For years, personal growth and business gurus have been urging us to “play bigger!”

Don’t play small! Go for the gusto! Dream big and reach for those dreams with everything you’ve got! Create your vision board and watch those visions become reality!

I tried playing this game for too long, thinking it’s what I needed to do to have a happier life: if only I could build my practice so I could reach and help more people, and make more money too!

I invested thousands of dollars in programs promising to help me get more organized, learn how to make and promote products that would allow me to “make money while I sleep,” and position myself as an expert and influencer (ugh).

Now, I didn’t necessarily buy into all of those promises and catchwords. But I did often let myself feel like something was missing or I was somehow lacking if I continued along the same path.

I saw healers and coaches who looked like they were hugely successful, saying pretty much the same things, and thought maybe that’s what I needed to strive for to serve more fully in the world.

But much of it never felt right to me. It was like putting on my mother’s 1980s era jacket with the shoulder pads – sure, it was well put together and “fit,” but it never truly fit who I was, who I am.

What I learned over time is that while growth is intrinsic to life, it also has its limits.

Think about it:

  • A tree in a forest might grow huge, but over time those higher branches might get struck by lightening .
  • Every farmer knows that in order to get a better yield on their peach trees the following summer, they need to prune them back at the end of the growing season in late fall.
  • If you leave certain lettuces in the ground into the heat of summer, they bolt and grow bitter.

Not playing big isn’t the same as playing small. It’s about knowing who you are and what truly serves you. It’s saying “no” when that’s your most positive response, and saying “yes” to what feeds and enlivens you, your heart, your spirit.

You only grow bigger when you become right-sized.

When I stopped buying into the rhetoric that I needed to play bigger (which always meant someone else’s definition of bigger), I began to feel more authentic. Or, as I came to call it, more right-sized.

And when I did that, the growth I’d been striving for previously started coming to me naturally.

  • Connections felt more alive and heart-centered.
  • I was able to speak with conviction about what was important to me, and what felt truly helpful to share.
  • People who resonated with who I am happily referred others to me, and encouraged them to seek my help.
  • I began to enjoy the space and time I had to read, meditate, and daydream instead of feeling guilty for not filling my time with meetings and networking and outreach.
  • I found myself speaking up from a place of truly knowing my own mind and heart instead of pushing for what I thought others would want to hear. And, paradoxically, more people are responding to what I have to say.

Where in your life have you found yourself striving to play a bigger game, yet feel like you’re always falling short?

What one or two or even three things can you take off your plate, off your mind, off your heart? Where can you prune back so fresh growth can occur?

What steps can you see yourself taking on the road to becoming more right sized?

When you truly own the size your unique sphere of influence is meant to be, the more you’ll accomplish and the happier you’ll be with what that looks like.

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