When we play small we limit not only ourselves but those around us. Playing small does not serve the world. You may think that by playing small you are keeping those around you happier, but thats just not true. Today I want to share with you a story of something that happened to me last week and then my opinion on playing small and how we do it in various areas of our lives, and how we can get out of the habit of doing it. If there is an area of your life that you feel like you aren’t progressing in, then chances are you are playing small in that area. It’s time to play BIG!
Playing Small Does Not Serve The World
Welcome to episode 46 of the entrepreneur playbook podcast.
Lots of you will already know that one of my favourite quotes is this by Marianne Williamson…
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. 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, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
And in this episode I am going to share with you a story of something that happened to me last week and then my opinion on playing small and how we do it in various areas of our lives.
Last week I went away with lululemon to their Ambassador Summit, and it was brilliant. 3.5 days of yoga, personal development and connecting with some amazing people. If you don’t follow me on Instagram you may have missed some of the images and stories, so first of all follow me @chriswrighthq and I’ll load up some images to the blog version of this.
Now have you ever noticed that when you go on courses, or watch something, every person can take out different messages and learn different things all from the same content? Crazy huh.
But for me the theme that I heard over and over again on this trip was….
Playing small does not serve the world!
And one of my favourite moments of those 3 days was a moment where we were going through an exercise.
We were talking about who or what situations take your power away. And I had written down an answer in my notebook.
I was paired up with Lindsay, and about 5 seconds ago, was the first time we had met, and I am now facing her telling her some personal headtrash, about who I think takes my power away and what I can do to make sure it doesn’t happen.
I read out my answer, smiled with a sense of achievement, thinking “yes I have done it, let’s move on”.
In this moment she could have accepted my answer, played it safe to make sure she didn’t piss off this guy she had met 15 seconds ago, and just carried on with the next part of the exercise.
But that wouldn’t have benefited me. Yes I MAY have felt better in the moment but it wouldn’t have served me in anyway.
Instead, she did what she needed to do to truly serve me. She challenged me. I was playing small and she pushed me. She told me, plain and simple. “That’s not it! Go again.”
And I freaking loved it!
The first time she said it, I laughed, and went, ok, how about this. Again she looked at me, and said… “Nope! That’s not it either. Try again”
She pushed me to go deeper and deeper, until I came up with the real answer, and my mind blew wide open. The actions I needed to take were clearer than ever, the why was clearer, everything just clicked.
And yes while in that moment I may have been uncomfortable and challenged, I got so much more benefit from that moment of being challenged than I would have if she had let me get away with my bullshit answer.
Does that make sense?
I had played small with my answer. And it didn’t serve me.
She could have played small, to keep me “happy”, but she didn’t, that wouldn’t have served me.
So let me ask you….
Who do you need to be to truly serve those around you?
Are you playing small to keep people “happy”?
I see it, it being playing small, ALL the time… and it drives me NUTS!
So in that scenario I just described, it was about not playing small for others around you. But what about for yourself?
Let’s take this to a couple of completely different scenarios…..
Think about this…
When someone compliments you on an outfit, often the first thing people say is, thanks it was only £10 from Primark…
I am like… i didn’t ask how much it was, I said you looked bloody good in it. You don’t need to justify anything to me, or play it down. Just accept the dam compliment.
Playing small doesn’t make me feel better. Telling me it only cost £10 doesn’t make me feel better, and it shouldn’t make you feel better either.
People get embarrassed by setting big goals.
Or they set goals that they know are easily achievable. That’s the definition of playing it small. That’s just playing it safe. You get no benefit from going after things you know you can already do.
Which means you won’t grow. You won’t improve.
Push yourself, challenge yourself.
Set goals that force you to grow!
Celebrating Successes & Talking About Them
People often get really uncomfortable talking about successes with friends. They play it down. They move the conversation on as quickly as possible. Or they will talk it down.
People would genuinely rather talk about the pains, the things that have gone wrong, the frustrations than the successes with their friends. They will talk about those things all day long.
How ridiculous is that?
That is NOT an inspiring place to be!
The more you talk yourself down, the less you will need to do it in the future.
Why? Because your mind will make sure you get to that place of struggle, you won’t need to talk yourself down as you will already be there.
In Our Actions
I know I have played small in actions I need to take in my business out of fear of what other people will think.
We all do things like this.
But for me, playing small in this scenario was stopping people getting what I believe to be valuable content that could help them. Who gives a shit if 100 people think the content I put out is crap, if 1 person gets value and takes their life to the next level, then its totally worth it!
But what about other areas of your lives? Your health, your relationships.
Let me ask you…
Where in your life, in your business, in your relationships, in your health, are you playing small?
I want you to come up with one or two areas that you know you are playing small and set yourself, new goals, or actions to do daily perhaps that will challenge you.
For me this comes back to Jim Rohn’s quote of “You are an average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”
You can decide to play small and lower the average bar of your group. Or you can decide to play full out and raise the bar!
How To Become Aware Of Where You Are Playing Small…
Start being intentional in your actions and words. Start listening to the topics of conversations amongst your friends and work colleagues.
Are you playing small? Are your actions and words raising the bar or compounding the negativity around you.
Set Goals That Truly Inspire you
Take a look at all areas of your life. Which areas don’t you feel you are progressing in right now? Chances are those are the areas you are playing small in.