So yes. While I do talk a lot about biggification, the whole thing started as a joke.
When I launched this site nearly five years ago, I read piles of business advice, only to start really losing patience.
The neverending litany of think big think big just felt so … stressful. And pushy.
Referring to all the people who wanted me to get bigger already as “the Biggifiers” was a way to take the piss out of things a little.
And also partially inspired by that hilariously great line from The Simpsons about how “a noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.”
The problem? Biggification = intimidating.
Both the experience and the word can be so stressful.
And as soon as you focus on what might happen if you start to biggify, all that repressed (or not-very-repressed) fear of success kicks in like crazy. Not fun.
That’s why we’re looking at our monsters‘ myths about why biggification is bad.
So we can focus on growth that’s more organic and less terrifying, which I call mindful biggification:
The art and science of getting your thing into the hands of your right people without feeling icky or weird about it.
“If I start biggifying …”
1. “I have to learn how to … X, Y, Z”
And, of course, X, Y and Z are always things that are completely depressing and paralyzing.
“I’ll have to care about stuff like search engine optimization! I’ll have to promote myself! I’ll have to learn how to eat worms! Ew ew ew!”
You won’t, sweetie. Not unless you want to.
I have chosen not to care about any of those things and it works for me.
The amount of information/skills you need to acquire to biggify your thing is actually minuscule — especially compared to the mountains of research your monsters think you need to be doing.
They’re wrong. Ninety-nine percent of the biggification learning curve is internal. Like learning how to talk to your monsters. And how to not be impressed by the fact that you’re human and you have stuff.
(Caveat: sometimes you will need to find someone who can do tech stuff or explain things to you, but that’s a much tinier part of biggifying than you’re imagining it will be).
2. “I’ll have to become someone I’m not.”
“And then I’ll curl up in a ball and die!”
Actually, most people are busy trying to be other people. Which means that by not doing that, you already have a huge advantage in the integrity department.
Not to mention the Relatable and Fabulous Department, which is a very useful department to excel in.
3. “I need to be more like Havi and less like me.”
“I’ll have to write a million posts a week and say inappropriate things on Twitter and ohmygod I can’t do this.”
It would be the height of silliness (as well as poor business sense) to try and exactly imitate anything that I do, especially if you’re going to turn it into a guilt thing.
Giving yourself permission to do things your way is the best piece of advice I can give.
The other one is “try stuff”. Because that’s partly how you figure out what your way is.
4. “I’ll have to confront my fears!”
No confrontations necessary.
I mean, we can have mediators to negotiate with them and we can whisper in their general direction and also color with them.
But active confrontation? Not unless you want to.
There are plenty of ways around, over, under and behind fears. Not to mention ways to intentionally interact with them in a smart, conscious, loving, non-confrontational way.
All that face your fear stuff can be really violent sometimes. And it’s absurd that we think our only choices are running away or running into battle.
There are better choices than repressing or confronting. That’s kind of what we talk about here every day.
5. “I’ll have to give up this thing I really like.”
I see no reason for this.
It is true that sometimes, through the process of working on our stuff and discovering information for the Book of You, things will change.
You may find that you stop wanting to do things you used to do. Or in the way you used to do.
But to just give things up because biggification supposedly means you’re not allowed to have fun anymore, or to take time for yourself, or to see your friends? That’s just wrong.
6. “They’ll realize what a total phony I am.”
Not if you don’t pretend to be something you’re not.
That’s classic monster talk and it’s really scary and uncomfortable when you’re in it. But as arguments go, it doesn’t hold a lot of water.
7. “No one will like me.”
That is a worry, yes. And it feels horrible.
So much pain. I want to give you a hug right now.
And the whispered reminder that the more you speak in your own voice, the easier it is for people who are not your people to self-select out. Right? When visibility creates safety in ridiculous paradoxical ways?
8. “Whatever I do won’t be good enough.”
This is a hard one too. Especially because it feels so true.
So I’m not going to contradict it.
I will just say that for those specific people who need you right now, that’s what they need. Your you-ness. Just as it is.
