Playing Big

user Darren Gold
calendar

What is it about our willingness to stay small? Have you noticed it? In yourself? In your teammates? The need for safety, for comfort. The aversion to risk. The fear of failure. The propensity to shrink in the face of challenge and opportunity.

To be sure, there is an admirable humility in self-effacement. In rightfully acknowledging the contributions of others. In creating space, not taking space. But there is something lost in staying small. The unwillingness to play big is not just unfortunate, it is ultimately selfish. It elevates the protection of self above all else. Playing big is the most selfless of acts. It allows the majestic gifts in each of us to be brought forward for the benefit of others. And, as leaders, when we play big, when we are big, it serves as a powerful example for others to follow. 

No one has captured the essence of this better than the author and activist Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Staying small is a function of our biology – we are wired to survive and avoid risk – and our culture – we adopt the limiting belief systems of our families and environment. Playing big is the byproduct of reconstructing our identity-based beliefs, thereby reshaping the very concept of who we are. But it’s more than that. Staying small or playing big is embodied.

There is an unforgettable scene in the most recent Bradley Cooper remake of the movie A Star is Born. Bradley plays the character Jack Maine, a famous country rock star battling alcohol and drug addiction. He stops in a bar one night after one of his performances and meets Ally, a waitress and amateur singer-songwriter, played by Lady Gaga. After spending an evening together, Jack invites Ally to be a personal guest at his next concert. In the middle of that concert, Jack walks backstage to a shocked Ally and announces to the crowd that he’d like his friend to join him onstage. After some hesitation, Ally steps to the microphone and begins to sing the song of a lifetime. It is at the song’s crescendo when something unmistakably powerful occurs. Ally stretches her arms wide open as if to embrace the entire crowd. Perhaps the entire world. It is this physical act that represents the transition from staying small to playing big. It is a physical act that is available to all of us.

Take a look at your life right now. Where is it that you might be staying small? And where is it that you are being called forth to play big? How can you occupy more space? Not in the sense of closing space for others. But in the sense of allowing the world to experience the full range of your gifts and magnificence.

Back to TriumIQ

Let’s Talk

Contact Us

Trium IQ

Perspective and Choice

From the stillness of perspective, you get to choose the quality of your experience. It is the…

Read

Three Ways to Embrace Team Appreciation

For leaders who want to make appreciation a year-round habit, this season of gratitude offers us a…

Read

What Story Are You Telling?

Leaders who choose to see uncertainty as an opportunity will be leaders who preside over businesses that…

Read

The Power of Proximity: Why “Up Close and Personal” is The Best Leadership Strategy In Complicated Times

The Power of Proximity is not about whether we’re in the office. It has nothing to do…

Read

Five Tips to Foster a Culture of Appreciation

When’s the last time you openly celebrated the achievements of a team member? A week ago? A…

Read

Be a Step-Down Leader: A Radical, New Paradigm for Leading in Anxious Times

Your primary job as a leader – in your family, community, or career – is to lower…

Read

VIDEO | Lightspeed Venture Partners Partner, Arif Janmohamed: Trium’s Expertise Applied to Venture Capital Firms

Lightspeed Venture Partners Partner Arif Janmohamed shares how Trium applies its unique expertise to Venture Capital firms.

Watch

VIDEO | MX Interim CEO & President, Shane Evans: Coaching through a Leadership Transition

MX Interim Chief Executive Officer and President Shane Evans shares the impact of Trium’s coaching through his transition to CEO of the company.

Watch

VIDEO | Zoom COO, Aparna Bawa: Advice to Leaders Considering Engaging a Coach

Zoom Chief Operating Officer Aparna Bawa shares her advice for leaders considering engaging a coach to support their development.

Watch

If You Want to Survive a Downturn, Invest in Leadership

We are all starting to feel the effects of the downturn and I’ve seen a lot of…

Read

How a Pry and Resist spiral between CEOs and CXOs is toxic to company culture, collaboration, & growth

A trace of “Pry and Resist” naturally exists in every leader-subordinate relationship. But for growth-stage CEOs (particularly…

Read

Three traits of a transformational leader

What qualities do leaders need to take their organization on a transformational journey: converting a seemingly far-off…

Read
Andrew Blum Clients Arif Janmohamed, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, Aparna Bawa, COO at Zoom, and Daniel Dines, CEO at UiPath

VIDEO | Executives share their experience of being coached by Trium Founder & Chairman, Andrew Blum

Clients Aparna Bawa, COO of Zoom, Daniel Dines, CEO of UiPath and Arif Janmohamed, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners talk about their coaching experience with Andrew Blum, Founder and Chairman of The Trium Group.

Watch

Navigating Web3 | A Scenario Planning Toolkit for Leaders

Uncharted Waters Imagine you are the captain of a ship at sea. You look on your radar…

Read

The Future of Work

Return-to-office versus remote is becoming this generation’s defining debate about the future of work. The pandemic proved…

Read