Why Play Small?
It is not uncommon for coaches to attract clients who they have a natural synergy with. Maybe it’s about the energy they put out and therefore attract back, maybe it’s simply to do with their networks and lifestyles.
I started my coaching qualification a couple of years ago with an idea that I would be a life coach. I would support people with struggles and challenges in their lives through a coaching relationship and using my EFT Tapping (emotional freedom technique) qualification too.
However that’s not who I attracted. I have consistently attracted men and women, from people in mid management through to directors. All with a common thread of wanting something more. To be the best they can be. To be as happy as they can with work. But something has held them back.
Whether it’s a client who doesn’t know what to do next in their life but knows they can be more fulfilled, that there has to be more to life than an okay or even not okay job. That they can lead a more fulfilling, enriched and rewarding life. They just don’t know what on earth that is for them
Or a client who has achieved so much and find themselves in an amazing new position. But suddenly fears kick in – that many of us commonly label imposter syndrome. I’m not sure I can do this? What if they think I’m not good enough? Maybe I shouldn’t have done this.
We all go through life carrying the weight of lessons engrained in us from childhood – from interactions with our parents, siblings and from experiences at school. And those lessons play in the background every day throughout our adult life – like an invisible tape recorder holding us back. Limiting us. Devaluing us. Trying to keep us safe.
I have no rhythm, I can’t dance.
I’m not creative at all. I couldn’t do that.
You shouldn’t say/be/ do that.
I’d never be able to do that.
I’m not good enough.
That’s scary, not for me.
If I did that or say this I am worried what might happen.
What if it all goes wrong?
What would my partner/mother/father think?
That would be crazy/risky/stupid.
I could never be like him/her. I wish I was more like that but it’s just not me.
I hate speaking in public.
They may think I’m stupid.
We are programmed to play it safe. To be alert for anything that makes us feel unsafe, vulnerable or threatened. Which often means we stay in our comfort zones. Because, well, it’s comfortable. We are told from day one that taking risks is something negative, with consequences, and something to fear. So why wouldn’t we play small?
Play small – stay safe.
Don’t rock the boat.
It it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Keep to the path. Keep it simple.
Look after yourself.
All of these are just more lessons we learnt and carried with us through life.
So what’s the one thing my clients seem to have in common and I do too?
We’ve played small. We’ve played safe. We’ve followed the path. Yet we have reached an age or a point in our journeys where we know there is more, we could be more, we want more from our lives. And why not? Yet those invisible tape recorders play those silent hidden messages that are designed to protect us and keep us small.
Are you playing small?
If nothing could go wrong, you were 100% guaranteed success, no consequences, just every single thing fell into place and you could be the best at something and have an endless supply of customers or clients and love what you do every single day. Earning more than enough. You could quit the day job today and wake up tomorrow at the top of your game doing something you never dreamed would be possible….what would you be doing?
Just stop. Take five minutes to breath and ponder it. And every time a ..yes, but…comes up – replace it with “yes, and…”
Sometimes just saying it out loud. Putting it out there in words. Can flick a switch inside you. Start you on a journey you never though possible.
So don’t play small. For just two minutes suspend all those inner dialogues and just put it down in writing – what would you be doing if nothing could stop you?