And then we learn through experience that things as they are have meaning too. And this is hard. And I’m still in it too. And I’m sorry.
9. “Havi will hate me if I don’t live up to my potential.”
I honestly don’t know where people’s monsters get this one, because it’s absurd, but I’ve heard it more than once, so we’ll count it as a myth too.
If you want me to hate you, you’re going to have to try a lot harder than that. Seriously. There’s pretty much no way I’m going to stop liking you over something stupid like potential.
You’d have to burn down all my favorite buildings and be mean to my duck and stalk my gentleman friend and throw toilet paper all over the Playground. Exactly.
Also, this is not a parent-teacher conference. I don’t care about your potential. I just care about you.
You do not have to biggify. I will like you just the same either way. We’ve covered this.
10. “I’ll have to keep getting biggified and it will never stop! Bigger and bigger and bigger until it takes over my life. Nooooooo!”
Not going to happen. That’s because of the inverse hourglass principle, which I’ll tell you about soon. In the meantime, trust me — there is a way to sneak around this one.
Summing up the important stuff:
- Fear of biggification = normal.
- As is wanting it to happen and being terrified about things at the same time.
- Pretty much every objection that comes up is your monsters talking.
- They want so much to know you’ll be safe that they forget to tread gently with your tiny, sweet thing.
- Biggification isn’t something that you have to force. It’s something that gets more comfortable through the process of working on your stuff.
- Feeling safe and supported is a legitimate thing to want.
- Challenging your patterns is important. But there are loving ways to do that and there are violent ways to do that.
- It will be okay.
And comment zen for today …
Biggification stuff can be really painful.
So even though I can sometimes be kind of flippant because that’s my way …
I just want to acknowledge how sucky it is when all the monsters talk at once and biggification (mindful or otherwise), just feels so completely out of reach.
We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. We tread gently with other people’s stuff. Besos.
I’m just here to say how much I love you and all your wonderful wacky wisdoms!!
Thank you, Havi, this was very useful to hear. I’ve been having conniptions about the idea of biggification lately. I’ve been slowly coming round to the idea of trying to sell some of my drawings but the idea of having ‘a business’ makes me want to hide under my desk and weep.
.-= Kirsty Hall´s last post … A Collection of Random Things =-.
Hmm, let’s see … 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 10 – check. Did you in fact interview my monsters for this post?
My favourite part is the assurance that I don’t have to confront myself violently in order to move forward. With repetition, that is beginning to sink in 🙂
.-= Lean Ni Chuilleanain´s last post … Craft Bubble =-.
So many good things here! Thanking you…
Loved this: ‘the Relatable and Fabulous Department, which is a very useful department to excel in. ‘
Oh, the irony of The-Name-You-Made-Up-Ironically morphing into another bogey-faced monster!
Hugs and thanks for your loving wisdom, Havi. And fifty points for all the reassurance in this lovely post! 🙂
Maybe a giant scroll of it could hang over the entrance to Camp Biggification!
.-= Hiro Boga´s last post … In the Center of My Ribs… =-.
Havi, you are wonderful.
.-= Riin´s last post … Weaving, weaving, weaving… =-.
Havi, this is a great post, and I thank you for it.
There’s one thing I wanted to speak to, though:
6. “They’ll realize what a total phony I am.”
Not if you don’t pretend to be something you’re not.
My problem has always been that I have a lot of issues with self-worth and self-confidence. According to my internal view of myself, if I don’t pretend to be something I don’t think I am, I’ll never be anything at all.
That said, I have always at least tried to pretend to be something that I could be and want to be, and sometimes the pretending reveals the actual truth – the lie is what I tell myself, and the truth is what I’m “faking” for everyone else. But it’s hard to not be something I’m not when I feel like I’m not anything at all.
(This is where a monster – who has a very particular shape and name, but I’m not going to say it out loud – pipes up and says, “You’re just fishing, and everybody is going to think that you’re just saying this so they’ll give you compliments and attention.” So this is me assuring you that this isn’t the case. I’m writing so that people might read it and not feel so alone – so that they can say to their own monsters, “Look, someone else is going through this. It’s okay.“.)
