Hello, my amazingly gorgeous readers! I hope you’re having a fab day!
I’m spending a great day reading by the pool, sipping my kombucha and writing some posts for Y’all that have been bouncing around in my head.
I’ve been spending a lot of time reading about self-help, leadership and female entrepreneurialism. I was baffled because each book I read, even though they were all about different subjects, kept mentioning the same thing…living small, being small or acting small.
So, of course, I asked myself “do I do that”? Do I live small by telling myself that my dreams are too big or that I just don’t have the talent/drive/focus whatever it’ll take to reach them?
I know I’ve definitely played smaller at work so that I don’t ruffle any feathers or get labeled a “bitch”. I can’t count the number of times I’ve allowed myself to be treated poorly, talked over or had too much work pushed onto me.
Women who are assertive in the workplace are frequently labeled as a “bitch” when men who act the same way are just “good leaders”. That double-standard sucks and I always thought it was one of those things that have been blown out of portion by the media, but once I entered the workforce I learned how commonplace that line of thinking really is.
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What are some ways you might be living small?
- Not sharing your ideas because you think that they might not be good enough or well-received
- You avoid confrontation. Sometimes getting that promotion you want means throwing your hat in the ring and going up against a pal you have in the office. Other times it means telling your neighbors that they need to stop smoking skunk weed and get some of the good stuff because you’re sick of the apartment building reeking constantly.
- Limiting your dreams because you don’t think they’re achievable
- Not being assertive in the workplace (man or woman) because you don’t want to be seen as bitchy, domineering, bossy, etc. *The other extreme of this isn’t good either, but that’s a post for another day.
- Not rising to the occasion in your workplace because you don’t think you have the skills to achieve it.
- You wait to be asked. You don’t share your opinion from the get-go, you always go last at whatever you’re doing as you wait for everyone else to go first, you don’t ask that girl out on a date for fear of rejection. If you sit by and let life happen to you then you’re losing out on all the great things you could have achieved if you had just stepped forward. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There is no such thing as lucky people. It’s just people who take all the chances they’re given.
- You’re a dreamer with very little action. You can plan what you want to do until the end of days, but if you never take any actions to bring those plans to life you’ll never get anywhere.
All of the above are ways in which you might be living small. You can stop living small by stopping these behaviors, but that can be difficult when you don’t know why you feel the need to be living small in the first place.
After thinking about it for a little while I realized my reason is that I’m afraid of embarrassing myself. I’m afraid I’ll put my idea out there in a meeting and be laughed at or try to reach my dreams and come crashing down after failing.
Knowing why I’m living small allows me to get some perspective. I can tell myself reasonably that I will never have the impact I wish to have on the company I’m in if I don’t speak up about my ideas. Ideas that have been appreciated and celebrated in the past. Ideas that I’ve seen be effective in previous companies I’ve been a part of.
I can also remind myself that if I don’t try to achieve my dreams then I’ve already failed. Who’s really going to remember if I try my hand at being a successful blogger, writer, whatever, and fail? People are way more worried about themselves than me.
Anticipating failure can actually feel a ton worse than actually failing and that anticipation can stop you dead in your tracks with fear.
So now that you know some of the ways that you might be living small I want you to write them out. Think about these reasons and actually try and see the logic behind them. I want you to determine if they’re worth the power over you that you’re giving them. My posts on journaling here and here can be really helpful if you want to learn more about yourself and what makes you tick.
Sure, being turned down for a date by the perky blonde at the bar or losing out on a promotion in your company to a colleague is going to suck the big one, but it’s going to suck a lot worse when Bob gets promoted to Sales Manager and you never even bothered to throw your name in the ring.
Ask yourself what you really have to lose by not going for something. This can be about trivial things like asking out that blonde girl or it can be about more serious things like whether or not to divorce your spouse.
People are generally not comfortable with the unknown, but the unknown is where most of the good things live. So in order to get what you want out of this one life, you have to be willing to feel uncomfortable sometimes.
I’ve gotten a lot better about not living small, but this was definitely an eye opener to see all the areas where I’m still letting my fear of failure and embarrassment cloud my judgment. I tend to keep my opinions at work to myself for fear of rocking the boat and I also try to go out of my way to make everything I say sound as sugar-coated as possible so that I’m not deemed a “bitch” by my coworkers.
By editing all my behavior for fear of embarrassment, rejection or judgment I’m making myself small. Unnoticeable. That also means I’m letting my goals, aspirations, and desires take a backseat.
Spend a day taking note of all the times you “play small” during the day and then in the evening I want you to review those moments. Do you notice any patterns? Do you live small in interactions with certain people or in certain situations?
Now that you know know what your triggers are you can help yourself to figure out why these people or situations trigger your living small tendencies.
Knowing that I’m afraid to speak up in work meetings I can take that a step further and realize that I’m afraid of speaking up and saying the wrong thing that leads to embarrassment. I can reason out from there that embarrassment isn’t really a life or death situation and my fear of the situation is a bit of an overreaction.
Your body has a hard time telling the difference between true emergencies and ones that are just occurring in your mind. By going through the process of finding the triggers that cause you to live small and then dissecting them can help you figure out why they’re triggering you. This allows you to see that 99% of the time you’re overreacting.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not as simple as realizing you’re overreacting and then to move onto living the great, big, purpose-driven life you deserve, but a bunch of little steps is what adds up to one great, big step.
Have you found yourself living small? Let me know below because I want to hear all about it. The beauty of sharing your stories is that you quickly realize that you aren’t alone in the experiences you’re going through even though they can feel extremely isolating.
Please share this with those you care about and help them live a life bigger than they could have ever dreamed of.
Want to become your most kickass self? Check out my posts on the wellness trends you should be trying and what meditation can do for you. And if you’re up for the challenge check out my 30 Days to Your Most Kickass Self Guide. I hope you love it as much as I do!