Are You Playing Small?

I still have guilt over taking the biggest office.

Not long ago, our team moved out of our company’s office building and into a private suite about a five minute drive away. There were many reasons behind this decision, and quite frankly every day any one of us comes to the new office, we are incredibly grateful.

And yet, every now and then, a little bit of guilt creeps into my mind.

We all have our own offices. And mine is by far the biggest. It’s the corner office with the huge windows. I have views of a large parking lot through one set of windows, and a treed berm though the other set. I have a giant desk, a couch, and two slipper chairs in there.

And it is magnificent.

And it’s all mine.

It’s exactly what I wanted. And yet there’s the guilt.

Then I remember that I’m playing small. How can I feel bad about getting what I want? Someone had to take the biggest office, and it was offered to me. I bring value to the team so why shouldn’t I get the biggest office?

This is the team’s way of recognizing my accomplishments and my contributions to the team.

I don’t ask for much.

But I asked for this.

And now I have it.

So I’m going to enjoy it. Every time the sun comes in my office and warms my skin, I’m going to smile. Every time I close my door and focus on my work, I’m going to be grateful.

I’ve earned this.

How are you playing small? Do you feel guilty for accepting a gift from a team member or client because you feel like you didn’t do anything to deserve it?

When someone pays you a compliment, do you brush it off like you’re not worthy of such high praise?

Do you wait to speak up at meetings even though you know you have a kick-ass idea?

Does criticism reduce you to tears?

Do you berate yourself when you make a mistake because it’s not perfect?

All of these are sign you are playing small.

The problem with playing small is that it rarely gets you what you want.

Here’s the remedy: raise your voice so that you are heard, step on some toes (they are just toes, it’s not like you are poking out an eye), be gentle with yourself.

If you can’t get what you want in one area, then seek it somewhere else.

But never, ever play small.

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