In 2017, I was sitting at an intimate dinner party at my friend’s home. There were about 8 girls and I only knew a few of them. I love these kinds of settings because not only do I thrive around women, I love the opportunity to make genuine connections, crack up laughing, and just blow off some steam during girl’s night without smoky clubs.
But on this night I made an excuse and left early.
I got uncomfortable.
Here’s how it went:
My friend and I were standing in the kitchen with 2 of her girlfriends that I had just met.
Girl 1: “I’ve been saying you (referring to girl 2) should start your business for how long now?”
Girl 2: “Yes, easy for you to say. You know all that stuff. Girl, I don’t have time to be going through all the hell you go through.”
Friend: (Putting her wine glass down to emphasize her point) “Oh honey! You need to talk to Ivirlei!!”
At this point, each person looked over at me.
Friend: “Ivirlei does this for a living! She will get you together! She’s a coach girl. She’s my secret weapon. I go to her for everything! She is like my therapist who also makes sure I’m about my coin!” She then kept going on about our work together.
Girl 1: “Well, we need to talk then because I know I need coaching AND coin.”
Girl 2: “That’s dope. What’s your website so I can check you out?”
Girl 2 stood there with her phone in her hand.
Me: “Oh, I’m a private coach, I don’t need one.”
Oh, it gets worse.
Friend: “Wait, yes you do, right? I thought…”
Me: “No girl. Word of mouth private only.”
It wasn’t until that moment that I realized how ridiculous I sounded.
Girl 2: “Oh ok.”
She put her phone down slowly and we all changed the subject. But, her face said, “Private coach. No website? Ok girl.”
The moment probably meant nothing to them however, I made an excuse and left much earlier than I planned.
The truth was, I was terrified to be seen.
I started out as a private dating coach. The “private” title was added because many of my clients preferred to keep their work with me discreet. That was normal.
When I moved over to working with women entrepreneurs, I kept the same business model. I was fortunate to run my business without having to advertise much. My boyfriend at the time would brag to people about how I had gone so many years as a successful coach just from word of mouth.
But it wasn’t a “strategy” as he called it.
I wasn’t really anyone’s “secret weapon” as my clients called me.
I was scared.
My thought was, “Why do I need to do all that? I make a great living. My clients are happy. Tuh!”
This is called playing small.
I was spending my time doing the work with my clients to get them to fully step into their space and here I was hiding.
The truth is:
If stepping into your purpose can do help others, you have a responsibility to fulfill it and spread it to as many people as you can. Playing small is not only selfish, it serves no one.
You want to know why it’s called, “playing” small?
Because it is actually playing a role. It’s nowhere near a true reflection of who and what you really are. It’s an act.
I started Maven Mindset as an online platform to give the public everything I give my private clients.
Was it was awkward to coach for over 10 years and start online from scratch? Yep!
Was it scary to put myself out there and be wide open to everyone’s opinion outside of the adoration of my clients? Hell Yes!
However, there’s no way to truly serve your purpose by avoiding growth.
The pain of being uncomfortable is the doorway to success.
Every big goal we have is going to require us to get out of our comfort zone. Every moment we spend trying to pretend we are “killing it”, knowing we are walking in fear, is another moment that you rob the world of your unique gifts that only you can give.
So, I invite you to take some time before the new year to get really real with yourself.
Are there any areas where you are playing small?
Is there an area in your life that is calling for you to glow up yet you pat it back down with an excuse? Listen to that calling and take the steps intentionally to answer it. It’s an ongoing process but it’s worth it.
Keep in mind, I’m here with you….confidently answering the “What do you do?” question at dinner parties.
Here’s to 2020.