Your playing small does not serve the world.—Marianne Williamson
Something has been stopping you from dreaming big, taking risks, going for broke, living exactly the way that you feel compelled to live. What is it? What are you doing to keep yourself “small” and your dreams—ahem—realistic?
Lux Alani, author of The Little Vanilla Book, says, “As a little kid, I was brainwashed into thinking that I was unworthy, stupid, and deserving of abuse. I learned to hide my sweet little heart and disappear. I lost my mojo…Dropping your guard spelled disaster. Fuck that noise.”
Go for Impossible
Anything big, crazy, or important was impossible at one time. It was ludicrous and ridiculous. The inventor was laughed at. The small business owner was turned down. No woman had made a run for the US presidency until Hillary Clinton came along. The 4-minute-mile barrier was impossible until Roger Bannister did it in 1954.
Everything Steve Jobs did was impossible until he did it. Remember the Apple “Think Different” campaign from 1997, the one that started, “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes”?
And you don’t even have to consider changing the world—you can start small and make one small, almost unnoticeable change in yourself. That will be the first step of the journey that leads you to the “impossible,” the place you never thought you’d go. Living as the person that you have been afraid to be. You’ll wake up one day and realize that the “impossible” just became your new normal. How does that feel?
Bungee Jump out of Your Comfort Zone
A wonderful saying that I came across around 2011 is this: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” I was trying out that bizarre form of exercise called Laughter Yoga, which involves doing absolutely wacky things with a group of strangers in a public place. Talk about going out on a limb and making a complete idiot of yourself—in public! In front of groups of NORMAL people!
For some people, it was a stretch too far. They’d show up for a laughter session, give it their best shot, and never be seen again. So either it just wasn’t their cup of tea or a “don’t risk looking weird” nerve got touched.
Others, like me, took to the theatricality and quickly adapted to public displays of oddity. Not just adapted—became happily addicted to doing improv-like vignettes in the park. We met every Sunday morning, rain or shine (often rain; this was Seattle), and I was there every Sunday for nearly three years.
In Katherine Mansfield’s quote, the line I like best is “Do the hardest thing on earth for you.” Find the thing that terrifies you. Look it square in the eye and do it. Then ROCK it.
Are you terrified of public speaking? Join Toastmasters—you’ll be with a group of people who all feel exactly the same way (or did at one time).
Never played a sport? Join a league, club, or team and learn by doing, falling down, getting up, and trying again. You’re in good company.
Life is one big experiment. We’re all the experimenters, the rats and the maze, the experimenters, the dreamers, and the makers all at the same time. The journey is unclear, the destination unknown. May as well have some fun while you’re here.