When “Go Big or Go Home” is BS


If you have a business online, you’ve no doubt heard the message a million times. Maybe you’ve even paid a coach money to dangle it in front of you like a carrot and then bitch slap you with a stick when you don’t take heed.

Go BIG!

Be BIG!

Think BIG!

Dream BIG!

(No one is getting points for originality on this one, ya think?)

I’ve got a problem with the current zeitgeist of BIG, and I need to get it off my chest.

As many of you know I’ve been on a sabbatical for the last few months, with no concrete plan for “what’s next.” During this time away I’ve asked myself some tough questions, including:

Why did I suddenly have this burning NEED to drop off the face of the digital planet?

Why did sharing my talent with truly grateful and inspired clients start feeling so painful on so many levels?

Why did I put so much stock in business models and advice that, in my gut, felt so wrong? (Stuff most of you did not experience or see, thank God.)

How did I get so far down a track where I felt not joy but only suffocating pressure to be a “BIG” success, success not defined by me but by a culture I thought I wanted to be a part of (and didn’t)?

As of today, here are some of my answers to the above:

Pragmatically speaking, I was burned out. In every possible way.

Creatively.

Spiritually.

Physically.

Emotionally.

In fact, I was beyond burned out. I was running on a deficit. (Note to anyone here verging on burnout: take a break before you reach crisis status. Much, much easier.)

Now, the woo-woo crowd would take this one step further and say I was suffering from a bad case of the good-enoughs.

You know, the “I’m not good enough” merry-go-around that intensely analytical-yet-highly-sensitive types like myself tend to get stuck on. It’s debilitating, but especially so for entrepreneurs. I work hard to stay OFF that ride.

Most of all though, it was the idea that I had to “Be BIG” that really messed with my head–and with my “success” as an entrepreneur.

Specifically, I started to obsess about reaching my “big breakthrough” moment. You know, the one that uber expensive coaches love to claim is just around the corner.

The breakthrough that will catapult you to six figures and beyond. The moment when the universe will bust open before you with clients and money spilling at your feet because my God, you finally saw the light and realized your purpose, your gift, your ultimate path for serving the world.

That reads like bullshit to me now.

But it sounded like freakin’ salvation a couple of years ago.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in breakthroughs. I’ve had plenty of my own “a-ha” moments over the years, sometimes with the help of a coach or mentor or friend, sometimes just sitting here at my desk doodling in a notebook.

I’ve also helped clients break through all kinds of perceived barriers. But waiting for a breakthrough–no, striving for one–ultimately stalls progress.

When you’re striving for something bigger than what you are now, you cannot possibly be focused on the present, which is where your true potential lies.

Such striving creates polarity and polarity diminishes the present and diminishes presence.

Presence in your business, in your body, in your mind, and ultimately in your heart. You become so worried about growing bigger, faster, better that you lose your very self.

When the momentum becomes more important than the moment, you’re a goner.

Things like ego and adrenaline take over and the thrill of the chase starts to mean more than anything else. It’s not sustainable.

It’s not aligned with purposeful work. It’s soul sucking and it will ultimately kill you and your business.

Believe me when I tell you this: this moment is all you have. There is nothing else. Nothing.

If you’re waiting for a crisis to teach you this, then you can probably count on experiencing such a crisis. Again and again until you “get” it. It’s the long way around, but if that’s what it takes …

The other night I was chatting with my husband, a very successful entrepreneur in his own right

. I was talking about what the next chapter of my business might look like. I was also expressing my frustration with the fact that I have such diverse passions and talents it is sometimes difficult to chart a narrow and distinct course for myself. So many bright, shiny things to chase and so, so little time.

Know what he said?

“Take the smallest iteration of your vision and do that. Just do that and everything else will follow.”

Now that’s a BIG message wrapped in a small package, wouldn’t you say?

And as business owners, it’s the only kind of “big” we must ever concern ourselves with. No matter what “they” tell you.


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