A true story
I want you to know that it took me over a year to get around to reading Michael Port’s book “Book Yourself Solid“.
Yes, I’m a procrastination expert, and yes, and it took me a year to read a book I actually wanted to read. It actually wasn’t about being in avoidance. It was more about consciously working through my layers of discomfort so I could get to the point where it wouldn’t be interfering with my interaction with the book. There was just a lot to work through.
You see, what comes up for me (my own personal associations here) when I think about being “booked solid” is “Ohmygosh, what a complete and utter nightmare.” To me it actually sounds like high stress, no time, and no flexibility, all because you’re stuck with this ridiculously packed calendar that can’t be budged. Who would want that?
Now, the book has all sorts of useful tidbits (read it!), and I also know Michael well enough to say that he is a really great guy with a very good heart. I’m seriously pro-Michael. But a lot of the people who need to benefit from his book and his message just won’t. Or at least not unless they work through their own resistance to the concept of thinking big. Hey, we’ve all got stuff.
Here is a book that was written under the assumption that everyone wants to think big, should think big and needs to be told to think big. Actually, there are lots of us with big issues around thinking big. And sometimes “think big” is just not the advice you need.
When thinking big is absolutely the wrong thing for you
Here’s the thing with thinking big. It can be terrifying. And when you’re in fear, you don’t take action. Or if you do take action, it’s not going to be the kind of thoughtful, intentional, motivated action that is going to serve you.
There are a ton of “think big” people in the world, whether you’re dealing with coaching, “self-help” or the business world. Some of them are really great people– bright, charismatic, good-intentioned people like Michael Port–and some of them are pushy, sales-ey, highlighter-wielding types. I like to think of all of them collectively as the “biggifiers”.
Even if we assume that they are all well-meaning, brimming over with integrity and have your own best interests nestled in their tender hearts, here’s what happens in real-time:
- When biggifiers start shouting “think big think big think big” at you, your discomfort level rises to the point that you can’t absorb the rest of their smart, useful advice.
- When biggifiers tell you that you “have to” do things (and you know, uncomfortable things like “stepping out of your comfort zone”), it’s completely understandable when you default into anxiety mode.
- When biggifiers tell you how easy it is, you want to believe them … but you also know perfectly well that it isn’t. At least, not for you. And since you’re the one who has to do it, it’s not going to happen.
Sure you want to be able to think big, but you equally don’t want to have to do it, so you default into stuck.
When thinking small is equally disastrous
The more biggifiers talk about thinking big, the more some other people shrink. Which is the saddest thing I can think of. People intentionally not flowering. People who cannot be helped by the biggifiers because they are just not yet ready for big.
There’s a conversation I end up having about twice a week, always with someone who comes to me with a serious case of needing to stay small. Usually something like:
“Oh no, someone wants to link to my website and I’m not ready to be visible yet.”
“It’s too embarrassing to put up a website because it’s not like the thing I do is a real thing yet.”
“I’ve been wanting to make a flyer to tell people about these amazing classes I lead, but the thought of putting myself out there like that is just too scary to deal with.”
So let me just lay it on the line.
I understand that you are feeling nervous and maybe also frightened because you need to be able to trust your gifts. You are allowed to be feeling all of what you are feeling. And yet …
You are not serving anyone by keeping yourself small.
Oh my dear, you are here in this world with a collection of gifts. You have spent your life accumulating the ideas, information and experience that have made you who you are. You have the intention, the ability, the knowledge and the desire to help people have transformative experiences and live life in a more full, meaningful way. That is huge.
Of course it’s scary. Of course you are allowed to have the fear. Just remember, keeping yourself small is not helping anyone; it’s only struggling with your path.
There are people in this world who need exactly what you have. They need your gifts as those gifts are right now. And they are actively looking for you. They are wondering where on earth the person is who can give them the thing that you have to give. It’s not fair to them that you are in hiding.
You don’t need to shout from the rooftops, you don’t need to accost anyone or sell to anyone. All you need to do is put up a light so that the people who are looking for you can be drawn to you. You don’t need to shine your light for everyone. You just agree to shine for the right people. But if you don’t turn on the light, the people who need you can’t find you.
It’s not about claiming that you’re better than anyone else. It’s just about letting your light have a place too.
Even if you’ve heard the always-quoted Marianne Williamson line a hundred times, breathe it in again: “There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.”
Okay, enough with the cheesy motivational harangue. We get it. So if biggifying isn’t going to work for me and hiding out in Smallville is a disaster, what’s the deal?
The solution (and no, it’s not “thinking medium” because that would be dorky)
The solution is what I like to call Mindful Biggification.Yes, you biggify — but you do it in a slow, measured, conscious, mindful, compassionate way.
You practice acknowledging your fear when it shows up. You practice meeting yourself where you are. You practice letting “being in the process” be the “win”, and not having to nail some external goal.
You work on letting go of the need for outside legitimacy. You work on noticing where you need grounding, support, shelter and stability. You work on discovering which parts of you are scared to shine and giving them loving attention.
Your goal is not being “big”; it is allowing yourself to step out of hiding. Your goal is not “winning”; it is being aware of your stuff without being impressed by the fact that you have it. Your goal is not to achieve some end result; it is to develop a conscious, intelligent, loving relationship with yourself.
Mindful Biggification is not about forcing yourself to confront things or being dragged kicking and screaming from your comfort zone. It’s about love. And light. And taking your time. And enjoying the ride.
Thanks for reading my manifesto
You know I don’t usually indulge much in the way of cheesiness (shining lights, gifts and all that). It just seemed right. And close to my heart. So, my friends and students and far-away readers, get out there and learn about your light. Be mindful and biggify!
P.S. This doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but I just want to share. According to the latest Selma-spotting report: my celebrity duck was apparently last seen on a billboard in Indiana of all places with my um, slogan — “It’s all about the duck” — on what turned out to be an ad for a hardware store)!