I had spent my whole life Playing Small.
From the outside, it may have not have looked that way. It might have looked like I was successful. But underneath I struggled with being “seen”. I wanted it, but was also afraid of it.
I was quiet in group settings. I was unassuming. I felt that people wouldn’t listen to me, so many things went unsaid. When I did speak up and then was not heard, I usually didn’t try again. As a kid, I stuttered.
I wanted a guarantee that whatever action I was about to take would turn out “right” before ever executing it. And I was indecisive. Because under the guise of indecisiveness, I had an excuse to avoid taking risks. I allowed myself to be limited.
And this limited everything.
Meanwhile I was always searching for the elusive “life purpose”. The last time I could remember TRULY loving my job was somewhere around 1999. Soon after that, I was offered a promotion. Then later on another promotion, and another. I had a lot of responsibility, and I did well. But in my heart, the only thing that mattered was when I had the opportunity to channel my energy into helping others.
7+years went by, and I learned a lot. Then another degree, a couple more jobs, and a handful more years came after that. Throughout, I was repeatedly plagued by discontent because I didn’t feel that I was engaged in genuinely meaningful work. Work that was uniquely mine to do in this world.
I was desperate, more than once. I quit and got other jobs. I backpacked around the world, mostly solo. I moved to new cities, three times. I tried to get a job working overseas, but failed. I started new degree programs and completed more certifications. And then I’d lapse into complacency again, remaining in whatever job or life situation I was embedded in at the time.
But the answers were there all along. I knew then, on some level, what I know now.
I noticed I wasn’t the only one Playing Small.
So many of my friends had amazing but unexpressed talents, and huge hearts. Yet they too, were frozen by self-doubt, past trauma, limiting beliefs, and more. This frustrated me. I was sad for them just as much, if not more than I was sad for myself. I wanted to help them too. And that motivated me even more.
My soul kept knocking, and the knocking got louder. I finally became so exasperated with my own inertia that I made a conscious decision to change.
I knew I couldn’t create the life I wanted unless I was able to take the risk of being known.
I made the decision to become more willing. Willing to be visible. Willing for my mistakes to be visible too.
That meant stepping more fully into my personal power, shining in my own unique way, publicly offering my services to others, plus learning to trust and use my intuition more than ever before.
Because I knew that my Playing Small was not only NOT helping me, but it was also not helping anyone else.
So I began to create a life that was in better alignment with my truest self, one that both nourished and energized me. One which made me stronger, and created space for me to help others do the same.
If I told you that this change happened effortlessly one day due to some magical epiphany, I’d be lying.
I have to work on it every day.
I work to open my heart, speak my truth, and to be ok with it. Sometimes I falter, slump back into inaction, and feel that same old trepidation. It continues to be a dance. I’m constantly working on my Inner Evolution, and my Outer Impact.