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What Does Playing Small Mean?

What Does Playing Small Mean?

“How dare I play small. How dare I don’t go as big as I possibly can.” – Trav Bell

When we play small, we are living our life in a state of fear. Our actions become motivated by our low self-worth, the need for outside validation, desire for temporary comfort, and avoiding those influences at all costs that cause us distress and trepidation.

Playing small is being indifferent and living in existence without passion. It is settling for a life that is ok but not great, existing but not feeling fulfilled.


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3 Uncomfortable Truth about Playing Small

3 Uncomfortable Truth about Playing Small

We’ve all done it. We’ve all dimmed our light and given our power away. It leaves the bitter taste of self-betrayal in our hearts. And it creates a false foundation for connections with others. The truth is that when we’re playing small, we give the green light to others to do the same. We show others that it’s not safe to believe in ourselves, and it’s selfish to explore our greatness. But what kind of legacy does this create? reading these words, are one of the game-changers. The change begins with each of us. And so, let’s break down why do we play it small in interactions with others.


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1. Desire to Be Loved and Accepted

1. Desire to Be Loved and Accepted

One of the biggest reasons for playing small is a desire to be loved, accepted, and understood. We emphatically feel what others want from us, and we give it to them, hoping it will bring us something. All this is masked as innocent. But let’s take a closer look at what happens here.


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The subconscious mind holds a belief that if you just figured out what others need or expect from you, you’ll be safe and loved. When we’re too big, too shiny, the mind sends us a signal that it’s too much. We’ve crossed an imaginary border, and it can remove the love or acceptance of others, so now we have to retreat into our shells.

But here is the truth, you can’t make others like you by being out of integrity with yourself. Others aren’t attracted to how small you can become – and if they do, then run and run fast. Others are attracted to that which makes you, you.


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2. Playing Small is Manipulative

2. Playing Small is Manipulative

Playing small is a subtle form of manipulation. Because when we play small in relationship dynamics, the truth is we want or need something from others. And we don’t know how to fulfill those needs on our own. So we project that need onto somebody else, raising them on a pedestal while shrinking ourselves. When we become someone else to get something from others (approval or even to avoid a conflict), we manipulate them by projecting a false image of who we are. Covering up the truth, which we believe isn’t good enough.


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By being kind, small, and submissive, the subconscious programming tells us we can get our needs met. But it’s time to stop playing small and step into your greatness. Playing small isn’t a good foundation for any relationship.

If being in your power means that someone gets upset with you, withdraws their love, then it isn’t a real bond between you and them. It’s built on illusions that are so fragile that the truth can burst them into dust.


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3. It Isn’t Enlightened, It’s an Ego

3. It Isn’t Enlightened, It’s an Ego

There is that pervasive collective belief that you have to suppress yourself continually to be enlightened. But this is not so. Because through suppressing the self, we can’t find the true self. Thus the ego keeps us in a vicious loop. When you know thyself, the false image of self falls away. It has no other option but to do just that. And so, when we’re playing small, we can sometimes fall victim to the ego’s idea that it’s spiritual. This false modesty and kindness are being projected onto others because we actually are afraid to dive deep to find out what we’re made of.


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This life is about finding inner alignment with the language of the soul. When we are connected to the center of our being, we know who we are and walk our path with integrity. Playing small limits the actual expression of the soul and give space for the shadow to rise.

Where do you play it small in your life?

What are you afraid would happen if you stepped into your full soul’s expression?

Which relationships would be shaken if you stepped into your power?

What might you be unconsciously trying to protect from by playing it small?


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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 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. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone, and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.



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What Is Playing Big?

What Is Playing Big?

By contrast to playing small, playing big is living a NO Regrets Life. It is existing in a state of high performance where we live to our true capability and aspirations. It is the willingness to face short-term discomfort head-on, knowing there will be risk and uncertainty but persevering nevertheless — It is the very definition of being Passion Struck.

“Playing big is living a NO Regrets Life. It is existing in a state of high performance where we live to our true capability and aspirations.” – John R. Miles


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It is feeling so passionate about your life and having the willingness to choose to pursue it and implement the steps it takes to achieve it. It is that feeling of being alive, experiencing a great love of self and others, and a sense of accomplishment and confidence. It ends up bringing feelings of greater freedom and a deep understanding of self.


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How Do You Play Big?

So how do we start playing Big? How do we take those steps we need to becoming passion struck?


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Envision the Experience

Envision the experiences you want most in your life — to feel accessible, alive, loved, connected, and have peace of mind. Envision how you will feel when your vision becomes your reality, and let the experience along the way be in service of this. Don’t think of your plan in a linear sense. Be willing to change your plan through your experiences.


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Face the Brutal Reality of Whatever you are facing

we need to face whatever obstacles and fears are holding us back.

It is vital that we stop pointing fingers at others and instead focus on how we will change. We must acknowledge our problems, ask ourselves what we want, then take action.


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Prioritize Your Plan

Once you envision the experiences you want in your life, you need to start prioritizing them. No one does everything on their bucket list or life-plan in a day or a week. It is about action stacking. By prioritizing your actions, you can sequence them in a way that allows you to progress on them. You can sequence them based on what is most important, on momentum, or whatever it may be.


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Stop Living For the Urgent

We live in a frantic state of mind instead of taking the time to calm down our state of mind. The movie called Sound of Metal about a heavy metal drummer who loses his hearing. One of the things that silence finally brought him was the ability to calm his state of mind. It is a choice between our old life and our new normal.


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Don’t Be a Visionary Arsonist to Your Dreams

How often do we develop life-changing ideas and aspirations only to burn them down through our actions? Whether intentionally or unintentionally, we create fires that burn down the very hope and aspirations we want out of life. This comes in many forms. It can be self-doubt, continually changing our plan, allowing beliefs to cloud our judgment, or losing focus on keeping the main thing the main thing. All of these are signs we are being a visionary arsonist to living a no regrets life.


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Take Personal Responsibility

We are responsible for our own happiness. No one will create it for us, and if we think that is the case, we will forever be dependent on others to bring us fulfillment. This is a powerless, victim mentality. Instead, put the focus on what you truly want and take personal responsibility for achieving it. This likely means you will need to audit out many of the people, influences, and habits that are keeping you stuck.


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Love Yourself Unconditionally

This starts with being kind to yourself. It’s a giant trap to attach our self-worth and well-being to our accomplishments and the judgments of others. When we have a negative self-image, it can create self-doubt and negativity that destroys everything we care about. It is vital to understand that your important relationship is with yourself. This is why it is so vital to be your own best ally.


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If You Find Yourself Playing Small

If You Find Yourself Playing Small

Let go of that idea that you will enjoy your bucket list “someday;” it is up to you to alter your mindset and live your life-plan now. It’s time to tap into the brutal reality that your past doesn’t define you and that you are part of something larger.

Joseph Campbell, an American professor of literature, said it best: “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”

Stop listening to your inner critic and start playing big.

We only get one shot at this life. It is time for you to make a choice, do the work, and step into your sharp edges.


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There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.



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Allow yourself to shine without the desire to be seen...


A universe where if you set your mind to it, you can achieve anything. Realize your life is NOT based on short-term discomfort. Rather, it is the sum of your hopes, dreams, goals, and aspirations. Slow down. Relax. And be grateful for what you have in life.


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