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June 15, 2016

4 Steps to Stop Playing Small.

Michael Mamas Elephant Journal

 

About a year ago, I followed this little voice that was guiding me to put my thoughts down on paper and publish them online.

I had no agenda. I had no direction. I just started writing about my experiences as a therapist, about what I learned in all my years studying counselling and what I have tried to implement in my own life to become happier and healthier.

I was making no money with this hobby, but I realised that I felt more connected to my soul’s purpose every single time I wrote, published, and heard from a reader to say that my message helped them in some way—so I kept at it.

Then, a few weeks ago, a wonderfully supportive soul sister of mine (I don’t use that term lightly), convinced me to stop playing small. Her words were something to the effect of: “The universe is telling you that you need to start expanding on your work. You have so much to offer. You could totally make this your own business.”

My body immediately filled with a combination of fear, excitement, anxiety, longing and so many more emotions. She vocalised something that I’ve always secretly wanted, but never really said out loud. She said the one thing that I knew required me to play big.

And of course, I jumped right on the negative self-talk train.

My inner dialogue flooded with thoughts like: But, I’m not qualified enough.

I don’t have enough of a following.

Who am I to start my own business?

Maybe I’ll be ready in a few years after I learn more and get some more certifications.

What about legal stuff? I’m not a lawyer.

I need to be social-media famous before people trust me enough to work with me. I’m not there yet.

Let me write 1,000 more articles first.

And that’s when it hit me. It’s time to stop playing small. 

Life is short. Plain and simple. It’s time to get over every thought in our heads that is telling us that we can wait until the weekend to be happy; we can wait until summer to finally start checking things off our bucket lists; we won’t experience inner peace until we escape for a week to a tropical destination; we will finally feel fulfilled once we get married or have a baby; we will be ready to chase our dreams when we have more money, more time, more flexibility.

No.

No. And more no. Life is happening right now. In this moment.

We deserve to be fully engaged with the present. We deserve to wake up every day and love the crap out of life. So who says I’m not qualified enough? I have over seven damn years of education and experience in exactly what I want to do. I already have certifications. Who says I’m not good enough? Me. Just me. I am my own worst critic and biggest self defeater.

I decided I was tired of standing in my own way and watching other people manifest the lives they wanted while I kept waiting until I was “qualified/popular/smart/prepared/(insert attribute here)”  enough to jump in.

It’s time to start owning your journey.

How? 

~

Step 1. Figure out who you really are.

Who is your authentic self and what sets your soul on fire? It took me a lot of soul chasing and trusting my gut to find this in myself. But it was totally worth it.

Step 2. Identify if your authentic self is in alignment with your current life.

Write down wherever you feel stuck. When I got honest with myself, I realised exactly where I was feeling stuck and I’ve been working to make changes ever since.

Step 3. Set some long-term goals in support of your dream life.

I crafted this list and while it looked crazy at first—hosting holistic wellness, yoga centred retreats in Florida every winter. What?!—I realised it was totally within my reach if I could take baby steps to get there.

Step 4. Create short-term, attainable goals.

We need to start somewhere. Long-term goals are the springboard to making stuff happen now. My short-term goals kept building and growing every time I crossed one off. My journey kept becoming clearer with every single little step I took. It’s still very much piecing together, one day at a time, but that’s the beauty of working toward goals—it gives us a reason to jump out of bed in the morning.

So, define what “big” means for you.  No one else can define what will make you feel successful and happy with your life. You are in charge of determining what will bring you fulfilment, purpose, and joy.

Your answer will probably be different than mine. And that’s the point! That’s the beauty of life. That’s how it should be.

Align your life with your authentic self, because it’s time to start playing big.

 

~

Author: Alissa Lastres

Image: Flickr/Ferd Frederix;Shutterstock/Amanda Carden

Editors: Erin Lawson; Catherine Monkman

 

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Alissa Lastres