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Playing Small

Oct 13, 2021


Season 2, Episode 36


I love to challenge myself and others to examine where we are playing small in life so we can breakthrough, set the bar a little higher and truly go after what we want in life. So imagine my surprise when I was caught playing small in an arena where I'm actually an expert. Catch my true confession, how I adjusted in the moment, and what I learned from the humbling experience on this week's Champions of Risk episode. 



Tell me your Playing Small story

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Michael Kithcart: Hello, I'm Michael Kithcart. I'm a high performance coach for sales leaders and teams and creator of the Wynning Your Way framework. Welcome to the Champions of RISK podcast where we examine the many aspects of risks so that we can all face uncertainty with more humor, courage, and confidence together. 

Well, I had just like a downright laughable moment. Because apparently, I have not been living the life of the- being a champion of risk. I have been playing small, and it is coming up in ways of stories. So my question to you today is where are you playing small in your life? And where is it time to level up to be a champion for yourself?

So I'm going to start by sharing my little revelation, my little story, because story is really the theme of this episode. Because I work a lot with clients on navigating the stories that they tell themselves usually in the from the framework of, it's holding you back, right? Because we all tell our stories, ourselves things around why we can do something, what we can't do something for something is hard, why it's impossible, why it'll never happen, right? If you just start thinking about all the things that you tell yourself over the course of the day, how much of that information that you're digesting is actually factual? Chances are, it's really, really low.

So there is that piece about, we tell ourselves stories that keep us playing smaller than we need to. And of course, as we all evolve and grow, we want to break through those. And one would think because I coach others through this that I have already, you know, maybe mastered this on my own end. And the answer to that is apparently not, I, like you, continue to evolve and grow and have my lessons to learn. And recently, here's how it showed up. 

So I was doing a session with a sales team the other week. And I actually have a lot of sales experience as a salesperson as a sales leader in organizations like to the tune of 20 plus years, okay. I happen to have it in pretty specific industry, although I've had revenue responsibilities in various sectors, I really, most of my sales experience is in selling an intangible, and that is in working in radio.

And so the group that I was working with, was actually in the same industry. And I never told them that I had a background in radio sales. I didn't really give any credence to the fact that it's like 20 plus years experience in that area. I just kind of started going through the content, right, got super excited, had some exercises, was going through the session topics.

And during a break, I was talking with someone and we kind of realized that we knew of each other and have lots of mutual connections. And then they brought it to my attention. Well, you know, you actually have a lot of experience, like good experience, you've actually had a lot of success, and sales. And I was like, Oh, well, thank you. Thank you very much. And he was like, yeah, and you didn't tell us any of that in your opening, or you haven't shared any of the successes with us yet. And I, uh- you may laugh when you hear this- I was like, Oh, do you think that that's something that people would want to know about? He's like, yeah, gee, I think like maybe it would actually lend a lot of credibility to what you're saying, and what you're sharing, like, you've actually been in the trenches with us.

And I have to just share this because it's like downright embarrassing, right when you hear it, that it hadn't registered to me to actually share part of my journey. Because I just was so focused on, and being excited about, the things that I know make a difference in performance, and are they things that I utilized as a salesperson, as a sales leader? Absolutely. It's why I'm so passionate about it. But I didn't, like, connect the dots for other people, and help them come along. 

And so now that I share that with you, take a moment pause, if you will, and where might you not be sharing a story that would connect you better with others? That would demonstrate, rather than just saying, Oh, yeah, I have this experience, but like would actually demonstrate that you've been in the other person's shoes, that you have perspective that others may find valuable?

You know, it, it's highly likely that everyone is doing it to some extent, right? Maybe in your professional life, you're knocking it out of the park, like, there is no hesitation whatsoever to tell people about your area of expertise, which you're amazing at how you help them, and just knock it out of the park.

But personally, maybe there are some areas where the story you're telling others is outdated, old: small. I love this, like, Don't play small. My friends laugh at me, because I'm always like, I'm not gonna play small, don't play small. And I just did, I just did it. I did what I say don't do Oh, my God. 

So where are you playing small? And where is it time to be expansive, to actually just take a chance and champion yourself and speak up and make that story a little more relevant to what actually is going on in your life? It could actually, you know, change a lot of things.

I will say that I was grateful that I had this conversation early in the day. And I was able to go back into the session and kind of recalibrate and say, okay, so let me take a step back. Let me share just a little bit of that I actually have some perspective in this particular industry, and with sales, and did start incorporating some of my success stories throughout the rest of the day, along with all this great content, right? That I was so so very excited about.

And you know, you're probably not going to be amazed when I tell you that the things that people want; came back to me for, that wanted to know, more tended to be around the specifics and how I accomplished something, or how, you know, when I shared a story around courage to demonstrate, you know, where we all have that opportunity, even though I hadn't demonstrated courage earlier in the session. It was like, okay, walk me through how you actually got to the point where you were able to make that leap and go and do something different, for example. This is just like it, it changes everything on some level. 

And it made me think about the episodes that I do on the podcast. I love having guests on champions of risk because they share their stories, right? They tell you what the situation was like right before they decided to make a big leap, or they're sharing with us that they take risk every day because of the role that they're in, or that key moment in time.

Like they walk us through that situation so that we can be there lockstep with them. And they're always my favorite episodes and I'm, I just always feel like I'm so you know, caught up in in their story and what it is that they did next and how they overcame that obstacle; that I have, but I didn't ever really think to stop down and do it for myself with my own story. 

So in the spirit of this feeling a little risky of admitting to you, my lovely little playing small snafu, I am sharing a piece of the story with you and committing that I will share more successes and tumbles along the way.

And if this message, if my example, kind of helped you realize an area in your life where maybe you weren't sharing your full story, and you're now willing to do it, oh, let me know. Send me a message or post a comment in social where you see the podcast posted and let us know: What did you decide to do differently? What's the chance that you took? What different story are you going to start telling? I want to know. And I'll catch you on the next episode of the Champions of RISK podcast. 

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