Playing small is F#cking Boring.
Okay, I will be honest, I hesitated with this title, and I thought maybe I should change one of the words, so I didn’t offend anyone, but then I remembered there are books on the shelves in bookstores with this word in the title so who am I really worried about offending? I can almost guarantee anyone who follows me or who has read my blog can appreciate the emphasis that the F-word brings to a statement. I also want to be completely authentic to any future clients, and I can promise you if you hire me as a life coach; I might swear.
I could have used words like incredibly, or very, or extremely, but most people who I know follow and read my entries would not be intrigued by those words; quite frankly neither would I. Anyway, I digress.
Playing small is F#cking Boring.
Having worked in a job for ten years that wasn’t “the” job for me, makes this statement resonate with me. What’s interesting is my job as a police officer was far from boring, and there was not one single day that was the same as another. So why was I so bored?
I recently watched a video about discovering your gifts and what to do with them. Since losing my fiancé, I have preached living on purpose because life is too short to become stagnant. If we aren’t living on purpose, we are missing so much as the days pass us by.
When I was working as a cop, I was not living on purpose. I was getting up at hours that make me sick to my stomach to drive over 30 minutes (sometimes more) to a job that I often hated. I went into policing because I thought it would not only be really fun, but I thought I could do good for people. It didn’t take me long to realize that with the legal system we have in this country it is challenging to do good for anyone who has been victimized by a crime. I still carried on and did my very best every single day. Many cops as we speak are still trying, and they are the ones who become burnt out and jaded through the process. I having nothing but respect for those of you who fall into that category and if you are reading this; you are important and what you do is admirable.
I knew that my energy was depleting. Any chance I had to do good for people was being overwhelmed by frustration, disappointment, guilt, and exhaustion. I felt like I was playing small as a cop and the more tired I became, the smaller I felt. I rarely went home feeling like I changed anyone’s life for the better and I often went home with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach because I worked with people who should never have been given the honor to wear the uniform because they are the furthest thing from good.
Hear me when I say this, there are so many good people who wear the uniform every day and I know and love many of them, but these people, on a daily basis, are being painted with the same brush as those who are untrustworthy, corrupt, and cold-hearted; and that makes life as a cop very hard and it made me feel like I was playing small.
As a cop, I felt I was playing small in a pool of people, and a society of hate, that sucked the life right out of me. Nevertheless, I stayed, because for me, at the time; it was the easier road and was comfortable and secure.
Change is not easy and admitting that a job, that you thought would be your job for life, is not the job for you; is really hard. I felt ashamed, I felt guilty, and I felt regretful, and it wasn’t until my fiancé, and I sat down and made a five-year plan that some of those feelings went away. I wasn’t quitting because I was giving up, I was quitting because I wanted to do more.
Enrolling in University as an adult while working a full-time job is what some would call crazy, but for me, it brought me a sense of freedom and a feeling of opportunity that I hadn’t felt in a really long time.
As many of you know, only a short few weeks after I made this decision I experienced a devastating loss. My fiance was killed in an avalanche while snowmobiling at the age of 30 years old. That same man who helped me make the decision to start playing big.
The very first thing I said to my colleagues when I saw them was, “I am not going back to policing.” Many of them thought I was just in shock and beginning the process of my grief, but those who knew me well knew that I was serious.
I was playing small as a cop, and I knew I wanted something different. Did I know exactly what I wanted at the time? No, but I knew what I didn’t want, and that was enough to get the process of change started.
So I quit my job, exactly one year after the death of my fiance. His death was my rebirth and although it was one of the worst things that could ever happen to me; it was also the best in terms of perspective.
Not everyone can quit their jobs tomorrow, and no one who cares about your well being will encourage you to do that. However, with that said, everyone has the ability to create an exit plan. Even if your exit plan consists of one or two or five years of hard work; it is better than playing small forever because playing small is f#cking boring.
Here is what I have learned:
1. You do not have to work in a job that you hate forever.
2. Just because someone loves the job, doesn’t mean you have to.
3. Everyone is different. Not better or worse; just different.
4. Change is hard, but it’s worth it.
5. Some people have left careers just like yours, and if you do some research, you can find one of them to help you through the process. You might have to pay for it but it will be the best money you have ever spent because it will give you your life back. I have invested several dollars into the journey of my self-growth and I have no regrets.
6. Always, always, always follow your gut.
7. Playing small is f#cking boring.
If you are at a place in your life where you feel like you’re playing small, take a moment to reassess what it is you want, and if you can’t figure out what you want; be clear on what you don’t want because that is also progress in the right direction.
STOP justifying why you are staying in a career that creates more anxiety than it does satisfaction. STOP making excuses and STOP playing small.
You have been given one life, and if you are feeling like you were made for so much more; you’re probably right.