What is playing big?

I often hear from women that when they hear the words “playing big,” they have a kind of mixed reaction.

On the one hand, the idea of playing bigger calls to them.

They don’t want to keep having that subtle, sneaking sense that they are playing small – holding back, hiding, waiting on what they most want to do.

They want to have a greater impact for good. They want to feel free, comfortable in their skin – no longer hesitant in sharing their ideas, their creations.

On the other hand, the idea of “playing big” gives them pause. They know their plate is full (or overfull) already.

Is this just going to be one more item on their to-do list? And do we all really need to play big, they ask. Isn’t that yet more macho, egotistical thinking?

Of course, all of these questions are valid.

Let me tell you what “playing big” means in the work I do.

My shorthand definition of playing big is this:

Playing big is being more loyal to your dreams than to your fears.

I believe your dreams are important – extremely important. I believe that they tell you about the life your authentic self wants to lead. I believe they tell you about your purpose here. And I believe they tell you what kind of life and career will bring you fulfillment.

And yet, for all of us human beings, life poses so many challenges in honoring our dreams. Fear and self-doubt storm within us, especially when it comes to our most important dreams and callings. We find subtle ways to hide, or to rationalize why we need to postpone stepping into playing bigger.

On top of the inner challenges, as women we often face bias and stereotyping. And we are rightly concerned with the practical matters – financial constraints, caregiving responsibilities – and it’s usually not clear how to boldly go for our aspirations in the midst of them.

Playing Big is about navigating all those inner and outer challenges so that you can indeed live a life and pursue a career that is aligned with your dreams, your callings, what holds meaning for you.

Let’s make that kind of playing big happen. We need women playing big, following our authentic callings, because as we do, we bring forth the sanity and compassion that our world desperately needs.

We are graced by you showing up as you, giving what is in you to give.




photo by Moritz Schumacher


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