What it Means to Play Big
What kind of reaction do you encounter when you want to show up in your fun-loving, irreverent, bold, and audacious self?
Let me give you two examples from my own life:
Example 1: I was at a conference where they had a Western photo booth set up. I wanted the photo to show me in some sort of wild and fun pose, like maybe chugging a bottle or shooting up the saloon. However, the photographer wasn’t having any of it. I had to behave, stand in front of the backdrop without smiling, and let the photographer take the photo she wanted.
Example 2: Las Vegas. Front Row seats at a Terry Fator performance. The pre-show had some great dancing music. Dancing music. I stood up and danced to the beat of the music. I felt bold and free. Unfortunately, I was making my friend very uncomfortable by my display (it could have been my bad dancing). I was strongly encouraged to take me seat and be good.
A wonderful blog post appeared in my inbox from Lael. It made me stand up (okay, not really stand up, since I read the entire thing while sitting in my office chair) and take notice. And rethink my thinking. And ponder the significance of what it means when I say I want to ‘play big’ and what it means when I write about it or talk about it.
“Every time I hear a woman say that she wants to "play big"—and I hear that a lot—it breaks my heart a bit. I know what she means, and yet...it implies that it's something she's trying on, rather than something that's inherently hers already...from birth. She was born—indeed I believe we ALL are—with a bright light.” ~ Lael Couper Jepson
Is this a subtle acknowledgment that we are small and we have to transform ourselves into something else so that we can ‘play big?’ Do we need a makeover of some kind? Or does it mean that we need to simply recognizing our true essence, which is already big?
When you say or when I say “I’m ready to play big” does that mean we want to start living unapologetically? Does it mean we want to acknowledge and appreciate our gifts and talents and ideas without worrying that other women will think we’re ‘full of ourselves?’ Does it mean that we’re ready to show up authentically without keeping our opinions, dreams, and desires a secret?
Women tend to worry about being too bold, too audacious, and too confident as if that’s a bad thing. We confuse confidence with being arrogant, we confuse being assertive with being aggressive, and we confuse being bold with showing off (and OMG, maybe being shallow!!). Men don’t apologize for being who they are. If they are good at something, they celebrate it. And find ways to make money from it. And they slap each other on the back when they do something awesome. But women don’t.
As women, when we get complimented for our talents, we tend to deny or minimize. We say, “Oh, it’s nothing, really”, or we deflect with humor or detract by changing the subject. We simply don’t allow ourselves to feel what it feels like to be recognized, admired, appreciated, and applauded.
Here's what I've heard over and over again for years – and I was a master at deflecting and denying.
- You are such a great storyteller
- You are so funny, you should be a stand-up comedienne
- You have a way of making things so understandable
- I feel calmer and more peaceful just being around you
- You are a healer
- I’m inspired when I listen to you
I built a wall that wouldn’t allow any of these accolades to penetrate. After all, I’m nothing special. And that’s what I looked like when I played small. I didn’t want to seem boastful or better than anyone else or [god forbid] egotistical!
What have people told you all your life? Do you make people feel comfortable? Are you great at decorating or re-purposing something old and helping make it look new again? Are you good at asking questions? Are you a good listener? Can you create your own mouth-watering meals without the use of a recipe?
Because here’s the thing. ‘Playing big’ is what we are here for. We knew it when we were young but somehow we got the message that it wasn’t dainty or ladylike. We had to learn how to play small and fit in and hide our light, but playing big is in our DNA. That means we don’t really need to learn – we simply need to come out of hiding.
We need to take off the ‘mask’ of small and share our true face. And when we are living from a place of confidence, we are actually serving our purpose. We are serving the world. We are unstoppable. And that’s part of living your aligned life.
‘Playing big’ is about embracing who you are and who you’ve come here to be. It means accepting yourself…all of yourself. It means recognizing your needs and making sure they’re fulfilled instead of plastering on a smile and pretending. It means embracing your self-worth, not for what you do but for who you are.
You dazzle me!
Say YES to yourself by being bold and showing up!
Hi, I’m Janet and I’m all about helping you to awaken to your value, wholeness, and connection to the divine. And I do this by teaching and guiding you back to the truth of who you are and who you came here to be. Left to our own devices, most of us don’t know how to begin or where to start. We can’t see beyond our blind spots. That’s where I come in.
With decades of coaching, teaching, and mentoring success, I bring my clients what they need to crush their excuses so they can amplify their impact, boost their self-confidence, connect with their calling, and live their aligned life.