Your Playing Small Doesn’t Serve the World

It was Marianne Williamson who said this in a passage from her book “A Return to Love” which has become an EXTREMELY popular inspirational quote and with good reason.

our deepest fear - Marianne Williamson

I think it resonates with the soul of anyone reading it. It forces us to reflect:

In what ways am I playing small?


I don’t know about you, but I never describe myself seriously using any of the words above. It makes me uncomfortable. I think that even if I might have some talent, it’s not enough. It sounds too boastful and we all know that we shouldn’t boast!

Why is it so difficult to look at ourselves and see what’s really there. Not just those things that we are critical about – but the other things that makes us “us”? We are at best self-deprecating…belittling and undervaluing ourselves…taking the edge off by laughing nervously. Makes us a little less anxious and masks our discomfort superbly. “Move the spotlight off me already – you’re being way to kind!”

There are those times when we clearly see our value, but we view those circumstances as unhealthy and describe it as us just being jealous.

  • When someone with less skill is promoted over us
  • When a colleague seems to be getting consistent work and your schedule is wide open like the Queen’s Park Savannah!
  • When the young intern who has NO EXPERIENCE seems to be getting all the attention and he/she doesn’t even have a degree!

At those times when we get into comparison mode – we see our value. We talk to our friends about it. Bitch over drinks on a Friday. You know – “I can’t believe that that dotish girl got promoted over me. I have more talent than she does….”

What’s that? Did I hear you correctly?

You’re acknowledging that you are talented and deserve better?

Darkness is useful. It helps us to see the light. Comparison darkness is useful. It helps you to see YOUR LIGHT.

Friends are useful…well the good ones anyway 🙂 …they remind us always that we have something to share.

Regardless of the encounter, people in our lives are either mirrors or teachers but we need to stop running from what we consider to be uncomfortable and unbearable and face whatever it is down, until it dissipates.

We need to learn to live with the anxiety of our incompleteness. We need to befriend the resistance that we feel daily.

I just went through a patch like that. In fact it occurred to me that I go through this patch every couple of weeks hahaha. Yet every time it happens, I treat it as a stranger when in fact it’s an esteemed guest.

Anxiety and resistance are par for the course.

Dr. Peter Koestenbaum calls it “The Anxiety of Freedom – the secret to courage “:

To gain your freedom, you must be prepared to be anxious. The result is centeredness. … To be centered is to have the feeling that you touch the ground of your being, the seat of the self, which leads to the miracle of self-validation or self-authentication. This deep faith, springing genuinely from the center, that you are basically right, legitimate—that you, as a child of the universe, belong here—is the true foundation of character, maturity, and emotional stability. The effect of claiming one’s freedom and the choice of energy (that is, to choose to be an energetic person) is centeredness, the peaceful feeling that one is living from the inside out. It results from choosing freely to withstand the anxiety that follows when we overcome resistance to the truth. …

Anxiety about freedom is a central aspect of the human condition. Deny it and you are stultified. Acknowledge your anxiety, let it go where it wants to go, and you understand that a human being is meant to tolerate anxiety. And you are equipped to do so—physically, morally, mentally, and emotionally. Surrender to your anxiety will make you free. Here is the secret of courage. It can be yours. It can change your life. It is your key to leadership.

Life is energy and it’s all about flow. We cannot contain or hide in our vessels and expect to win at this one life given. We cannot bottle ourselves up …waiting for a best time and place to reveal who we are. If we do that we stagnate. We become toxic…prone to dis-ease…we rot and die a slow death inside.

We need to share our ideas, our experiences, our art, our photography, our points of view, our dancing, our friendship, our “whatever bubbles up inside of us begging for its outlet into the world.”

Only when we heed this internal prodding (or sometimes external prodding, as in the case of my friend Anita who, when she hasn’t seen a blog post for a couple weeks asks me gently “when is the next post?” 🙂 ) can we make room for our real selves to emerge.

Marianne Williamson tells us that we have had a successful day when we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others.

I guess I have been successful today.

In what small way can you stretch yourself today? Playing small is causing you more stress than anything else that you think might be scaring you right now.

It’s time to play BIG!



You are not required to ALWAYS know…

To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge – Confucius

There will always be things that we don’t know.

When I was much younger, I was VERY sensitive around not knowing. If I pronounced something wrong and was corrected I was embarrassed. What’s worse is I remember some of those moments…I didn’t know about Gund bears and about the commercial with the line “Gotta get a Gund”…. I mispronounced Cajun and Michigan…

I see people doing the same thing. Getting defensive because they didn’t know something and rather than just saying “I don’t know” they create a smokescreen trying to divert you from their not knowing-ness.

Too much energy wasted. Too much time lost holding up a facade instead of holding open our brains to receive wisdom, that Proverbs tells us is on EVERY street corner.

James Altucher talked about not knowing in this post. His wife Claudia, said to him

Don’t put ‘I don’t know’ in your articles so much. It sounds false.

Breathe this in today:

Not-knowing is a state of being.

