Playing Bigger

Published in Womeninc, October 2008

by Diana Gabriel

In the last column, we talked about “showing up big” and using the summer months to identify what that means and how it might come to life in our own lives. For me it has taken some time. I’ve done a lot of pondering and needed to make a few adjustments to even figure out just what it means for me and how I want to bring it alive. My summer, consequently, involved contemplation, soul-searching, reading, articulating and putting together a plan of action. The process has been both energy- and life-giving.

I jump-started my process of discovery by attending a three-day workshop, which I had expected to focus on marketing. I was very surprised that we spent most of the three days focused on identifying and claiming our gifts, strengths and talents. In that process we also explored what blocks we have to accessing those unique things that we bring into the world. We did several exercises that helped us identify our “unique brilliance” – the impact of using our gifts and talents – and I articulated mine as: I inspire powerful transformation. I put this together by reviewing client comments about their coaching experience with me. We also identified our archetype, what we stand for, and a metaphor for our work. I see it all as a work in process, but I must admit it is very powerful to articulate these pieces in the context of “showing up big” and moving a step further into “playing bigger.”

The presentation and exercises that stood out the most for me and many other participants were around our relationship to money. My coach believes that each of us hold unconscious, self-limiting beliefs around money that get in the way of our living full out with our gifts, strengths and talents. Something in me was awakened that has informed and focused a large portion of the direction of my summer work.

One of the areas that I have devoted a lot of time to is re-reading Lynne Twist’s book The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life and reading Christine Kloser’s The Freedom Formula: How to Put Should In Your Business and Money in Your Bank. An intriguing outcome of examining our relationship to money is discovering that those unconscious beliefs seep into our belief system and influence our entire decision-making process, not just around financial matters. It is so amazing to me that we can be so unaware of things that influence our everyday decisions. Even though the books and the exercises we did were about money, what we uncovered were our generalized, self-limiting beliefs. The key to changing those beliefs lies in our ability to move from a model of scarcity to one of sufficiency. Sufficiency is a belief that there is enough to meet everyone’s needs.

The reading I did examines some of the outcomes or possibilities from exploring our relationship with money and allowing ourselves to shift our beliefs from scarcity to sufficiency. Lynne writes about the shift to sufficiency thinking:
“When you find your place in the universe and take a stand, you have the capacity move the world – the world of ideas and people who act on them…it gives you authenticity, power and clarity.” She goes on to state that “…the experience of freedom in your life…was when you were fully expressed, playing full out. It was when you chose fully and completely, when you knew you were in the place you were meant to be in, when perhaps you even felt a sense of destiny. That’s when we we’re free and self-expressed, and joyful or at peace with circumstances – when we chose them.”

Christine writes:
“Shorten the number of items on YOUR priority ”to do’ list. Why? Because when your ‘to do’ list gets shorter, you have more space to ‘be;’ your ‘to do’ list is now comprised of tasks that bring you joy. Yes, you get to BE more joy, more love, more fulfillments, more light, more expression, more connection, more peace, more of everything. This is the place where everything flows…”

The shift for each of us to sufficiency thinking is philosophical and creates a real paradigm shift in what we do, how we show up and what is possible.

Here are two more related concepts from Lynne’s book that I found powerful and meaningful in this exploration:

“A human hand must open to receive, but also to give and to touch. A human heart must also open to receive as well as to give and to touch another heart. That openness and reciprocation, that image of the open hand and heart, connects us not just to others, but to the feeling of fullness and sufficiency in ourselves”

She writes about her experiences with the Achuar people of Ecuador and other indigenous people and shares their wisdom, which I think applies to us playing our bigger games: “Change the Dream. They say that we really can’t change our everyday actions because at their root will always be the dream we have for our future, and we will always act consistently with that dream. However, they say, the dream itself can be changed in the space of one generation and the time is now to do the work that will change the dream…Changing the dream may really mean to see the world completely differently – as indigenous people do. They see the world that is totally sufficient, animated with spirit, intelligent, mystical, responsive, and creative – constantly generating and regenerating itself in harmony with the great diversity of resources that support and collaborate with one another through the mystery of life…each human being having an infinite capacity to create, collaborate, and contribute.”

Can you imagine coming from a personal place of sufficiency and more, a place that allowed you to take steps toward playing your bigger game? Each one of us makes innumerable choices each day, one of which is simply how to show up. Are we showing up “big” and bringing our gifts, strengths and talents onto the playing field? What would our communities and lives look like if each of us did just one bigger thing? As I grow and stretch alongside you, I see limitless possibilities for us all.


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