Playing It Safe Is Not Why You Are Here

Are you lying on a nail? Odd question, right? Why would you or anyone for that matter be lying on a nail?

I read the this story several years ago told by Les Brown, well-known motivational speaker. As you read it today, see if you can recognize yourself in the old couple’s dog.

[box] One day, a man walked past a house and saw a little old lady rocking in her chair, a little old man reading the paper as he rocked next to her, and a dog lying on the porch between the two, moaning as if he were in pain. As he passed, the man wondered silently what the dog was moaning about. The next day, he walked past the house again. He saw the old couple rocking in their chairs and the dog lying between them, making the same pained sound. Puzzled, the man promised himself that if the dog was still moaning the next day, he’d ask the old couple about it. On the third day, to his distress, he saw the same scene: the little old lady rocking, the little old man reading, and the dog in his spot, moaning piteously. He couldn’t stand it anymore. “Excuse me, ma’am,” he called out to the old woman, “what’s wrong with your dog?” “Oh, him?” she said. “He’s lying on a nail.” Confused by her reply, the man asked, “If he’s lying on a nail and it hurts, why doesn’t he just get up?” The little old lady smiled and said in a sweet, grandmotherly tone, “Well, honey, it hurts just enough for him to moan about it, but not enough for him to move yet.”[/box]

So, I ask again: Are you lying on a nail? Are you playing it safe in your life? Are you conforming to what others expect you to be rather than rising to the true potential you are capable of?

Playing It Safe Is Actually Not Safe At All

Maybe you have a sense that your life could be better, but you aren’t doing anything to improve it. You have convinced yourself it is less risky to stay where you are, to give up on your dream, or to settle with what you have in life. It’s not so bad, right? Except you were not born to fly under the radar just to arrive safely at your death!

Perhaps you can relate to the statement my client made as she explained her state of mind before joining my Discover Your Purpose coaching program, “I realized that I could be doing so much more, but instead I was throwing it away for the perceived safety of a job.” Read how her life has transformed as a result of my coaching, and yours can too.

Where in your life are you operating from a place of fear, lying on a nail complaining but doing little else?

You’re not alone. One Degree Shift member and coauthor of Emerge: Real Stories of Courage and Truth, Johnnene Addison-Gay explained this in her feature article:

“We know we want something more but we don’t know how to go about getting it or if it’s even possible. So, we just stay stuck because it feels safer; that’s what we know. We know we won’t fail in the comfort zone where we are because we’re familiar with the here and now. But on the flip side of that, we won’t grow either.”

I know what she means because I have experienced it too — feeling discontent with an area of my life but doing nothing different to change the situation, too afraid to move toward what I felt life was calling me to.

When You Play It Safe You Will Never Fulfill Your Purpose

I wrote about my “361 degree” life transformation in the first anthology book I wrote with the coauthors of One Degree Shift, Strengthen Your Wings: Amazing Stories for the Journey.

I can still vividly remember that day sitting in my office chair gazing out the window. I looked toward heaven and prayed for the answer to fall from the sky. In my belly, I knew I was supposed to do more, reach more, and have a bigger impact, but fear and doubt kept me lying on a bed of nails.

Replaying in my head were the actions that I had already taken to grow my influence and potential, I admitted to myself that the payoff was small. Because when you play it safe the return is always small. This revelation only reiterated the fact that I was stuck on a hamster wheel, living an unfulfilled life.

Deep inside, I knew I was not expressing the fullness of creativity dwelling within me. I was playing small and it sucked! I was hiding to dodge rejection and failure. I tried to convince myself that I was fine with what I had in life… that it was selfish to want more. I was unwilling to step into a place of “not knowing,” so I settled and restricted my potential and what was possible for me.

You Can Play Big When You Connect With Others

As my hope faded a small tear slowly eased down my cheek, I heard a quiet whisper calling me to a higher vision for my life. I felt a gentle nudge leading me to greater meaning. As I traveled my purpose path, I came full circle plus one degree, and that one extra degree made all the difference.

That one extra degree caused me to question my assumptions about what I could have and what was now possible. As I transformed my beliefs, I uncovered my true self and the difference I was meant to make. A tiny shift in my perspective connected me to my heart, a source of infinite imagination and wisdom. As I faced my fear and traveled the terrain of uncertainty, I also strengthened my courage and developed a deeper compassion for myself, reclaiming the confidence I was born with.

At no time on my journey was I ever alone because a circle of friends witnessed and encouraged my growth. They became my safe place to be vulnerable, to be heard, and to strengthen my wings. Through it all, I learned to follow the melody inside my heart leading me to the play bigger and live a fulfilled life. The difference I wanted to make started with me.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” ~ Helen Keller

How To Stop Playing Small In Life

You are here for a reason, and it is certainly not to play small. You are here to make a difference for others, not only for yourself. And, you are here to make a difference with others, not by yourself.

I am not talking about connecting with people who make you comfortable lying on your bed of nails. People who you can easily enroll in your limiting beliefs, thoughts, and stories about why you can’t do, be, or have what you want. People that are lying on their own nails and singing their own “Woe is me” song. No! What you need is to connect with difference makers — people who are challenging themselves and will challenge you to grow and encourage the potential in you.

One Degree Shift is that kind of community. We are a teaching and learning community where people connect and work together and grow together and as a result go back in the world and make a difference. As your coach, I will help you navigate the uncertainty of change as you step into the greatness of your calling and the impact you are here to bring to others.

Playing small doesn’t change the world. And, frankly, it is not why you are here!

Join One Degree Shift. All of us need community to live our highest potential. With the encouragement and collaboration of like-minded, supportive friends, you will experience greater confidence, clarity, momentum and flow. It really does feel awesome to play on a winning team!

Where in your life are you being called to play bigger? Leave me a comment below. I’d love to offer you whatever coaching if I can.

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6 Comments

  1. Sue March 2, 2017 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    I am thankful to have you on my team now! I appreciate your coaching to stay away from nails or anything else that makes me too comfortable. I know I can’t do this life alone – I love this community!

    • Cassandra Washington March 2, 2017 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sue for engaging with me here. It has been a joy watching you grow more confident and courageous as you pursue your mission to bridge hearts through your writing. I’m glad you are part of One Degree Shift and appreciate you taking the lead.

  2. Allison McFadden March 3, 2017 at 9:18 am - Reply

    Great analogy of the dog lying on a nail resonates with me. I feel closer to getting up off of it each day. Your coaching throughout my journey has assisted me to allow it all to unfold. Thank you. Wonderful post!

    • Cassandra Washington March 6, 2017 at 1:30 pm - Reply

      Allison, I’m watching you and I see you expanding (then contracting), but that’s what all of us do. I’m happy you are part of our One Degree Shift community and appreciate the gifts you bring to us. Try this visualization: Imagine rising from the nail and turning to look back down at it, and then asking yourself, “Is that nail where I’d really rather be?” If your answer is “yes,” then sit back down. If your answer is “no,” then never return to it. The vastness ahead of you can then be explored step-by-step with curiosity and the gentle whisper of your soul.

  3. Suzanne Duque March 6, 2017 at 10:44 am - Reply

    It’s funny when you take steps to “get off the nail” then find find yourself on it again. Personal development is about growth and revelation. I have changed so much in the last 3 years due to Cassandra and this community. Cassandra once told me it’s like climbing a never-ending mountain. You can’t do it all at once, so you stop along the way before you climb to the next level. I think the “nail” is God’s way of nudging us on the the next level to which we have been called.

    • Cassandra Washington March 6, 2017 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      Keep climbing Suzanne! We’ve got work to do.

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