Be curious. Perhaps what you don’t know is what’s holding you back. What you don’t know may be preventing you from making sense of a situation. What you don’t know makes for a happier more adventurous life in pursuit of that knowledge that just might set you free.

Stay curious. Learn daily. Ask for stuff to be explained. Say you don’t know…knowing that it’s OK.


You can’t change what you DON’T SEE! Get your FREE E-Guide– Discover what’s Missing in Your Success Equation.

Being an Entrepreneur isn’t about being your Own Boss

rediscover your potential.. (3)Why do you want to get into business for yourself/own a business?

This question is usually met with the F answer: FREEDOM!

The freedom to do WHAT you want, WHEN you want, with WHOM you want and work on WHATEVER you like WHENEVER you like.

Many envisage being free as being able to spend more time with family and friends, doing what they love doing for a living – day in and day out.

Freedom to others means being available to hop on a plane and work wherever you CHOOSE to, and thanks to the virtual way of doing business, you can work from just about anywhere in the world.

Steve Tobak of CBS MoneyWatch says

…being an entrepreneur isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, if you’re cut out for it, maybe you’ll survive the pressure and overcome the many challenges. But if you’re not, and most of us aren’t, I wouldn’t quit my day job just yet.

There are far too many articles encouraging people to leave their jobs, fueling this FREEDOM BS by promoting the “you can be your own boss” crap. The thing is that much of what is shared is myth and most individuals who DO get into business for themselves, find that it is a constant uphill battle. The freedom they sought doesn’t exist.

Quit focusing on being your own boss.

Being an entrepreneur is about being able to make decisions that are BEST for you!

being your own boss

This starts with knowing WHO YOU ARE and then figuring out WHAT YOU WANT. This seems so simple that many of us…no scratch that…most of us just gloss right over it, assuming that we DO know.

Most people think they know themselves but let me ask you this: Do you know what is distinctive about you? What’s your edge? What is your highest point of contribution?

Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less says “Being able to do many things is important in many jobs today but developing a greater discernment about what is distinctive about us can be a great advantage. Instead of simply doing MORE things, we need to find at EVERY phase in our lives, our highest point of contribution.”

This highest form of contribution is the intersection point of our motivational patterns, talent, passions, behaviors and market.

In that list above, again, many know their talents and passions but where we often fall short is in understanding what we’re naturally motivated to do and being completely unaware of the behaviors that will break our business . Arthur F. Miller Jr. asks us to consider this fact inherent in our two foundational institutions of education and work: “A person is educated for fifteen or so years….hired in a job…and then for half a century is rewarded, punished, utilized, directed, coached, managed, trained, appraised, developed, reinforced, promoted, transferred, harnessed to objectives, subjected to job enrichment and enlargement activities…sent to business school, assessment centers, sensitivity training …promoted, etc…and finally retired – WITHOUT ANBODY – AT ANY TIME – FINDING OUT WHAT THAT PERSON IS REALLY GOOD AT AND MOTIVATED TO DO.”

When you understand WHO YOU ARE you will be able to say “no” to the wrong opportunities and “yes” to the right ones. This will instantly boost your chance at success. You will minimize many of the risks that you face as an entrepreneur and give yourself the absolute biggest edge to achieving your dreams!

Entrepreneur Rich Schefren reminds us: “An opportunity is only good if it fits with your appropriate goals. If it fits with the objectives you have set for your business. Anything else will dramatically add to your work load and decrease your effectiveness at running your business. Any opportunity that takes you OFF the path to your stated business goals, no matter how attractive the opportunity appears, is bad for business”

When you are confronted with an opportunity, your decision has to be all about you. If it’s not in alignment with who you are at core, you’re not going to succeed.

Rich provides us with a list of questions to ask ourselves when an opportunity presents itself:

  1. Do I completely understand what I will have to give up doing now in order to pursue this new opportunity?
  2. Will this opportunity leverage what I’m already doing?
  3. Will it get me to my goals faster by satisfying objectives I already have in place?
  4. How much more work or how many more steps will it add to what I’m doing now?
  5. What other efforts might I have to sacrifice to implement this opportunity?
  6. Do I have enough time to take a new project on without significantly taking away from my current workload?
  7. Is it just a replication of something I’m already doing right now?
  8. Will implementing it send an inconsistent message to my employees?
  9. What will the bottom line financial cost of this particular opportunity be?
  10. What other efforts might I have to sacrifice to implement this opportunity?

When you take a moment to answer these questions, you will substantially increase your ability to sort the beneficial opportunities from the destructive ones.

One of the worst mistakes entrepreneurs make is convincing themselves that an opportunity will be good for them.

Start off by saying “No”, no matter how good an opportunity looks on the surface. Even if you think you want to take advantage of it.

Rich suggests assuming that it’s a losing deal. Assume it will cost you valuable time and money. Assume it could potentially put you out of business. And then make it PROVE to you that it can be beneficial once it aligns with WHO YOU ARE and WHERE YOU’RE GOING!

