5 Tips Because You Insist on Playing Small & Success is on the Line

Since you insist on playing small, I guess this needs to be addressed.

Where I see opportunity to grow, you see opportunity to die. When I see a way forward, you see a way into a trap. I remember that I am stronger and capable of doing something I've never done before, and all you remember is when my strength has failed me and it didn't end so well. In my mind I create a path to an exciting future, and you try to destroy the dream because you say it's not guaranteed and anything can happen along the way. I want to join the crowd and be part of the conversation, and you say I'll embarrass myself and look like a fool, cause I don't have anything important to say.

I have to call this out for what it is. You're trying to sabotage my best efforts. You want to play small in every possible situation and to be honest, it is exhausting. I understand you are afraid, and I see that uncertainty makes you uncomfortable. The thought of trying something new gives way to anxiety and you mean no harm. I want you to know that I appreciate all that you do for me. I am grateful that you love me and try to protect me. I love you also and will never do anything to harm you either. You are part of me and deserve to be seen and heard.

This the kind of inner dialogue and sparring match I find myself up against almost daily. The surprising part in all of this is that from the outside maybe I appear calm, confident, decisive, and laser focused. In reality, I am in a daily battle #mevsme.

Today's journal is the combination of advice from a few amazing women I know.

There is something powerful about acknowledging the voice of doubt and fear in your mind. She (or he) is screaming out for a reason. Acknowledging that inner voice's doubts and fears and reassuring that part of yourself that you hear them, you validate them and can reassure that part of you that it's okay. Speaking to yourself in a parent-child role, or from your higher self to your lower self can be really helpful, even if it sounds borderline crazy.

The truth is, we are complex beings. Wherever you are on your personal journey, if you are like me, you've probably been playing small and allowing your doubts and fears to call the shots and direct your actions for too long. As we come to realize the power within we've had buried since birth and stop playing small it's scary. Suddenly we're out in the deep end of the pool and have to learn to swim to survive because these are new experiences.

"A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Because that inner voice insists on playing small you have to learn how to speak to that voice. For a while I have fought back and ended up in the equivalent of a screaming match. Neither of us were heard and both walk away hurt on some level. When your inner voice insist that you play small here are a couple of tips that may help you:

  1. Recount the times you've done similar or felt similar fear and doubt and came out ahead and on top. Remind yourself who you are capable of being.

  2. Acknowledge the doubt and let the voice be heard, and say "I know why you feel that way but let's look at the good things that are possible."

  3. Remind yourself that failure is an opportunity to learn that is welcome.

  4. Let yourself know that everything you've ever done was a little scary the first time, and it's okay to not be totally sure of what to expect and every detail.

  5. Sit a few moments in silence and just breathe. Take a moment to envision yourself as powerful and capable and then do the thing.

Dr. Benjamin Hardy quotes Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and says "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” Check out his article discussing How to Upgrade Your Subconscious "Normal" Every 90 Days, where he explains how 95% of our behaviors are determined by our subconscious mind.

I am choosing to reframe and remember that when doubts arise and fears creep in or linger in the background that all of these things are new experiences stretching me out of my comfort zone, some farther than others, and that is pretty cool.