Are you playing small?
Do you ever find yourself saying no to something that could be really good for your business but there are plenty of reasons not to do it?
You don’t have time.
You don't quite have the experience.
Someone's probably already done it.
It’ll be a bit of a headache if it really gets going.
There are always a million and one reasons NOT to do something, not to take the risk, not to put the time in, not to take action.
But, when we tell ourselves that we don’t have enough time, energy or experience to tackle something - our conditions fall in line with the story we tell ourselves.
This isn’t some magical law of attraction sh*t.. it’s that when we create a narrative in our head, our actions align with said narrative and create the conditions of our life.
Last year was a tough year for me in some ways. I worked super hard, put self-care on the back burner and burnt myself out. And, so, I started saying No. A lot. I started telling myself that I didn’t have the capacity to take on any more, do any more, succeed any more.
And, let me tell you - my world quickly fell in line with that story.
Hard days started multiplying. I protected myself at all costs and leaned towards isolation. I took on just enough work, did just what I needed to get by, and did it all in the name of self-care.
Don’t get me wrong, burnout is a real thing and there are times where doing the minimum is required to get better. But, even long after I recovered from burnout, I continued playing into that resistance. I continued to tell myself that I didn't need to build a big thing or make a bunch of money or put myself out there. I shrunk.
Sometimes, we shrink because it’s just so much easier.
Expanding is hard. It’s painful. It changes our relationship with those we love, with our business and with ourselves. It forces us to think outside of current circumstance to imagine what’s possible. It requires us to let go. And that sh*t is hard to do.
Isn’t is so true that it’s easier to make ourselves so busy with tasks that we can react to instead of putting systems in place to clear our minds and days to really dream, and visualize, and create things that matter?
Fear shows up in some crazy ways.
I think there is one question that we can ask ourselves to help reveal whether or not we're playing small in our businesses:
How much space do you carve out in your day for connecting to your big picture vision and taking steps towards it?
I know that a bunch of reasons why you don't do this are flooding your head right now like... there's no time for that, I'm too busy with client work, I don't even have a big picture vision.
That's kind of my point...
Reacting is playing small.
Putting others before you is playing small.
Making ourselves too busy and wearing it as a badge of honour is playing small.
Putting off what's REALLY important to you is playing small.
I can’t even tell you how deeply I believe that we’re all here to do important work. Depth and meaning and culture are slipping away into our iPhone screens and we have a responsibility to do better than that.
I’m not the first to write about this and I won’t be the last but I can say that no matter how many times this message is perpetuated - it’s not enough. There are too many people holding back, shrinking, and playing small.
This is a call to wake up and consider what's really possible for you.
Yes, I’m a nerdy systems specialist but before I’m a systems specialist, I’m a caring, feeling, human with hopes and dreams. I’m passionate and generous and believe wholeheartedly that we all have something great to contribute to the world.
Make your art.
Don’t be afraid to fail.
Pick yourself up. Again. Again. Again.
Share your story.
We’re all scared. We’re taught to be. But, I promise you playing small isn't serving anyone.