Once you understand yourself, that’s when TRUE freedom kicks in. You will now have the freedom to map out and follow your own course in business and in life and take control and live your life the way you want to!


I help people learn how to unlock and leverage their true potential and the potential of others to get better results in their businesses, careers and lives. If you’re ready to get better results, schedule a FREE strategy session with me by first sending an email to  If you own a business put “business owner” in the subject line. If you are an employee put “employee” in the subject line.

Living Life without Containment

mocha momentspocketOur dog Pocket was knocked down yesterday. I was in such shock that I couldn’t cry. It took a while for the tears to come and as I posted a couple pics of her on Facebook, the tears started to flow.

Today the realization that Pocket is no longer here is hard to swallow. I fantasize that I will see her running down the driveway into the backyard, taking the steps three at a time or deciding simply to jump three feet onto the back porch.

My last viewing of Pocket alive was turning around to see her hurtling towards me with boundless energy…and this is the vision that I will keep in my heart as a metaphor for HOW TO LIVE!

Pocket could not be contained. I tried but she would always find a way to escape out of the yard and into the world to be free.

Everyday was an adventure. She always wanted to go outside to explore and wander. Sometimes she’d return with food scraps from nearby rubbish bins, sometimes with a swollen eye, indicating that perhaps she may have encountered a plant that she was allergic to…sometimes with a huge belly…indicating that she had dinner somewhere else and would not be dining at home on that day.

I called Pocket Houdini.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all chose to live without containment? To create without restriction? To be WHO WE ARE without shame or need to “fit in” or belong?

Pocket was her own person. She lived according to what she needed – space to roam, to be free and to be given the option to come and go as she chose.

We’ll miss Pocket – Chad, Deva, Anastasia and myself HOWEVER our lives will never been the same again. She taught us how to love and how to live and those memories will live on forever…Pocket’s teachings….PRICELESS!


One Thing Worth Working On…

mocha moments

If there is one thing worth working on, it’s the INNER SELF. Regardless of the way that works for you, it is the TRUE path. It is where FREEDOM lies – Kamal Ravikant [capitalization mine]

i-will-do-one-thing-todayI’m reading Kamal’s book now called “Live your Truth”. I think we all need to determine what TRUTH is for us. And this is an inside-out job. There is really no other way to feel liberated than to live out that truth once you find it. This is living intentionally, purposefully. Nothing else matters. You must do this work and not be concerned with time – how long it will take, or work – how much effort will I have to put in. Life is short and this is what the journey is all about.

You. AND your truth.

That’s it.



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Put Away the Knife…

Of shame, blame, fear and remorse.

By Marcia Reynolds, PsyD

Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame gave the closing keynote at the Women’s Conference I spoke at in Omaha. Her brief yet powerful speech left us all feeling a little less crazy and immensely more content with life. I don’t think she would mind if I shared the secret with you.

She started by saying, “People think my life is together so I should be able to help them get their life together.” She didn’t disclaim the idea. Instead, she launched into her sense of where women stand in the world today.

“We, as women, are living in a most interesting time in history. We are the subjects of a social experiment. Suddenly we have choices, self-sufficiency, freedom…we don’t have thousands of years of role models, or even 50 years.”

She reminded us that our lives used to resemble each other’s whereas now our lives are very different from our sisters and old friends. We struggle with making decisions and then live with worry or regret over the decisions we made.

It is no wonder many of us are neurotic and keep seeking to find the one person who can tell us how to put our lives together and feel happy ever after.

She shared stories of how this ambiguity shows up in all of our lives no matter what choices we make.

Then she described what her day looks like. She starts with an hour of meditation, then an hour of yoga, and then a wonderful breakfast before sitting down to write. Or maybe she sees friends before summoning her muse.

Then she said, “Do you believe this is true? It’s not. I get up every day and do my best, just like you.” She said she often falls short of what she had hoped to accomplish and the days go too fast for her to keep up.

She ended by telling us to “Let go of the knife you are holding at your throat, the knife of shame, blame, fear and remorse.”

There was a long, deathly silence, a clear acknowledgment of how solid her words had hit home with the more than a thousand women in the room.

“Be kind to yourself,” she implored, “especially now. You must give yourself unconditional self-friendship.”

She said a few more things about putting the knife of judgment away and then ended her speech. The room burst with applause. They didn’t mind that she shared nothing new and no secret formula of success.

She shared her humanity. She shared how much she cares about what women are doing to themselves. And she shared a simple, profound truth that we need to hear over and over again.

I have the wonderful opportunity to be in Trinidad and Tobago this week — I will be speaking at A World of Possibilities™ on Thursday — the launch of a yearlong event — speaking directly to the needs of women — just as Elizabeth Gilbert described — all of you at a crossroads in your lives and confronted with so many different decisions that you can’t help but feel a little crazy. It’s my first time to your country and I look forward to sharing and meeting as many of you as I can.

After that Women’s Conference I have even more admiration for Elizabeth Gilbert, as a speaker and a wise woman (and of course, as an author). I will do my best to put the knife away today. What about you?