Stop Playing Small
Do you have what it takes to make it happen?
“There is no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the you are capable of living” - Nelson Mandela
These words are so true! And spoken by someone that certainly did not have an easy path, but kept going and going, and he had an enormous impact on the world.
The reality is, success does not happen without risk! You have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable, to step up and define your own path so you can create the success you want and need. And it all starts with risk. This doesn’t mean that you have to “risk it all,” it just means that you have to take some risk — and honestly, when you think about it, there is risk in everything we do.
Taking risk means doing something you’ve never done before, especially something that you don’t know how to do. It means exposing yourself to the criticism of others — and believe me, they’ll let you know. It means, opening yourself up for learning, loss, exposure, and ridicule — again, trust, people will let you know their thoughts, even if you don’t ask. But that’s part of the journey.
Taking risk also means being prepared to walk alone and against the grain! It means getting rid of the safety and not accepting the status quo or what other people say, much less how they might fight against you. It means you have to stop playing small, step up, and go for it!
Consider Jeff Bezos for a minute. What if he played small? What if he had never taken the risk? Can you imagine a day without Amazon — talk about a life changing risk, he changed his life, your life, my life, and the entire world with an idea. He played BIG!
Consider Lauren Luke, a 16-year-old high school dropout and a single mom. In 2007, after much disappointment in life, she decided she would make a video tutorial of herself demonstrating how to apply makeup. Lauren stepped outside her comfort zone, took a bold move that led to YouTube inviting her to be one of their first video partners, that then led to her own cosmetic product line now available in over 135 Sephora locations worldwide. She has over 520K YouTube followers and her own Nintendo DS avatar. Talk about taking risk — and look how it paid off for her and her family.
Consider Rob Kirkbride, the editor of this publication, who a few years ago started the Bellow Press — without him, you wouldn't be reading this column and many other important articles about relevant issues and current challenges facing our industry.
Who do you know that stopped playing small, took a risk? Who have you seen fail, learn from it, and then get up again and keep going. Where are they now? What are they doing? How are they making a difference in the world?
Success is a choice — it’s a choice that starts with taking a chance, believing in yourself, and having the guts to make it happen. Against all odds, against all the naysayers — those people they say you can’t or that you’re crazy. It takes more courage, strength, and tenacity than you can ever imagine to stop playing small — trust me on this one!
But here’s the thing — it is within you to create your own destiny, pave your own path, and create your own success. All you have to do is start — take one step forward, one risk, one day at a time. Stop playing small. Be bold, be courageous, and go create your success — don’t wait on someone else to do it for you.