Your playing small does not serve the world. Who are you not to be great?
— Nelson Mandela

When I decided to start my own coaching business, I had to fight against an urge to play it small. An introvert by nature, I struggled with the fear of exposing myself, of putting myself “out there,” so to speak. Sure, I had been “out there” as a New York City on-air, live television reporter, Mayor Michael Bloomberg Administration and Fortune 50 corporate spokesperson. Still, this was different. I’d be reporting to me. I’d be speaking on behalf of, and representing myself. I also wouldn’t have the comfort of a steady paycheck.

Getting to this point wasn’t easy, I experienced a lot of fear, anxiety and self-doubt. But I knew that if I didn’t try, I wouldn’t know what I was made of, and I certainly wouldn’t fulfill my potential. I’d also be giving up something that filled me with purpose and passion. As a Life Coach, I help others recognize and release what holds them back from reaching their goals, and from being happier, more joyful and fulfilled. To not play small. In order to do that, we often work through the three areas below: limiting beliefs, getting out of a comfort zone, and sharing gifts and talents.

Limiting Beliefs

Change your story, change your life. Divorce the story of limitation, and marry the story of the truth and everything changes.
— Tony Robbins

A limiting belief is something that you accept about yourself, others, life or the world that limits you in some way. That holds you back. Beliefs like, “I’m too old,” “I could never do that,” “I can’t change,” “life is supposed to be hard,” or “I can’t trust others (or a specific ethnic or gender group).”

The problem with limiting beliefs is that they aren’t true. They keep us stuck. They prevent us from seeing other options, and solutions.

Limiting beliefs can be so ingrained in our minds we may not even be aware of them. To identify yours, think of a goal you’d like to achieve, and notice, or write down all the negative thoughts that come up. Are those negative thoughts really true? Or are they excuses for not going after what you want? Ask yourself, “How does holding onto that belief help and serve me?” Most likely, it doesn’t. See if you can let it go, or replace it with a positive belief, such as “I can achieve whatever I set my mind to,” or “I find solutions to any problems that may arise.”

Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
— Neale Donald Walsch

It’s so easy to stay where we feel comfortable. However, if we want to grow, be it personally or professionally, we have to venture into uncomfortable territory. A classic psychology experiment found that in order to perform at maximum, we need to be in a space of “Optimal Anxiety.” This is where we experience just the right amount of stress (not too much, not too little), to increase our performance levels. However, too much stress, and the opposite happens. Our performance drops sharply.

What have you been putting off trying, or doing because it feels reasonably uncomfortable? Consider some of the benefits of pushing past your comfort zone: you’ll be more productive, have an easier time dealing with new and unexpected changes, and you’ll find it easier to push your boundaries next time.

Share Your Gifts and Talents

Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?
— Benjamin Franklin

There’s no one like you in the world. You possess unique gifts and talents. By using them, you connect to your personal purpose and passion. Feel like something is missing? It’s probably that connection. What makes you lose track of time, or puts you in the flow? What gives you joy, or a sense of satisfaction or fulfillment? Is it something creative like singing, dancing or painting? Or thrill seeking like extreme sports, or trying something new? Or maybe it’s coaching a youth sports team. Do more of whatever makes you happy to be alive! It’ll not only benefit you, it’ll be good for others too.

It doesn’t serve you, or the world to play it small. Find ways to release old, limiting beliefs and replace them with new, positive ones. Do the things that initially feel uncomfortable (safely), and express yourself fully. Be YOU.

How do you work through any of the above? Share any tips, or comments on my blog or Facebook page.