Playing Small

DO YOU PLAY SMALL? Do you take chances in your life? Do you explore the fullest potential that you are capable of being? Are you participating in choices that place you first? Does what others think steer your decision making process? Are you doing what is expected or what your heart desires? Could you risk it all for YOU? Would you be willing to put everything on the line to fulfill a dream? Who or what is holding you back?

Playing small is when you have an idea, a wonderful one, that energizes you, but gets discarded for reasons of practicality, laziness and/or lack of confidence. It is living life from a sense of monotony and resignation. It is the way people act to not stand out and be noticed in the crowd. It is the mannerism that protects us from being gossiped about or judged. It is the decisions that make us feel depressed about life and bored. It is the choices that are fear based because we are afraid to take the risk on ourselves.

The authentic self stands in its power. It does not know how to play small. It does not care what people think. It is not the status quo. It is the visionary, the rebel, the inventor, the leader. The authentic self makes decisions from the heart. She is bold and uncompromising. She has passion and nothing stands in her way because she believes all is possible. She takes steady steps toward a goal and trusts. She takes charge even when she is scared.

I walked through a forest this morning. The trees and foliage were unfolding beautifully with the warm weather we have been having. The rustle of leaves gently sang at my feet. Birds flew above me guiding the way with their chatter and direction. The babbling creek filled me in on all that was new with this world. And then there were the briars. Every few feet, I would end up trapped in a mess of briars. Some were large and very sharp. Others were small and easily broke away from their branches ending up in my pant legs. But the beauty that was beyond them had to be seen…so I kept working my way through the forest, briars and all.

Every time I would get snagged and held back, a little voice, inside my head, would say ‘ Is this really worth it? You do not need to go any farther. You have seen and done what you needed. Let’s go back home and do something else.’ But there was another voice, my heart voice, that said, ‘Look at this beauty. We have got to keep going. Can you only imagine what will be on the other side if we look at what we have been able to see already? And, there must be a reason the forest is trying to keep us back…It must be incredible.’ It was. At the end of the walk was an area that was lush and green. It was as if someone had dropped a piece of an African rain forest in South Carolina. The ground was spongy. The trees were breathing and butterflies danced in the air.

As I continued, I thought about the two conversations that had occurred inside my head and equated them to life. This walk was not much different than what we work through in our daily grind. There are often desires to do something, to walk a particular path, or endeavor in a special achievement. But along the way to such things, briars pop out to hold us back, to challenge us, to make the end of the journey that much sweeter.

The briars are there as people who tell us we can’t or that we are crazy for even considering such things. They are there to turn us around. They are there to dissuade, make us afraid, and take away our confidence. They are there to tire us out. They are there to ask, ‘Are you really committed?’ And if we continue moving forward, at some point, the journey comes to an end and we can appreciate where we have been and what we have done to get there.

What are all of the practical reasons you have convinced yourself of to play small? Who are you listening to, inside and outside your head, telling you that you cannot do what you desire to do? How is it serving you to diminish who you really are? Are you the type of role model for your children that you want them to grow up emulating? Are you teaching yourself to be bold and live beyond what you think possible? Are you willing to trust that there is something greater than what your limited mind can perceive, in this moment? Are you willing to take the risk? What have you got to lose?

There are those that do…

There are those that watch others do…

There are those that don’t know what to do…

There are those who ‘make a difference’.

There are those who watch others make a difference.

And, there are those who live in a state of numbness and do not know the difference.

There are those who PLAY.

There are those who ‘play small’.

And, there are those that sit on the sidelines and never play at all.


Until the next…Fashion Emergency!!!

Warmest regards,

Simran Singh