Escape podcast: Stop playing small

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Yesterday, I wrote about 12 ways to become more free in the New Year.

One of the 12 ways was "Freedom from playing small."  Fear of playing big is one of the most significant fears facing aspiring entrepreneurs.  It is what keeps us mulling around ideas in our cube for years at a time while colleagues, neighbors and relatives move forward and make things happen.

It is easy to get in the habit of being the "person behind the curtain," creating fame and glory for charismatic clients, executives and spouses.  But when we choose to play small, we limit our lives to "next best" and miss the opportunity for great contribution to the world and personal joy and satisfaction.

In this episode, I share some of my own experiences with playing small and the tremendous surge of energy and abundance I experienced when I decided to play bigger.

Why not decide to play big this year?

It is just under 5 minutes long and you can find it here.  To subscribe to the feed automatically, go here.

Happy New Year!  What are the ways that you are going to play BIG in 2007?

15 Responses to “Escape podcast: Stop playing small”

  1. I enjoy seeing what you write on line . I run a small business which goes no where there are days I feel like throw in the towell but for some reason I keep trying I feel like I am pouring money down a very deep well which well never fell up .

  2. How Im Getting Over Playing Small

    I quit a full-time job just before Christmas in order to spend 2007 working on OverSky. And since doing so, Ive had ample opportunities to brag to people about becoming an entrepreneur or about the great plans that Im really excited to be…

  3. Sue says:

    Hi Pamela,
    I have been listening to you since we first saw you on Amanda Across America. My boyfriend sat me down and made me listen to this recent podcast. I was really struck by your comment beginning with “It’s not enlightened to shrink…” I have been playing small, miniscule with a home business that I heard about years ago. I was moved by the idea of making my own rules and doing something meaningful. But I keep shrinking almost out of sight (I may show up in a microscope) and your comments really suprised me. Watching you on Amanda’s podcast I would not guess that you struggled with these same feelings. I wanted to let you know how genuine and how polish you appear to me. I love your attitude and have gotten alot from your podcasts. Thank you for your efforts.



    Thank you so much for your very kind words! I really, really appreciate them.

    I think all of us live with fear! I saved a quote by Anais Nin that I read when I was an exchange student in high school in Switzerland:

    “Our strength is often composed of the weakness we are damned we are going to show. ”

    I look forward to watching you come out of the microscope and into the sunlight this year!

    It really does feel BETTER to play bigger once you get over the terror. 🙂


  4. markee174 says:


    One of the things I really like about the Internet is that big and small become less relevent. You don’t know whether you are dealing with a 5,000 Employee company or 1 person and a computer. Things like service become the defining factors, and small companies tend to think much bigger here 😉

  5. carlagolden says:

    I am reminded of the quote of Nelson Mandela from his 1994 inaugural address (which was borrowed from Marianne Williamson): “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us….You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”

  6. Nice podcast this week. I’m motivated. I am going to “show up” this year in a big way!

  7. Excellent podcast!
    Fear is an important warning sign of potential danger, a risk. The challenge of playing big is to deal with them, without ignoring them.

    Some fears are irrational, some are real. For example, give up your job and becoming an entrepreneur puts your family at risk. Not being able to pay/contribute to my kids education may have serious impact on THEIR future. Irrational fear do not involve a real danger, only a feeling of discomfort.

    So we should overcome our fears by looking at the real threats behind them.

    One of my irrational fears was the fear for the unknown. To overcome it I decided to speak at an international conference in English (not my native language). I just did it, and there was nothing danger about it, yet it was frightening to do at first.

    A rational fear is of losing my loved ones, in particular my wife and kids, or spoiling their future. So I won’t quit my job and start my own business, even though I feel the passion to play bigger. I am still looking for ways to follow my heart without losing my head.

  8. Chad says:

    An index card with “PLAY BIG” written on it has found it’s way to my mirror as a reminder to do just that every day. Excellent podcast — the best yet, I’d say.

  9. Megan says:

    After having given this another several minutes thought, I have to clarify a bit.

    In my experience, it’s the desire to run a venture according to our integrity that mistakenly leads to playing small. Many of us have the notion that if we’re being true to our ideals, then we can hope for modest but not amazing success. We look at people with amazing success and justify, “yeah, but they can’t possibly have my integrity.” And so we unconsciously avoid opportunities for bigger success, lest we sell out.

  10. Megan says:


    I don’t think the issue of playing big is about behaving like big business. But you’ve totally shone a light on how complex an issue “playing big” is (at least in my mind).

    I think playing big means not being afraid to shine, take credit for what you accomplish instead of giving it away, approach bigger clients, ask for bigger projects, etc. It means seeing yourself as the person who makes things happen, and while you can be modest (by all means) don’t let that pull you into playing your skills and experience off as “nothing”.

    It doesn’t mean giving up on personalized service. I think it definitely shouldn’t mean running your business in any way that feels wrong for you. Isn’t that what small business is supposed to be about? Having the freedom to run the business in a way that just feels right?


  11. Wonderful episode Pam!

    Good advice as always, and I think that the length works as well-so many podcasts are too long, and could use some judicious editing (or should be broken up into separate episodes).

    I wanted to run an idea past you, so I’m sending you a separate e-mail. When you have a chance I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    Happy New Year!

    Dave Rakowski

    P.S. How’s the book coming? 😉

  12. Pamela Slim says:

    Oops – sorry about the broken link!

    I just got back into town. It is fixed now … sorry for the hassle.

    Happy New Year!


  13. markee174 says:

    If you want to stop playing small, how do you find what is the optimimum size? For example, if you are running a small business, one of the strengths is personalising the service.

  14. When I go and try to listen to the Podcast I get the following error message: Access to the weblog you have requested has been suspended.