I was on Facebook recently (who among us can’t start a sentence that way?) and someone in a writers group asked what was our biggest concern. My answer was “Playing small.”
Does anybody else feel like this?
Although I’ve been a published author for 5 years, I can’t shake the notion that I’m playing small. My dream is to rank alongside authors like Jo Nesbo, Ian Rankin, and Louise Penny. Yet my day-to-day goals are pretty tame. I’m pushing the boulder up the mountain but with teeny steps, not long strides.
I’m not sure why. I mean, I do alot. Enough to sound convincing on Anne R. Allen’s blog with a recent guest post entitled “What’s Your Author Strategy? 3 Mini-Strategies To Jumpstart Your Career.”
Am I lazy? Have a hidden fear of rejection? Afraid of taking risks? Hello, Dr. Freud?
These thoughts have been plaguing me since that Facebook a-ha moment. So imagine my surprise when I found PLAYING BIG by Tara Mohr. She’s a professional coach and her book is all about why women play small and how they can start playing big.
Her research and advice crosses all occupations and interests. While her target audience is female, I think her ideas are for everybody.
The main themes in PLAYING BIG are about believing in yourself, shutting out negative self-criticism, forming action plans, and advancing a purposeful agenda. Mohr offers a ton of actionable ideas, peppered with case studies and her own experiences.
One of her chapters is about “unhooking” from praise and criticism, a seesaw many new authors ride. Mohr writes “One of the most important mental shifts a woman can make to support her playing big is to stop thinking of criticism as a signal of a problem and to start thinking of criticism as part and parcel of doing important work.”
Mohr goes on to urge readers to check out reviews of favorite authors. Read all the praise, then all the criticism. “The polarization and diametrically opposed opinions . . . become almost humorous. Reading a handful of reviews, it becomes obvious that any substantive work draws a wide range of reactions.”
I’m still mulling over PLAYING BIG and thinking what I can do to lengthen my stride. I’ve started a list.
First entry: Spend less time on Facebook.
But seriously. What does playing big mean to you?