Starting Small vs Playing Small

A while ago I was talking to a friend of mine who is a commercial airline pilot. He mentioned that unlike a bicycle or a car, steering a plane required very small adjustments, that over long distances resulted in big changes at the destination. Compound that with space flight, and suddenly seemingly insignificant tweaks of directions can mean the difference between landing on a distant planet or missing it.

Compare that to the idea of ‘playing small’ – not being ‘too big for your britches’ and acting in small ways instead of making bigger shifts or impact. Is there a difference? Or is it just semantics? Today we’ll talk about how small affects the mind and, ultimately, our lives.

Nothing to “Fix”

While Hypnotherapists and Hypnotists like to think of themselves as mechanics of the mind, really our job is not to fix but to ‘tweak’. While clients sometimes think that they need a complete overhaul of their life, I’ve found that it really is much simpler than that. Like a mistake on the second row of knitting or in the calculations of a house’s foundation, many people are being greatly affected by a simple erroneous belief, a way of thinking about themselves and life that was established long ago, or a habit that became familiar and integrated even though it isn’t helping – and these, over time, seem to reinforce or expand on the aspects of life that feel or behave off-track.

I have never worked with someone who is broken. Human beings are so resilient that even when it feels kaput, a mental fine-tuning is all that is required. Funnily enough, simply the idea that we’re tuning up this high performance machine rather than repairing something that’s out of order can change our ability to do so. We have the power within us to use the resources that created the issues we’re going through to help resolve them – I’ve seen it happen in thousands of cases over many, many years.

Sometimes, like powerful gunpowder that needs an external spark to release its potential, we need some help from outside. It isn’t a failing – it’s an acknowledgement that you’re worth the effort to hone your strengths and excellence.

Tall Poppy Syndrome?

This syndrome has been used to explain the sometimes cultural habit of chopping off the ‘height’ of flowers that grow above the others. In people terms, these high-growers are those who want to break out of the ‘norm’ academically, financially, physically, ideologically etc.

So how does this idea affect us and our change or dreams? When we ‘grow’ much higher or differently than those around us, or to levels that weren’t expected of us, we can feel the unfamiliarity and sometimes question ourselves. The concern of our vulnerability in a new and exposed position sometimes causes us to react with a fear response. Whether it’s butting heads (because anger often feels more powerful than fear), run away (because being out of the arena of change may feel like it could save us), or become paralysed (we freeze with the uncertainty of the ‘new’), we often shrink back to our earlier patterns of fitting in.

I ask you to take the next couple days and find young children to observe. These are little creatures who are proud of themselves for drawing a letter, or tying their shoes or wearing a new dress… these small people often feel very big to me – confident, open, secure, exploring… And before they realize that there might be a height limit on the size of flower they can grow, you can see they PLAY BIG. That’s your original state – that’s where you can return to, located just past the fear and vulnerability of making that shift.

Starting Today

I remember being taken to a bank after I started working as a babysitter many, many years ago. The banker introduced me to the concept of compound interest – that a dollar invested today would be much more valuable than that same dollar invested many years later. If you have any credit card debt or a mortgage, you’ll understand what I mean.

One of my favourite quotes is “the best time to plant a tree was ten years ago, the second best time is today.” While we may regret not having changed earlier, our focus on lost pasts simply extends that chapter and prevents us from choosing the second best time to take back control of our habits and life. Today is a great day to do what you need to do – to start.

Let Your Light Shine

I’m referring to the Marianne Williamson quote that suggests that our playing small doesn’t serve the world, and when we let our own light shine we unconsciously give permission to others to allow their lights to shine as well. Imagine how the dark corners and closed closets of our mind and past would react to that. Imagine how our light could redirect our energy to ways that support us – and in our confidence and security, support others to shine.

Sometimes we get ‘dirty’ with different limiting thoughts, non-supportive behaviours, and negative feelings covering us or weighing us down. Imagine clearing that up and with a cleaner, lighter connection to yourself, moving forward. While there are many ways to do this, self-hypnosis and hypnosis can accelerate the ‘re-lighting’ of your life.

Easing into It

When I work with people on weight release, I often talk about ‘underachieving every day, rather than overachieving never’, which means that instead of planning on a 3 hour gym stint that will never happen, a 15 minute brisk walk can start the healthy habit right away. Similarly, we don’t have to refit every aspect of our life on a huge scale, which tends to have us burn out sooner rather than later. Just like the tiny adjustments of directions made on a plane or spaceship, we can start adding little physical, mental and emotional shifts that better serve us. As we ease into our new life, our subconscious mind starts reshuffling our concept of ourselves. When we take these tiny steps, the way we feel as we move along this new journey changes to better reflect the new direction we are heading in.

If you need any support in taking that next step, personally or professionally, I’m here to help. Jennifer

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