“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.” ~Mary Kay Ash
Take a moment for yourself. Sit back, relax and allow yourself to dream for a bit about whom you’d like to be and what you’d really like to do with your life.
If you could simply paint an image of who you want to be, what would that look like? Free-association like this can be incredibly helpful in realizing your goals.
Spend some highly productive time meditating on your dreams with these strategies:
Find a quiet time and place.
This will be somewherewhere you can reflect without interruption. You might take a walk in the park or a bike ride for an hour. Maybe you’ll choose to lay out on a blanket under that big shade tree in your back yard.
Encourage your mind to pursue any positive thoughts.
Think about what you wanted to be when you were 10, 15, and 20. Was it the same occupation or way of life at each stage of your development? Or were you always coming up with something new you wanted to do?
Think about your deepest desires.
Do you want to have a lot of money and travel the world? Or just settle down and have a family? Perhaps you picture yourself surrounded by many close friends with whom you spend a lot of your spare time. Maybe your preferred way to live is an independent, quiet lifestyle alone with your books, paints, and hobbies.
Visualize your living space. Where you live largely determines the kind of life you have.
Living in a warm southern climate means you can be more physically active in warm weather year round. If you live in an apartment in the middle of the big city, you might live a life filled with wall to wall people, ethnic foods, and cultural experiences of all kinds. There’s rarely any quiet and you’re incredibly active, partaking of all that city life has to offer.
A rural setting, on the other hand, provides its own sense of stability. You enjoy nature frequently. The sights, sounds, and smells of plants, animals, and the four seasons surround you as you walk or work outdoors. Stress levels are lower.
Make a wish.
You might think that making a wish is just for kids. But for the sake of this exercise, if you could have just one wish for your life, what would it be? To be a husband someday? To be a mother? To travel to a few exotic countries you’ve wanted to see? To be an accountant or small business owner?
Your wish will reveal a lot about you and what you desire.
Dream about your career.
Continuing to paint the picture of who you would choose to be, where would you be working? What kind of job credentials would you hold? What would you be like in that situation?
Because work is almost one-third of your life, consider your career choice as profoundly integral to your happiness.
Engage in a little planning.
Now that you’ve reflected on your life and who you’d like to be, how close is your actual life to your desires? What can you do to help yourself become who and what you want to be?
You deserve to live the life you choose. Reflect on who and what you want to be. Let your mind go for a bit. Then, ask yourself what you want for yourself. Think about where you’d prefer to live. Think about the career you’d have if you could do it all over again.
Finally, ask yourself what you will need to do to get to the place of your dreams, physically, emotionally, and career-wise. You can be anything you want to be. Make some effort now to find out who that really is.
So tell me–do you know who you are? And what are you going to do about it? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below
It’s so freakin’ easy to play it small. And no wonder! From the time we’re children, we’re encouraged to let the guy win so we don’t make him feel bad, to minimize our beauty so our friends won’t get jealous, to tone down our genius so others won’t feel threatened, to dim our light so no one feels dark in our shadow.
My 5 Year Old Daughter Is Adorably Confident
My five year old daughter thinks she’s brilliant, innovative, artistic, gorgeous, popular, and wildly lovable. And all of those things are true. At this age, she gets lots of support for being confident. People agree with her when she tells them how awesome she is. But the sad truth is that sometime in the next few years, no matter what I do to try to counterbalance the pressures she’ll be subjected to from all sides, my superstar child will start dialing it down. She’ll shade her sparkle. She’ll get socialized to fade.
She won’t be alone, of course. Her friends will all be trained to do the same. They learn playing small in school, right along with the reading, writing, and arithmetic. And we tend to reinforce what they learn.
Humility Vs. Narcissism
We dress up the tendency to play small with words like “humble,” “modest,” and “unpretentious.” Those who don’t play small get labeled with supercharged words of criticism like “arrogant,” “cocky,” “full of herself,” “conceited,” “egotistical,” and “narcissistic.”
Sheesh. None of us want to get saddled with that kind of baggage, so we dial it down and then wind up middle-aged, having lost touch with our pizzazz.
What nobody tells you when you’re twelve, learning how to be humble and unpretentious, is that we’re giving up one of our greatest gifts when we agree to dim our light for the sake of being accepted into the world of unremarkable people. I’m not suggesting you can’t be simultaneously humble and sparkly – just look at Jesus! But when we step away from our greatness in order to fit in, we dig our own coffins, especially when it comes to our professional lives.
I’ve learned the hard way how to navigate the loneliness of being a bright, shiny light (you can read about how I felt as a child here). But the older I get, the more fearless I am about stepping into my own greatness and embracing my light.
Others have reinforced that lately. Nia founder Debbie Rosas encouraged us to all step into our brilliance as we danced at the Nia White Belt Intensive. Mama Gena in her School of Womanly Arts encourages us to brag. In both programs, I got to practice – in tandem with hundreds of other women – stepping into my own greatness and being held in loving arms, rather than being rejected. It felt liberating, like unhooking that too-tight bra and flinging it to the high heavens. When you step into your greatness, you finally feel the lightness of flight, rather than the burden of the weight of diminishing your brilliance.
With all the lessons I’ve learned from others that are stepping into their greatness, I’ve learned a few things I’ll share here.
10 Tips For Stepping Into Your Greatness
Nobody can dim your light but you.
Dialing it down doesn’t really make anyone else feel better. It just makes you feel worse.
Confidence and narcissism are not the same thing. Narcissists lack true confidence and overcompensate to make up for the lack.
When you step into your greatness, you attract more people than you repel.
The confident know they will always land butter side up. Those people take more risks, fall down more often, and wind up shining the brightest.
All you have to do is your best. Stepping into your greatness doesn’t mean achieving some unattainable benchmark. When you do your best, you let your light shine.
Being confident means managing your fear. When your fears outpower your confidence, you dim your light. Stepping into your greatness requires facing your fears head on and making the choice not to let them rule your decisions any longer.
Within your vulnerability lies your strength. Stepping into your greatness doesn’t mean tooting your own horn. Sometimes your greatest strength lies in your flaws, frailties, and foibles.
It’s okay to brag. Yes, your vulnerabilities can be your strengths, but it’s also okay to shout your triumphs from the rooftops. Imagine if we all gave ourselves permission to say “I rocked it today!” What if we started every conversation by asking “What’s awesome in your life?” Wouldn’t life be grand?
You can’t claim credit for your greatness. Within this wisdom lies your humility. We are all vessels for the Divine to shine through us when we get our egos out of the way. Why would you want to dim your light when it’s merely Divine light shining through you?
Do You Consider Yourself Confident?
Or do you dim your light so nobody will think you shine too bright? Do you frown upon confident people or label them arrogant? Have you figured out how to step into your greatness without cutting yourself off from the brilliance of Divine light? Share your stories here!