The concept of ‘playing small’ struck me between the eyes this year.
I’d spent several years dancing at the edges of what my niggle was. (I say niggle, but I was regularly lying awake at night, sweating over my general life dissatisfaction.) I was successful, but never, ever satisfied.
No amount of job changes or freelance business rebrands or reading of blogs such as Zen Habits or the starting of new projects (even a quickly abandoned Masters degree) had slayed whatever gremlin lay at the core of my overwhelming frustration.
Then early in 2015, confined to bed while recovering from an unexpected operation, I stopped my bullshit. I did some serious work on my values, my desires and my deepest, darkest fears. It was challenging and revealing and, at times, fucking confronting.
Because I learnt that I’ve been playing small.
This simple revelation sits at the core of all of my anger and frustration and discontent.
And why had I been playing small?
Because I was terrified of my own power.
Friends and colleagues would already describe me as powerful and influential; but I know that they don’t know the half (the tenth!) of what I feel inside myself. I recognise now that I’ve always pulled back on my personality, tamed my craziness, hidden my darkness, played ‘dumb’, and kept my business at a certain level… and for what? To avoid offending or frightening people who are not like me; to avoid making them feel insecure. It’s taken me until now to realise the high personal price I’ve been paying for that approach (and the highest price of all is the wasted opportunity to help others stop playing small, to liberate others through my own liberation). But, no more.
If, like me, you’ve always felt you were powerful – pictured powerful things when you were a little girl (the 7-year-old me imagined floating above the planet with my wings wrapped right around it), felt immense energy within your adult self that’s dying to get out and expand – but you’re stuck and frustrated and seeking and scrabbling for why the hell you feel this way, I urge you to look at whether you’re keeping yourself small simply because you’re scared of your own power and what will happen when you let it go.