Playing Small

Earlier this year, I was tasked with giving a eulogy. Apart from the sadness of the occasion it was a wonderful time for reflection on a very long life of achievement; not of any remarkable academic or sporting or business success, as on the surface it seemed a humble life lived in service to others.

Yet within the life story were many examples of moments when there was a choice to play small or play big, and subsequently this person had positively impacted so many, many others in his long life.

When faced with the choice to play small or big, what do you do?

Let’s face it, playing big is scary. It usually requires moving out of our comfort zone, sometimes physically, sometimes metaphorically. It means being prepared to be vulnerable to attack from others, vulnerable to living life to our values, vulnerable to that treacherous word “failure”.

Redefine Failure

So how do we do it? Let’s start by redefining the word failure. Motivational speaker and author Tony Robbins defines failure as “not learning something”. So, even if nobody showed up, he would say “Let’s learn from this”, and thereby it was not a failure.

Kids learning to ride a bike aren’t failures when they fall over, they are still learning. We need to embrace the same attitude according to our own personal and professional development, and for our business ventures and projects.

Focus on Why

Secondly, focus on your reason for wanting to step up. This isn’t just about you. Who else are you playing big for? It’s always easier when you’re doing it for someone else.

For me, 2024 is going to be about Playing Big, and being in service to others to help them Play Big. What’s it going to be about for you?