Have you ever played small for fear of standing out? Maybe you know the answer to something at work or you have a talent or skill that is needed for a project, but instead of owning it you shy away from being noticed? Well, if you answered yes, don’t feel bad because I am right there with you. A friend recently brought to my attention that I, too, play small. Instead of owning my gifts or my knowledge, I often times choose to keep quiet. I choose to play small and pretend that I do not have the skill, the know how, or talent because it keeps things simple. I don’t have to be noticed. I don’t have to be brave or confident. Playing small is easy. Standing out takes guts.
Why do we do this? As twenty somethings, we want nothing more to succeed, to excel, to win, whether it be on our career paths or in our personal lives. We want success, but then why, oftentimes do we stray away from it?
Twenty Something Advice (for Anybody):
“Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine. As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson
The answer to that nagging question of why do we sometimes play small is simple: fear. That ugly monster inside our heads that tell us if we try, then we might fail. That constant nagging voice that tells us not to speak up at work for fear that we may be wrong. That dreadful feeling in the pit of our stomachs called worry that is concerned with what people will say if we succeed or fail.
Well ladies and gents, I’m here to tell you that the fear might always be there, but the cool thing about fear is that it is just an opportunity to practice courage. The more you practice stepping up, the smaller that little nagging voice of fear will become. You have a dream, take it and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
You cannot let the fear of striking out prevent you from trying. Truthfully, that is what the twenties is all about: trial and error. Feel free to explore, to wander and to mess up at times but don’t play small for fear of failing. Who cares what people think? Take that job interview. Start that business. Try out those night classes. Raise your hand in the next office meeting. Share your ideas and your pitches with your boss. You never know? You being bold about your own talents and expertise might just encourage others to do the same. Your next success story could be right around the corner.