.-= Chris Anthony´s last post … Quick thoughts on a Thursday night =-.
Oh, wow, first thanks for blogging on a HOLIDAY. I really needed this today.
I just had this EXACT conversation with my “self” disguised as the monsters. (They have my style down exactly) And they even became ventriloquists and spoke directly out of my husband’s mouth. Terrifying.
They told me:
1) We’re in the middle of the Great Recession. Now is NOT the time to go out on my own as a freelance writer.
2) I will never be able to make as much money as I do now “gainfully” employed in a job that sucks the joy out of me.
3) The health issues I’m having now are giving me a reputation of being emotionally unstable and who the hell will hire me if I’m psycho?
4) Speaking of which, I’ll never be able to afford health insurance and I’m a sicko. I need it!
5) There are so many freelance writers in Denver right now who used to work at a major newspaper that closed who are SO MUCH BETTER than me.
6) Fail fail fail fail fail!! Lose your house and your car and claim bankruptcy you silly fool if you do this. FAIL!
and on, and on.
What’s strange, is at work, I have no issues biggifying myself. I promote the hell out of myself. I even biggify my title because people pay more attention to the word director than manager and director is what the job is anyway.
But on my own: Too. F’ing. Scary.
Sounds like I need to do some more redefining and metaphor mousing and all that stuff. Sigh.
(But I really want to do this thing. I think this time, without the baggage of the unsupportive husband #1, I could really be successful. That’s ME talking.)
.-= lynn @ human, being´s last post … In which I backpedal and second guess myself about the big H =-.
So, I totally needed to read this today because I am about to biggify…like tomorrow. Actually, I should have biggified a couple of weeks ago when I accepted a new position which encompasses a lot of what I love. But those darn monsters…they’ve been playing numbers 1-10 on repeat–and very loudly! But, yes, you are right: it will be okay. Thanks 🙂
.-= Alisha´s last post … Workshop Mid-week Progress Report, Week 3 =-.
Have you read The Lorax lately. That last one about keeping getting bigger reminded me of that. (and if you’ve never read it, it’s never too late; Dr Seuss) He uses the word Biggering if I remember correctly.
I’d add “you don’t need a website”. Not right away. You need to have ways to talk to people who might need your you-ness. And starting with people you know and maybe hanging out on Twitter and having an e-mail address where people can contact you is enough to get started.
.-= JoVE´s last post … Conference presentations: speed dating for academics =-.
I found that you already had a glossary. Nice.
Great list. Clearly you are a mind reader and have been peeking into my skull. Both appreciative and horrified.
.-= Devin´s last post … The New In The Know Traveler: A Sneak Peek =-.
I’ve just gone through a really heavy round of “whatever I do it / I won’t be good enough.” And I have to say, if I’d seen your words first, I probably would not have believed them. (stubborn little ego mine.) But, having done some work on this and remembered that the first grader can help the kindergardener, I’m happy to see your kind words here. Maybe I can learn the other 9 without doing it the hard way.
Big love, Mahala
.-= Mahala Mazerov´s last post … Testing the Benefits of Meditation… in the Emergency Room =-.
Over a year ago you told me to just do it and get my blog up. It took me a year but it is up now.
For the past few weeks my monsters have prevented me from writing another post. I have just waited due to fear from the monster voices. Ugh!
Going to write now because “It will be okay.”
Thank you for ALL your help with the hard stuff!
.-= Stacy´s last post … Dreaming of empty buildings, food and community =-.
Thank you for continually pointing out that we can start where we are. One of my loudest monsters (actually I think it’s a gang of them) likes to tell me that I am not good enough at any one thing to make it my own; that in order to succeed I’m going to have to be better at something than anyone else. Whew. It’s exhausting! They’re so LOUD!
So now I keep whispering to them that it’s okay to start where I am, and I’m practicing that with little things that I’m not good at. I think the monster gang is starting to see that I’ll be just fine even if I’m not the best, because I’m not being struck by lightning bolts for daring to do things I’ve got no experience in at all.
