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Play Small


Years ago I realized that when I (or my clients) think "BIG" we get very inspired. And that's where all change starts. Inspiration has to be there. Where things get hairy and scary is when we psych ourselves out worrying about "how." The result? Paralysis.
What's the answer? Hold the BIG vision (like your dream LIVElihood) and then "Play Small" with it. I'm not talking about the kind of "playing small" that means hiding, second-guessing or shooting for less than you're capable of. I'm talking about two concepts: Playing and Small Steps.

Play = creativity, flexibility and experimentation.
Small Steps = Trying something – anything – to make even the tiniest move forward. The best Play Small steps feel fun and easy and are usually non-committal, low-risk activities.

Play + Small Steps = Stuff Happening!

Here are a few Play Small ideas for you to try when it comes to getting a new LIVElihood:

  • The Little Search Engine that Could – type a few key words into your search engine of choice about the kind of work you long to do. See what comes up.
  • Get an inspirational book and read one chapter. Bookstores (and probably your bookshelf) are loaded with them.
  • Take 5 minutes to sit and imagine what life will be like when you love what you do.
  • Write a letter to your present self from the future, telling yourself what you learned on your journey toward work you love. (Try dating it 5-10 years from now.)
  • Ask your social networking friends who they know that does XYZ for a living. Ask them to recommend you as a friend or connect you so you can get to know them.
  • Ask someone who does something you're interested in to give you an informational interview.
  • Go to a site like www.vistaprint.com and design your imaginary future business card. Free, fun entertainment to get you in the mood.
  • Start writing about it. Limit yourself to 200 words and then stop.
  • Brainstorm ideas for your future business name, book or blog.
  • Get the book Strengthsfinder 2.0 and learn about your top 5 talent themes.
  • Imagine how you'll dress in your new line of work. Go and find one of the items you imagined and wear it frequently.
  • When you're frustrated with the job you're in, take a moment and think of 3 things you appreciate about it. (I know, counterintuitive, but it helps.)
  • Find a way to spend an hour around someone who does what you want to do.
  • Tell 1 person you trust what you long to do and why. (Make that a positive, encouraging sort of person.)


The list of possible Play Small steps goes on and on. Do any of these sound huge, hairy or scary? If one of them does, don't choose that one. The trick is to just do something. I'll bet you can come up with lots of Play Small steps of your own.


Vow to Play Small at least once a day and you really will start to see changes. I know. I've done it, and I did.


"Stephanie's PLAY SMALL model is brilliant in its simplicity.  I found that I was able to achieve bigger goals faster and with far less stress by taking tiny actions each day. Instead of sitting at my desk feeling guilty that I wasn't tackling that all-important goal, I focused on some aspect of it every day by achieving the small actions I designed for myself.  Giving myself permission to do just a little bit every day actually led to bigger action steps.  The daily attention to the goal minus the guilt was a recipe for success."
— K.K., Executive, Oakland, CA

"Stephanie was my coach during a very important career transition for me — from cog in the corporate wheel to entrepreneur with my own business… What an amazing, supportive and resonant experience; one I will never forget."
— A.V., Denver, CO

See all »

There's no time like the present for a free sneak peek at your new LIVElihood. Get on my calendar.




Work! Thank God for the swing of it, for the clamoring, hammering ring of it. — Anonymous

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