Confession time. I've been playing small lately. Falling into this pattern that I do to hold myself from breakthroughs, growth, and new horizons in my life. I go there because it feels safe. Like a monastery in a forrest and my meditation practice. Playing safe feels like a cocoon I could stay in forever. Or at least that's the story my mind tells me.
The truth is that playing small is just as uncomfortable as allowing myself to step into greatness, but in the end everyone looses. It's uncomfortable because I know I'm playing it safe and I've committed to doing otherwise. It's uncomfortable because I know when I end up in a playing small pattern I'm on the edge of a huge breakthrough that I've worked so hard for. It's uncomfortable because it's self sabotage. Undoing the hours of hard work and energetic pouring out of my heart to get to where I am.
What do I mean by playing small? For me it's a survival mechanism that gets triggered when I'm scared. When I fear being judged. When I fear being attacked. When I fear failure. And it comes up at moments when I'm working on something I care about the most. Since moving to living a life where my passions are my work it's a pattern I have to monitor. Because my work is now my heart bared to the world in the palm of my hands.
More than a year ago I had the inspiration to create an online group coaching program. Instead of pursuing it, I jumped ship and drove cross-country to stay in a monastery. My safe space. Fear is not the only reason I took space from DC for three months, but in retrospect, I can see that it certainly played a part. I was scared to death that if I left my government job I'd fail to support myself. I was scared that people would call me a phony. I was scared that people would see me growing and try to attack and tear me down as I finally broke out of my cocoon. I was scared that if I finally showed my true colors, unlocked the creative soul inside me, revealed the coach, the healer, the guide, the teacher, that the world would eat me alive.
When I was on my trip last Fall I committed myself to walking straight into my fears regardless. I decided that despite the demons of fear lurking in the corner trying to whisper things in my ear, I'd walk forward into the great Unknown. Trusting the pull deep inside of me was for a reason. Trusting that people who recognized my gifts and how they were changing their lives were right. Trusting that the inspiration coming to me was meant to be shared. And so I leapt. Into the Unknown. And what happened was miraculous. I successfully transitioned from a government job to pursuing my passions full time. I served as an instrument for big changes in peoples lives. The love I felt for myself and others expanded tenfold. And the dreamer inside of me believed pursuing big dreams was absolutely possible.
So how did we end up here? A place where the demons of fear are lurking in the corner again trying to whisper in my ear? I started taking some new steps in my life. First, life pulled me into energy healing. I started doing healing on others as a part of my certification requirements and to increase my intuition for my own healing process. As usual, a funny thing happened. The people I gave healings to had transformative experiences and told me how special of a gift I had as a healer. They told their friends and family and I started getting requests streaming into my inbox for healings. I was both excited and petrified. Excited because all I want to do in this life is support others in their healing journey. In creating their most wonderful lives. To experience more love and joy. And to step into their own greatness. To stop playing small. And then I was petrified because the Universe was inviting me to step out do just that in an even bigger way. My ego wanted to shrivel up and play small. Because of the same fears again...failure...judgement.
I also put together the online group coaching program that had been swirling in my mind since last year and finally became solidified in January. I started getting applications for the program pouring in within the first 48 hours. People were as excited as I was about the magic that can happen in a group with coaching support to choose joy. After all, it's a program I wish I had experienced myself many years ago. As people started applying, fear started whispering in my ear again. I wanted to send notes to people, call friends and family, and shout from the roof tops about this program. Because all I want to do is support people to experience more joy. But again, I was scared. I feared failure...judgement. So I announced the program and then started withdrawing back into a corner and didn't follow through on the outreach I had planned.
Here's the thing. I'm committed to get off this train of playing small right here, right now. Which is why I'm writing this blog. One, to publicly share my fears. Second, to ask people to hold me accountable to sharing the gifts I've been given because we all are better off when we share the gifts we've been given. Third, to step back out of my comfort zone of the playing safe corner into the discomfort of standing in my own greatness. And most of all fourth, to inspire others to do the same.
My coach is right when she told me "Marci, don't hide your gifts. It's not fair to others. It's not fair to yourself. It's a disservice to everyone." When we hide our gifts, our greatness, the world is a bit dimmer. When I imagine what the world would be like if we all showed up to share the gifts we were given and stand fully in our greatness I see a world where people who need support in their healing journey are healed. Where artists who are scared to share their magic have the courage to share the beauty inside their soul through the sounds of their music, strokes of their brushes, and pages of their books for all of us to be awestruck. Where engineers are able to create the most innovative solutions for some of our greatest problems. Where researchers are able to find cures for our most devastating illnesses. Where people who have stopped dreaming dream again. It's a pretty beautiful place. And it's possible if we all show up.
Here's what I want to do. I want to invite myself and anyone else who feels inspired to read this to make a pact together. Let's make a pact to do the following:
- Support people who are sharing their gifts. Emotionally, socially, financially, spiritually. In any and all ways.
- Notice when we or someone we know is playing small and have the courage to call ourselves or someone we know to step into their greatness.
- Share. Our. Gifts. No matter what.
My game plan for stepping out of the corner of playing small is sharing this blog, contacting people to share how excited I am about the upcoming program to fill all of the group slots, publish an article I've been working on about practicing joy, and telling more people about the transformational work I'm doing in my life so that even more people can be supported in their healing and dreaming big journeys.
Here's a question for you...are you playing small? If so, how? And why? What stories is your mind telling you to hold you back? What is impossible when you play small? What is possible if you step into your greatness?
If you are ready to step out of playing small, to have the courage to share your gifts, and to experience more joy in your life, I'd love for you to join me in October with a powerful group of individuals all committed to doing the same. Together we can create a brighter world by shattering fears, letting go of playing small patterns, and stepping into our greatness. Why don't you join me?