It’s time to stop playing small!!
There was a time when I truly doubted myself. I did not trust my knowledge, experience or education to validate my place in the room. This self-doubt and low self-esteem caused me to sabotage certain points in my career and in personal and romantic relationships. I have been fired and even asked to resign because I did not “own” my position or title. I did the work and proved I was capable, but when I looked around the room, I rarely saw anyone else who looked like me. I would pause and wonder how did I get there, and did I really deserve my seat at the table.
Let me take you back to my beginning. See, I’m a product of the foster care system of New York. From birth until almost four years old, I was living with a foster family. I thank them for stepping in and covering the absence of my parents. However, as a result, whenever I experienced rejection or exclusion, I immediately reacted. Sometimes the reaction was external (bad attitude), but most times it was internal (self-doubt). I also did not take the traditional path to college. As a result, not only did I not finish my undergraduate degree until I was 38 years old, but I finished the last two years my degree through an online university because I was a single mom and working full time. I went on and completed my MBA and obtained multiple certifications to help me feel worthy because I wanted to feel like I belonged, and wanted to remove any excuses to be excluded.
Ultimately, I had to change my mindset and believe in myself, regardless of validation by others. I also had to empower myself to believe in my own self-worth. Some of this new mindset came with age (I just turned 50 years old last month), and some of the new mindset came from working with a coach and learning my true value. Here are the strategies I put in place to stop playing small and “Stop Being the Best Kept Secret ®” in my career and life in general.
#1. Own Your Power
For this particular strategy, I had to learn how to forgive others and myself; not compare myself to others; give myself permission to succeed, and use my adversities as fuel and not excuses to succeed.
#2. Own Your Truth
I had to learn how to stand on my truth. From being a product of foster care, which I never shared with anyone, to the strategy I used to complete two degrees and multiple certifications as a single mom working a full-time job. Once I shared my story, I learned I was not alone and my success helped to motivate and inspire others who were in similar situations.
#3. Own Your Healing
“You can’t heal what you don’t reveal” ~ Jay Z. When I heard this statement on his latest solo album, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. Sharing my story, and being honest with myself about the impact historical and generational trauma had on my life, I removed its power over my life.
#4. Own Your Worth
Once I learned how to own and embrace my own power and healing, I decided I would no longer take a loss when it came to true value and worth. I learned how to negotiate on my own behalf, including financially and positioning. I also embraced the mantra, “If love is no longer being served at the table, leave the table.” This alone has increased my inner power by 1000%.
#5. Own Your Destiny
I no longer say, “The sky is the limit.” I now say “The GALAXY is the limit.” I no longer put limits on what I deem as my purpose or destiny. By incorporating owning my POWER, TRUTH, HEALING, and WORTH, I am truly empowered to step into my destiny without hesitation or doubt. I have learned how to stop playing small and “Stop Being the Best Kept Secret ®.”
What is holding you back? Which of these strategies can you incorporate into your career and life to propel you to your highest level of success? Being honest with yourself is the first step. I invite you to have a courageous conversation with yourself and remove any barriers to your own success. Get aligned with a great coach and trust the process. You will thank me later!