‘Playing BIG’ – what the heck is that?

I’ve noticed something interesting.  There appears to be default listening around what constitutes ‘Playing BIG’ when it comes to the people that I know and have shared this Possibility with.  This default listening involves a vision of the future, bold goals, striving after achieving those goals.  There is also an element of ‘being someone’ rather than simply another human being.  So a great example of ‘Playing BIG’ within this listening would be to set up a vision of being at the top of Mount Everest, setting up the goal of being there at the top say by the end of this year and then getting busy making that happen.  And when that vision is achieved then I become someone ‘BIG’ – as now I am someone rather than anyone!

That is not how I speak or listen to ‘Playing BIG’ – not for me, not for you. I am clear that ‘Playing BIG’ will show up differently for different people.  For me ‘Playing BIG” occurs primarily in the domain of who I am being rather than what I am doing or what I am getting out (achieving) of life.   For you ‘Playing BIG’ may occur in the realm of achieving e.g. generating a $1 million in this calendar year, climbing Mount Everest or lifting 100 children out of poverty.

Looking more deeply into ‘Playing BIG’ I see that for me ‘Playing BIG’ involves the following:

a) Allowing my fellow human beings and especially my family members (who I interact with daily and share a living space) to be – just as they are and just as they are not. This occurs as a BIG ask as my default position is not to do this – it is ‘force’ them to fit into my point of view on how they should be.  I am noticing that I have been failing at this often despite my commitment to ‘Playing BIG’.

b) Allowing the world to be – just as it is and just as it is not.  Just the other day I was in a hurry to buy a phone case and I noticed the volcano of frustration and annoyance building up in me.  I get that my default position is that the world should work so as to accommodate my desire, my wishes – instantly.

c) Expanding my circle of concern beyond myself.  WOW – whilst meditating this morning I got that I have been so attached to ‘Playing BIG’ that in the process I have been ‘attached to not losing my face’ with the people who I have shared my stand in life (including that of ‘Playing BIG’) and as such I have been being selfish.  Specifically, I have not been being generous (compassionate listening, making time available, doing what was natural to do in the moment) with my family.

d) Expanding the zone of my self-expression and vulnerability.  Specifically, breaking out of the prison that I have allowed to build up around my self-expression.  In the process of expanding this circle of ‘self-expression and vulnerability’ I have opened up this blog to Google (before you had to know it existed to find it).  I have been singing.  I have been dancing.  I have been giving hugs.  I have been playing table-tennis.  I have been disclosing parts of myself that I have not disclosed before.

e) Dealing with my emotions (and upsets) in a way that creates harmony with self and fellow human beings rather than creates upset and discord.  When immersed in ‘Playing small’ i tends to let emotions fly and land where they land.  i does not take responsibility for what it is doing and the impact it is having on self and others.

f) Coming from the stand that I am responsible for my life (how it occurs to me, what phenomena show up) and letting go of the position ‘I am small and simply one of the pawns in the game of life‘.  That is a big one especially when I notice that I am automatically immersed in a world where the default condition is that almost no-one (from the ‘top to the bottom’) takes responsibility for their lives and the world that we live in.  We are all so busy ‘playing victim’, being self righteous and pointing the finger.  When it comes to that game, my i is as good at playing that game as anyone else that I know on this Earth.

To sum this up I’d say that for me ‘Playing BIG’ occurs as ‘mastery over my ‘self’, the ‘i’ that tends to run me.  For you it might be ‘mastery over the world or some aspect of it’.  And that is OK.

Now when I say that this is how ‘Playing BIG’ occurs to me.  Specifically, I mean that is how it occurs to me right now.  If new stuff  shows up then I am open to letting that influence how ‘Playing BIG’ occurs for me and how I play ‘Playing BIG’. And that means letting go of attachment to ‘my face – winning it or losing it’.  If you are remotely like me then you will know that is a HUGE ask: being who you are being, doing what you are doing, having what you are having without consideration of ‘looking good and avoiding looking bad in the eyes of others’ is truly ‘Playing BIG’.  How many of us play that BIG?

Author: Maz Iqbal

Experienced management consultant working at the intersection of strategy, customer, and technology. Combine a tendency to think strategically with a penchant for getting my hands dirty at the coalface of implementation.

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