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  • Shelly Cofini

Are you playing small when you should be playing a bigger game? Time to let your light shine


So many quotes that drive this point home, Nelson Mandela and Marianne Williamson have both aptly addressed this point; we are robbing the world of our talent, skill and genius when we play small. So why is it we consistently fall prey to this way of being? Here is my list of culprits in no specific order; Courage, Confidence, Limiting Beliefs aka ‘Stories’, Fear and Apathy, Despair and Depression. All of these may come into play at some point in our life. So let’s take a look at some of them, yep I’m going to tattle on myself a little but I think you’ll get my point.

The starting point for playing small is understanding one thing first; that we are all capable of far more than we ever thought possible, or might even dream. We are!! trust me on this, we just forgot it…Tapping back into it requires navigating through some material first, I call them opportunities for growth, learning and healing and then simply finding a jumping off point, or hitting what I call your “pain threshold”. Its usually the latter, when you’re in enough pain, or have gone “without” long enough, you’re typically ready to give up your kaka (a technical term) and make some powerful choices or changes or both, to start playing full out in life. Being unstoppable.

Everyone has battled with courage and confidence at some point, so who are you; if not deemed to be great? Sometimes you have to chase your courage down and hold on tight and face the very thing that is freaking you out, in order to move forward and play a bigger game. The game you were made for and destined to play. Sometimes your confidence needs a boost too. I relate to it this way; it’s kind of like jumping out of an airplane for me, which was a chance to overcome my crippling fear of heights. My office was on the 12th floor at the time, a corner room with floor to ceiling windows and I was paralyzed every time I went in there and it was affecting my work. The jumping suggestion was made by a performance coach who happened to hone his skills as a winning football coach. I attended his workshop designed to cause breakthroughs in your business; unbeknownst to me the culmination was a skydiving trip. It was compelling enough that out of 250 people in the room, I and a close friend were the only two who volunteered to go. Volunteered!!! (I had hit my pain threshold with the fear of heights thing) The jump scared me to death, I was a nervous wreck, I had an upset stomach and I couldn’t speak, not a word rare for me. I freaked out when I saw the pilot wearing a parachute too…frankly, I didn’t enjoy much of it….or at least until my parachute opened and only when I was keenly aware that I was going to land safely,did I relax and have a little fun (very little). It did however create a mind tape for me that was undeniable. I faced my fear and took a huge jump of faith laced with lots of expletives. fu******k… I screamed as I jumped. That mind tape worked for me in so many ways; primarily because I had that event forever etched into my brain as a reference point for any occasion when I felt stuck, lacked courage, and feared/failed to make a powerful choice.

So much so that the second timeI jumped(I know huh) many years later, things were different…I had a blast and I saw things from a totally new perspective, I saw things that I totally missed the first time too; the view was amazing, the floating sensation exhilarating, seeing 360 degrees of everything around me was wild. Was I scared? Hell yes !!! Did the fear cripple me NO…my perceptual lens had changed. So has to some extent, my fear of heights. Did I create a new mind tape? Absolutely. Tackling your lack of courage and sidelining fear gives you freedom in your choices and new found confidence in your abilities, natural instincts and skills and thus gives you permission. Permission to play all out.

Letting go of limiting beliefs or old stories you’ve bought into about yourself, will free you up as well. it’s time to stop watching reruns…you know the ending, that’s an easy out. Find things that will challenge you, to learn, to grow, to breakthrough. That’s playing a bigger game. Apathy, Despair and Depression these are symptoms of other kinds of stops. Sometimes life itself causes us to check out, and sometimes we don’t even know when we have. Usually a thing, a person or “way of being” will stay in motion (same path) until it’s interrupted by an outside force. This force could be something someone said, it could be something that happened to you, surely it will be something that grabs your attention or your awareness and causes you to stop, think and move or shift direction. It may also require some outside help too… coaching, consulting or even therapy. All depending on how stuck you are. Sometimes just a story of a breakthrough can spark your imagination, sometimes it’s talking things out that will get you in motion.. What I have learned is that we all have the tools available to us to effectively work through our process and when we don’t… we ask for help.

What I would like you to consider is this…what would it feel like for you to play a bigger game? What if you were more powerful than even you could imagine? Marianne Williamson said this “ Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other won’t feel uncomfortable around you. As you let your own light shine, you indirectly give others permission to do the same”.

It’s time to let it shine, you’ll be so very glad you did.


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© 1995 by ShellyCofini.