70% of the population is satisfied going along to get along.
In my years of coaching high achieving women, no matter how much success they have achieved, there is still a mindset of playing small, not taking their game to the highest level, and not seeking out the opportunities that will stretch them beyond their current comfort zone.
There are many reasons for this. Lack of confidence is number one, but beyond that is the inability to speak up and ask for what you want, hesitation on big decisions, or the willingness to take more risks. It keeps you playing small.
That can change. We are all born with extraordinary potential. Within each of us is the power to explore and develop our inner strengths, our intellect, and to create powerful meaning and influence in all that we do.
Playing a bigger game means you are hungry for something more. You are searching for fulfillment, and you are searching for greater meaning and purpose.
If you want to share the fruits of your knowledge and experience with others and make a difference in the world you must stretch beyond your comfort zone and be prepared to stand up for what you believe in. You must live up to your greatness.
Being in your greatness doesn’t mean you are better than others. It simply means you are living authentically. You are living from the core of your being, stripped of all false beliefs, facades, and limitations you have placed on yourself. It is the place of power that exists within all of us. But so many are afraid to go there.
When you start to live up to your power it can be a scary place at first because there is nowhere to hide. But why would you want to? What do you have to hide? You are a magnificent being in mind, body and spirit, and the only person who can make you less than that… is YOU!
It took me a long time to realize I was constantly giving my power away to other people. I made them greater than me. I made them more talented, more beautiful, more caring, more, more, more. What I was really saying was, “I’m not good enough.”
Here’s what I know. When you invest your power in other people, they will willingly take it. When you make other people smarter, more capable than you, you are giving away your power. We frequently invest our greatness in the wrong people for the wrong reasons. We want to be validated. We want to know that we matter. When we are caught up in our own insecurity, we allow others to control our lives.
Stepping away from that is a huge challenge, but it can be done if there is a will to do so.
We all have self-limiting beliefs. For lots of women, there is a feeling that if I look credible on the surface, people will believe I’m competent. But there is always a sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop and be found to be lacking or incompetent.
The sad fact is that for many, there is a small voice inside that says I will never be good enough. It undermines our confidence and keeps us playing small. This is the stuff that most people don’t get to see, but we get to feel. It’s the core of most of our fears.
In my early days, I played small. Coaches would ask me why I I wasn’t living fully in my authenticity. I was more than competent at what I did. In fact, I was really good at what I did, and in moments of clarity I could feel it. After all, I had written five books, sung in front of thousands over the years, earned a black belt in karate, and red belt in Tae Kwon Do, and lived in many different countries. So why did I still feel that others were more qualified than me? Very simply. I undervalued myself. I didn’t believe in me.
Marianne Williamson said,
“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
When I finished my first book The Fearless Factor, I received an email from her saying she had no idea how she found herself with my manuscript but if I wanted an endorsement, here it was.
“The Fearless Factor is a blazing light at the end of all our worries. I found myself nurtured by every chapter I read.”
To be honest, I had to read that email twice to let it sink in. Marianne Williamson was endorsing me! Who knew!
It was clear that up until that point I was playing small to protect myself from the imagined ridicule, rejection or dismissal that would come from stepping up to the plate and saying, “Yes, I know what I’m doing. Yes, I’m pretty good at this. Yes, I have much to learn, but I’m excited to be still growing, and I look forward to it.
As one wise teacher told me,
“you will truly come into your own when you can reach a place where the approval of others is no longer necessary.”
I can confidently say, I’ve reached that place. I no longer need someone else to tell me I’ve done well. I know it at my core, and I embrace all of it.
You are playing a bigger game when you choose to be surrounded by people who are already playing at the top of their game, or you are creating something that is beyond your limited and local presence. You play a bigger game when you are willing to risk all to make a difference in the world.
You cannot move into your greatness without confronting your fears. You must confront the things that scare you the most if you are to grow to your full height and become the person you were given the tools to be.
This is Women’s History Month. Remember that women make history when they are willing to challenge the status quo and step up their game to be all that they can be to drive change throughout the world. In that light, we support all the women of Ukraine who are courageously defending their country from invasion.