Category Archives: playing small

Getting Real (the real truth behind playing small)

I didn’t have anything to write for this week. I thought I did, but I’m still processing that piece with my mentor. It was longer, and I needed some feedback on whether it was too long for this weekly venue. (I’ve been a little mired in thought.)

I suppose I’m not surprised this has come up. Last week I started a 3-week workshop on being authentic in marketing. It’s about showing up and allowing yourself to be seen as you are. Exactly as you are. (Yikes!)

I’m not surprised that I found this workshop challenging at times; however, I was shocked by what I found surprising.

Firstly, let me say how difficult I find self-promotion to be. In a world where it seems to be rampant, I prefer to sit back, just be who I am, doing what I do, and trusting that the audience/clients/readers who need me will find me. While I don’t think that’s untrue, I also know that it’s not actually being in service of my gifts, or the Universe, to not make it easy(ier) for people to find me.

During the first week of the workshop, we were prompted to make mini-videos about our perceived weaknesses and strengths. We were invited to “get real” in a safe space, in order to normalize and even neutralize our perceptions of self. I thought my surprise would come from just doing videos, or talking about what physical attributes made me feel disempowered – but actually, all that was fine. In fact, it was empowering in a way.

It was only when it came time to discuss my spiritual gifts – my talents, abilities, and presence – that I was shocked by what happened next. I collapsed emotionally, because I had an ‘A-Ha! moment’ – an awareness that I could no longer deny.

On the one hand, I LOVE who I am. I love what I do, and what my soul’s purpose is. I cannot express enough how much I love my path and my journey. I intend to help many thousands, if not millions of people through my work. On the other hand, I hate anything to do with self-promotion, because it’s all so… noisy.

But then it hit me:

By not engaging in (aligned) self-promotion in order to be accessible, I am disavowing my gifts. I am essentially thumbing my nose at the Universe.

“Oh God! What have I done?”

It felt awful. This realization sent me reeling into a massive state of guilt, fear, shame, doubt, and anger and frustration. I reached out to two trusted friends and began the process of wading through the feelings, thoughts, and beliefs surrounding this situation – this realization.

I know now that I need a better plan. I need to find a method that is both aligned with who I am (aka: not noisy) and allows me to be seen fully for who I am, and what I’m here to do – my contributions to the world.

Before last week, I was content to play small, because it was “anti-noisy.” It almost felt altruistic. It’s easy to stay safe and small when you’re against something obnoxious. It’s much harder to do when you realize that by doing so, you’ve actually been going against something even greater. In fact, it was heart-breaking.

So, while I don’t know what all this means yet or how it will unfold, I know one thing is for certain: playing small disavows our gifts, which then disavows the Universe. It would be like someone handing you the winning lottery ticket, and you replying with, “No, no, I’m good…” It simply doesn’t make sense. And yet, we all seem to do it at some point in our lives.

Whether you are an artist, a lawyer, a teacher, a social worker, a parent, a spouse, or anything else you might be – if you’re playing small in your role, you are disavowing the gifts that have been given to you. You’re tossing them aside and taking them for granted. I know. It’s what I’ve been doing. Hurts to say, but I titled this post “Getting Real” for a reason.

So, now I’m off to plan my roadmap to greatness, away from playing small and into a space in which I am embracing my gifts and all the potential that has been given me. A place in which I am visible, accessible, and living my life’s purpose. I don’t know what this map looks like yet, I just know that it’s time to start heading out, deliberately, and in alignment with who I am. (Still don’t plan to be “noisy.”)

And I invite you to do the same. If you’re playing small, and your heart wants you to go big – maybe it’s time to create your own roadmap. And maybe we’ll cross paths on our respective journeys and journey along together for a while. Until then…

xoxo