Thank you, thank you! <3
Hey you guys!
@Chris Zydel – I love you too, sweetie!
@Julie – yay for not being struck (stricken?) by lightning bolts. And yes, it’s ridiculous when they gang up on you. Hey, Julie’s monsters. One at a time, please. Man up.
@Stacy – you’re blogging. That’s already a big, wonderful thing. So understandable that your monsters are going full volume. Sending love and wishing for good things!
@JoVE – ooh good call. And Biggering = perfect. Very wise advice. Thank you.
@lynn – kiss. Man, I know that routine so well. And the ventriloquist thing. UNCANNY. Oof. Sorry for the hard.
@Léan – I should interview your monsters. That would be very entertaining. It’s a good format for them since they have so much to say. 🙂
Hugs all around. This stuff is hard!
#8 is the one that has been giving me the most trouble, these days. Negotiations are currently underway with my monsters; we’re trying to agree on a working definition of enough.
Oh, and while I’m thinking of it, Havi, I want to thank you for telling me, a couple of weeks ago, to do “Transquarters! Level 2 transquarters. The fast ones.” You’d have laughed at my reaction, I think: What? But how can I do Level 2 transquarters when I haven’t even mastered Level 1 — oh. Oh. Ri-i-ight! Your intuitive, loving encouragement was enough to get my stumbling, fumbling, flailing Shiva Nata practice back on track. Thank you!
.-= Kathleen Avins´s last post … Still waking up =-.
Ah, what a wonderful post! Especially:
“I will just say that for those specific people who need you right now, that’s what they need. Your you-ness. Just as it is.”
Thank you for the reminder. I seem to need it a lot.
.-= Melissa Dinwiddie´s last post … Weekly Review #9: making art, making mistakes, but moving forward =-.
Thank you, Havi. I really needed it today.
.-= Terry´s last post … What to Do When He Says He Doesn’t Want a Relationship =-.
I came here because Chris Guillebeau mentioned you somewhere. I was a little confused when I first arrived. And I thought maybe I wasn’t your people because I’m more litteral and uptight and not as fun. And I don’t do yoga. (Well, I did just start using the Jillian Michaels yoga DVD and I love it, but I don’t think that counts as real yoga.)
Honestly, I still don’t quite get everything but I’m drawn to you and your gentleness – posts like this. There’s a lot out there that says you need to blow past your monsters or ignore them or beat them into submission. It makes me tired to think about that. I love that you tell me I don’t have to be mean. And that it’s ok to have them. And that you’re gentle in your telling of stuff.
I saw an interview with Danielle LaPorte recently. She said that you should pay attention to the reasons you’re drawn to certain people/mentors. The qualities in them you admire are qualities you have. I hope that’s true. I hope that when I interact with people they feel cared for, and peaceful and OK.
Thanks, and GO YOU!
Boy I sure hope you talk about this mysterious “inverse hourglass” thingie soon, because #10 is a biggie for me.
.-= Barbara J Carter´s last post … Art Show in Beverly Hills =-.
The part that stands out for me that (a) I know from my experience and (b) I didn’t realise I knew was that the amount of work needed to biggify is miniscule compared to the monsters’ ideas of it.
All this talk of working all hours/like a dog leaves me feeling inadequate and not macho enough and yet there is a whole bunch of stuff I can do that comes really easily to me.
If that doesn’t work in maybe a year or two maybe I’ll consider the macho-dog thing.
.-= Andrew Lightheart´s last post … Aaah, grow up already. =-.
I’m a new blogger & just today I wrote a post that basically explained my fear of Biggification–except that until I wrote the post & was linked to this blog (thank you, Amanda Lee!), I didn’t know what the word meant.
Now, I’m in love with this post & your blog in general & totally willing to rethink what it means to “biggify” myself. The most important thing to me is being REAL, and this post showed me that that is OKAY.
.-= Erica Lee´s last post … Brain Sex: Can You Be Unique On The Net? =-.