I often feel I’m offered up circumstances as a ‘test’ to see where more learning is needed, or how far I’ve come. This most recent ‘test’ offered up a bit of both.

I was the lucky recipient of ‘free’ Facebook ad dollars, but when I checked my ad account balance, I discovered –GASP– this ‘free’ credit expired in 12 hours. Mind you, I can quickly whip up a print ad, but placing social media advertising is a whole different animal.

But…what the heck. No sense wasting an opportunity, so I did my best and created a “boosted post”.

And then this happened…

  • People signed up for my free offer (I’m not talking hundreds – a handful).
  • I began getting requests to join my Facebook group.
  • I panicked!

As I watched the number of ‘views’ surpass 10,000, I had a visceral reaction that reverberated through my entire body and in an instant triggered ‘old stuff.’ I wanted to hide. My Facebook group isn’t “good enough” yet. What if they don’t like my free offer? What if I didn’t set up my auto-responder emails correctly? What if…

And then it hit me…PLAYING SMALL IS EASY! Breath that one in. I sure did. Playing small means you get to hide, it means not putting yourself out there, it means staying in the comfort zone where you feel safe and in control (by the way, ‘safe’ and in ‘control’ in the comfort zone – it’s an illusion).

Here’s what I’ve learned and why I’m not choosing ‘easy’ anymore…

Self-doubt, my core issue, will always be lurking about. But it no longer has power over me. I feel it. I see it. I say, “not a chance you’re stopping me now!”

Criticism, I avoided any circumstance that may have brought criticism. With good reason. Being raised by a narcissist really messes a person up. Well, I am still messy – but I like my messy now and if someone else doesn’t, I’m okay with that, because I’m okay with myself. Will I bristle at criticism? Probably. I’m human after all—but like self-doubt, “not a chance you’re stopping me now!”

What if…no ‘what ifs’! I passed this test! My visceral reaction lasted only a few seconds (whereas before it would last for, umm…years). Instead I pivoted quickly out of panic to  – hey…I’m being me; I’m letting my light shine, I’m doing what I love and reaching those who most resonate with how I deliver what I’m passionate about and those that don’t, will find someone else who does.

To Find your Formula for Playing Big [Answer these 3 Questions]:

#1: First off let’s define big – well…I’ll define what it means to me, you define what it means to you.
Playing big means letting my light fully shine. Not dimming myself to avoid criticism and not letting self-doubt and “not good enough” become my story (and my distraction) for not moving forward – it means being more loyal to my mission and my well-being, than to my fears!
     What Does Playing Big Mean to you?

#2: Identify what makes you consistently uncomfortable or consistently triggers you. Self-doubt was my consistent trigger and let me tell you, I didn’t get past it without expert guidance. Somethings are just so stuck you’ve got to reach out for help.
     What’s Getting in Your Way?

3: Take small steps. Did you breathe a sigh of relief? To play big, to be successful, to be happy in your own skin, to do the things you’ve dreamed of (but were too scared to do or too ‘busy’ distracting yourself) doesn’t happen by waking up one day and saying, “today is the day!” No need to run a marathon—start with one step.
     What’s Your Next Step?

*Warning* This is when brain fog often settles in.
Questions like these, push you out of the comfort zone and into the ‘fear zone’. When we’re uncomfortable, our mind (bless its heart), will do everything it can to keep us ‘safe’ (aka, dim your light).

So, what is your next Step? Having that difficult conversation? Saying “no” to what’s distracting you? Talking your ‘next step’ fears over with a trusted friend? Asking for what you want? Setting healthy boundaries? Hiring a therapist, a coach, a mentor?

Whatever you choose, remember this – staying curious, keeps you out of stuck and moving through the ‘fear zone.’


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