When I was 5 years old and a child of the 70s era, I remember watching the ‘big girls’ who lived next door but one playing in their garden, they were pretending to put on a puppet show and had a velvet purple throw and some dolls; to my five year old eyes, they were the bee’s knees in junior entertainment! I longed to play with them and eventually I took up my courage and went over to ‘ask’ if I could join in. The answer came as a definitive ‘no!’ I was too young and I clearly (by the look of my pageboy hair cut) I wasn’t a sophisticated fan of the Bay City Rollers so had no ground to play with the big kids. I was devastated and did what any self-respecting five year would have done…..I told me dad!
Luckily, that day it seemed dad had finished with the vegetable patch and looking for candles (before the next power cut) and he took pity on my crumpled face, so much so that he decided to pull out all the stops. Did he go around and tell the big girls to play nicely? Nope. My dad built a bloody puppet theatre! He found a large wooden crate and turned it into something Mr Punch would have been proud to fight a crocodile in! It was such a crowd puller that all the local kids came over to my garden to marvel at the new entertainment in town – even the big kid Raymond with his C.H.I.P.S style Chopper came over for a look.
The ‘big girls’ were now on the back foot it seems and craning their necks to get a look at this theatrical vision. Then they came over and asked if they could join in. I was ready. Arms folded I was ready to tell them ‘a big fat no!’….. ‘only ABBA fans were allowed in my garden’…. But dad beat me to it and with a smile he said of course they could come and play! What?!!! Sold out by me dad?!!
As it happens, five years olds get over stuff really quickly and it wasn’t long before all the kids in the street were playing happily putting on ‘shows’ with silly voices and belly laughing at each other.
I had forgotten about this memory until the other day when I was thinking about how my little business had grown and I really needed to recognise that I had to invest some more in my training and technology if I wanted to keep on growing. Furthermore, I was serving no one by ‘playing small’.
You see, in reality, there is no competition except yourself. You may see what the other ‘kids’ are doing but in the end you have to go off and find the inner confidence to follow your own passion to build something yourself and here’s the kicker….be willing to share it with others, it is only in this way that we truly grow, enriching the lives of others is the antidote to ‘playing small’. It stops being about you and your world and it becomes more about how you can serve others with the gifts that you have. Time and time again I tell clients that by hiding their skills perhaps through fear that people they know will mock them actually prevents people who do need their help or talent from ever meeting them. Can you imagine if Mo Farrah decided just to ‘stick to park runs’?
This year I will add to my trauma therapy skill set and early 2017 I will be taking an advanced Hypnotherapy training course (don’t I know enough already???) Well I’d like to think after 16 years of teaching and 5 years of Hypnotherapy & therapeutic study I’d know enough to support my clients but that’s not the point: I want to grow and that means stepping up and being willing to listen, learn and share; it means I either go big or I go home and after all this time, going home is not an option!
Julie Phillips is a qualified teacher, education consultant and qualified Therapist & Coach specialising in helping people who feel ‘stuck’ with life issues, career breakdown, trauma, anxiety, fear, phobia and emotional baggage to become ‘unstuck’ very quickly.
Julie also teaches Mindfulness & Meditation Programs which are group sessions.