“Think BIG!” It’s a message we often hear from personal development types like yours truly. But should you listen?
The other day I went on a mini-rant about how the personal growth message so often lands as, “You’re not enough. You need to change.” Self-help can be just another form of consumerism, where a hole is identified that you need to fill.
The post was sparked by someone tweeting about the need to “think big,” to really aim high and achieve something big in your life.
So should you listen to the think-big message? As with so many things, the answer is, “Weeeell…it depends.”
What’s your motivation?
To be clear, I’m actually a huge fan of thinking big. The trouble comes when the motivation for it gets muddy.
Boiled down to its simplest form, that motivation can come from two places. It can either be a door to a fuller expression of yourself and your potential, or a way to fill in a perceived hole of not-enoughness.
Motivation is everything. Even if you get the same end result, how you feel along the way is completely different.
With one, every step is part of the adventure. Every step is valued and enjoyed, or at least learned from.
With the other, there is an underlying sense of, “I’ll be OK when _____. I’ll be enough when ____.” Except you won’t. With a hole-filling motivation, no amount of reaching your goals will permanently fill that hole. It will always creep back, like a sinkhole opening up beneath your life.
So should you think big? Sure! But be really aware of your motivation. Is it because you don’t feel like you’re enough, or because you feel like you’re currently playing smaller than you truly are?
Why should you think big?
So let’s assume that you have dug into your motivation and decided that, while there might be a little “I’ll be enough when ____,” it’s mostly a way to step into a fuller expression of who you are and what you have to offer.
What are the benefits of thinking (and acting) big? Here are just a few.
It stretches you. When you think big and aim high, you can’t muddle along in your standard comfort zone kind of way. It requires you to reach beyond your present knowledge, capabilities, even your current beliefs.
It expands your sphere of possibility. When you stretch yourself, when you reach beyond what’s immediately within reach, a funny thing happens. The sphere of what you see as possible expands.
It expands the impact you can make. If making a difference is something you feel called to (not something you feel like you “should” do), this is potentially the biggest reason to think big.
It energizes you. Pushing yourself out past where you’ve ever been can be scary, but it can also be energizing. And it definitely keeps things from getting stale and stagnant.
It stimulates growth. Growth happens beyond the comfort zone. And when you think big, that’s where you spend a lot of your time.
It opens doors. When you pursue a big path, you take action you wouldn’t otherwise have taken. And that opens doors you never would have known were there.
It builds confidence. Succeeding outside your comfort zone builds belief both in your abilities and in the potential to do even more.
Make sure it’s your big
One final caveat – if you’re going to think big, make sure it’s your big. Just because your entrepreneur friend is over-the-moon inspired by building a company and scaling it into something huge doesn’t mean that has any relevance to you.
Your big might be to have a long-lasting, deep impact on people you spend time with face-to-face. Or it might be diving deep into a spiritual path that has none of the traditional think-big trappings of external accomplishment and achievement.
Just remember, the path to the fullest expression of who you are and what you can do never leads through anyone else’s big.
So should you think big? And should you take action on thinking big? Yes! Yes! Yes! But if you do, be sure it’s a path to a fuller expression of who you are, not just a way to shovel more loads of temporary enoughness into that hole.
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Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM
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