Playing Bigger (A Reflection on Women's Month)
This theme of playing bigger came on January 1st when I mind-mapped my goals and created solid steps I could take to help me reach them. With the success of paying off a credit card, booking a long anticipated trip to Spain, and the constant flow of new clients...it feels amazing but is also starting to feel just good enough.
A life that is good enough is one of my biggest fears, as complacency easily sneaks up on you, dressed as your day to day schedule and focusses only on what has to get done. Don't get me wrong, after the struggles of last year, I am so excited to be in this position to work on projects that are keeping me busy, inspired and money flowing in BUT, as I continue to remind myself of the vision I have for my life, I realized I was playing too small.
This is something I see in so many new creative entrepreneurs, but particularly in women. It's the way our voice gets a little quieter as we explain what we do, the soft handshake, and the uncertainty of our words. Of course, this isn't all women (as I pride myself on my strong handshake), but are bad habits a lot of us possess. For myself, I noticed it was the language I would use to describe my expertise...I was only a designer or kind of like a creative director, or worse, I was trying to start a creative studio. What I should be saying is that I am a creative director with a background in graphic design who owns a creative studio.
I also noticed that I was afraid to ask for exactly what I wanted because I assumed I'd be asking for too much or because I simply didn't know what it was I wanted out of every job, partnership or opportunity that presented itself to me aka I was unclear on my wants and was unprepared.
A key to playing bigger is always being prepared and knowing your next step so that when opportunities do come along or you meet a possible connection you are well-versed in what you do, want, and can offer. Even if nothing comes from it, at the very least you leave a good solid impression and people will remember that. After talking with my business coach (yea I have one), below are some ways I'm practicing playing bigger.
- Upgrading My Vocabulary.
Women are notorious for always saying "sorry" for no reason! So, when I get the urge to unnecessarily apologize for something, I automatically cut myself off. I also use statements like "I AM doing...", "I CAN can do this for you", etc. and take out fluff statements like "kind of", "trying", "I think I can...", etc. People are more likely to continue paying attention to you when your voice is strong and you use solid language. The best evidence is how I personally zone out when people take too long to explain themselves or sound unsure about what they do.
- Surrounding Myself With Big Players.
I am always stressing how much the people you spend time with influence your success and lifestyle. If you're the smartest or most accomplished person in your group or in the room, you have to level up! I got tired of being the person who was working the hardest, dreaming the biggest, and actively pursuing my goals because I knew that even though I was doing good, I could be doing better if I was around like-minded people with positive, motivating energy. So, I purposely surrounded myself with people who I admire in different ways. They are striving for more, are amazing at their craft and pursue it relentlessly, they pay attention to details (because that's my weak area), and their daily life consists of conversations and financial dealings that are way above my head. It subconsciously forces me into that mindset and makes me competent in these areas.
- Knowing What I Want.
I've been asked countless times who I want to work with and why. I was so use to my childhood dreams of working with Pharrell or creatives alike that I hadn't taken time as an adult to figure out how I TRULY want to work with them. Also, it just drew attention to the fact that I wasn't well-researched or prepared. I don't even want to think about how many times people with connections asked me who I wanted to work with and in what capacity, and my fumbling of words, trying to sound intelligent and then bs'ing my reasons (because I hadn't really thought about it) were all missed opportunities. At the same time, it only taught me to not only always have a list of people I want to work with, but to always be aware of my larger goals so I can easily identify opportunities that would either amplify them or distract from them.
- Blast My Monthly Goals.
The only way to always be ready is to have a constant reminder of what your specific goals are and a deep understanding of why you want them. After I do a deep goal setting session, I automatically translate those goals into vision boards and put it as the backdrop of my phone or a place I look constantly. It's easy to set goals one time, but the real power is in consistently studying, looking, feeling, and working at them.
- Learn What I'm Worth.
I've been doing a lot of work around money for the past few months and I realized that the sentiment of not being able to make more money until you know your worth is SO TRUE. I use to think the two had nothing to do with each other, but taking the time to get this down made the difference. Researching industry standards, understanding my skill sets and experience, and getting clear on what I have to offer as an individual, allowed me to ethically raise my prices and attract clients that respect them.
- Prioritizing The Dream.
Not only did I schedule in time to work on the larger goal, but I do it first thing in the morning. Before any client work, errands, etc. get started, I spend time building my studio website, researching how to scale my business, looking up how much my future car costs and how that will look in my new budget. If my dreams are as important to me as I say they are, I should treat them as priority. The other stuff will always get done.
What are some way you learned to play bigger? Leave them in the comments below.
Photos by Aja Hitomi