June 13, 2019

Stop Telling me “Playing Big” is the only way to be Successful.


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I’m tired of people saying, “stop playing small, play big.”

As if big and loud and noisy are the only ways to get things done around here.

Almost every day when I scroll through Instagram, I see these public figures preaching that we need to step into our power and not settle for anything less than we deserve. But why is it that we’ve now equated social media and having a life in the public eye with motivation and success?

What if I don’t want to play big? What if I thrive off small, meaningful moments in my life that have a subtle but rippling effect. What does “playing big” even mean anyway? Does it have to mean 10K plus followers on social media, documenting every second of your journey to the top? Does playing big have to mean starting a YouTube channel or becoming a life coach?

What about the unseen heroes of our world? The nurses who save lives every day. The government workers, like my mom who works in climate change action, fighting behind the scenes to save our planet, and convince the big guys of what they need to do to help.

What about the people who work those “meaningless corporate jobs” to get their kids through school and pay their bills and are living their lives in service of someone else—aren’t they heroes too?

What about the people who volunteer their time on weekends and don’t post on social media about it?

What about the journalists of the world? The ones who go head-first into war zones.

There are people playing small all across the world—their voices might be a little bit quieter and a little less glamorous—but it doesn’t make their impact any less meaningful.

Maybe I don’t want to live in a big city and “have influence.” Maybe I don’t want to lay myself bare to a bunch of people on the internet in order to make a difference. Maybe I don’t want to have a high-power job and only work with the MVPs of the world.

Maybe I just want to live a quiet life, a good life, a meaningful life, and do my part to make this world a better place in a way that’s genuine to me.

So, no—I do not need to play big in order to make it big. I do not need to be anything other than me.



author: Naomi Boshari

Image: Author's own by Shannon Laliberte

Image: @elephantjournal/instagram

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nat_cow99 Aug 23, 2019 2:07pm

Thank you for writing this Naomi. I have taken a step back from working in a sales focused environment and cutting down my social media presence. I think I too, became tired of this constant obsessive culture of associated success with ‘being known’ or ‘bold’ and doing more more more… There are a million people in our society making small little unknown differences that are the most powerful…its almost harmful to send the message that going big is the only way to make an impact. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesnt. Theres no one way.

hollymerryman Jun 18, 2019 7:45pm

I feel like I mist have an online presence to stay relevant and be sucessful in my small business, but this is how I feel. You nailed it!!

suzanne Jun 18, 2019 6:28pm

Maybe it’s better to look at what you do want than what you don’t want. I think that’s a better question and a great one from the vantage point of being older and wiser. That’s a place from which you see a bigger picture — the education you got, the family you created, the enlightenment you went for, all of it when none of it is foremost anymore. So, what’s left for the package of what you want? I think what to want is to be playing a good game. Whatever. Games have goals and parameters and interactions, and, well, everything if you think of it like the world’s a stage and you are the drama du jour. Your existence is the big story of yours, and how you engage is what life’s all about. Everything else is speculation, but daily play is what’s objectively going on and the yardstick for success.

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Naomi Boshari

Naomi Boshari has been writing since before she learned how to hold a pencil. She writes mostly short stories, creative nonfiction, and has begun to dip her toes into poetry. When she’s in a normal routine, she likes to go for runs, do hot yoga, and enjoy a hoppy beer with a good friend. You can connect with her on Instagram or Facebook.