Showing up for your Bigger Game– If Not Now, When?

Imagine a graveyard. Under the big oak tree there’s a granite headstone. Take a look at the headstone. See the name engraved? Yep, it’s yours.


So you’re standing there, gazing at your own headstone. There’s your year of birth, and the year you—heaven forbid—pass. And between them, there’s a little, coy hyphen.


Now, here is the opportunity: that hyphen is what you get to play with.



Let’s take a moment to pause and contemplate that hyphen. There are two things that anyone who aspires to play a bigger game must consider. The first is knowing what you aspire to. Or, in the words of poet Mary Oliver: “Tell me, what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” (We’ll get to the second in a moment.)


Determining who you want to be and the impact that you wish to have – what you want out of life—your career, relationships and your personal time—often we do not pause to be intentional about how we live our lives and the impact we have. It’s much easier to unconsciously abide by the rules and expectations of others than to look within ourselves and see clearly what we are meant to do—and the impact we can have with how we live our lives..


Here are 4 starting points for discovering your brand of showing up for the Bigger Game:


  1. What are your threads? Everything you’ve done and loved up to this point is a thread running through your life. Those threads are always with you, and you can choose to pick them up again at any time. Adored math as a kid, but your parents pushed you into sales? Maybe it’s time to take some classes and explore.


  1. Who makes you envious?  Envy is actually a wonderful way to unearth some of our big, deep desires. Who have you been envious of recently? Steve Jobs? Lindsey Vonn? Martin Luther King? Maybe it’s actually a clue to your Bigger Game.


  1. What have you always wanted/wished to do? Complete this sentence: “If money and time were no object, I would totally want to…” Work in Paris? Market my invention? You could start today with a language tape and learning about the patent process.


  1. What are your forbidden fruits? Sometimes we tell ourselves that certain things are off limits, when really, it’s just a mirage created by a limiting belief. What seems off-limits to you but might be great fun if it weren’t “forbidden”? Acting in a play? Buying a telescope? Writing a book?





Once you have gathered clues and are firmly pointed in the direction of your own bigger game, you will undoubtedly meet the second thing about being big. As any hero will tell you, once you start heading in the direction of bigger game …once you take small steps – action toward your goals…the second thing undoubtedly shows up. And that thing is fear or self-doubt.


Here’s the secret about playing your bigger game: The bigger your dreams, the greater the stretch the greater the voices of self-doubt are because they prefer you to play it safe and not to change.  So in order to show up and play to your bigger game you will still get the socks scared off you on a regular basis. (Perhaps even more often!) But it no longer stops you. Spooks you, absolutely. Makes your knees go weak, without a doubt.  But when you’re living big, fear ceases to be a reason to quit but a sign that you are on the right path or track.  So go for it.


Because you have a Bigger Game to play, greater contribution to offer with that little hyphen of yours.


Author’s content used under license, © 2011 Claire Communications


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