“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 her's already...from birth. She was born—indeed I believe we ALL are—with a bright light.” ~ Lael Couper Jepson
A wonderful blog post appeared in my inbox today 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.
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 are ‘full of ourselves?’
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 “Oh, it’s nothing, really, or deflect with humor or even detract by changing the subject. We simply don’t allow ourselves to feel what it feels like to be recognized, admired, appreciated, and applauded.
Uh oh – is this about hiding our feelings?
I’ve heard the same things 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 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 (and need I say badass?) we are actually serving our purpose. We are serving the world. We are unstoppable.
You dazzle me!
Janet works with badass women who don’t yet know they are badasses who struggle with putting everyone else first and themselves last and would like to reclaim their power so they can trust their brilliance, explode into their boldness, and create their badass life.
What separates her service from other coaches is that she effectively blends humor, inspiration, and encouragement with practical tools and innovative strategies. And because of this, clients receive the clarity and self-confidence they need to say ‘yes’ to themselves for a change and live the life they didn’t dare to dream of.
Believing in you and your possibilities
Janet Kingsley is an effective 'Belief Change Expert' who helps clients transform frustration to focus, confusion to clarity, and self-doubt to self-confidence.