Ep 77: How to Stop Playing Small

Ep 77: How to Stop Playing Small

When running a business, it’s so easy to step back into your comfort zone and play it safe, but actually this may not be the safest place to be, because if it’s not pushing you forward then it might not be right for your business. In this episode I explain why you should stop playing small, and offer my advice, based on decades of professional experience, so that you can start looking up and levelling up your business today!

Did you know that my podcast Dawn of a New Era has reached the top 3% most popular shows out of 2,249,182 podcasts globally, ranked by Listen Score?… Just 19 months and 77 episodes in – SUBSCRIBE NOW

Here are the highlights from this episode:

(01:43) Never stop moving

(03:28) Map out your success factors

(07:50) Your feelings are a superpower

(11:54) Own your journey

(13:47) Bringing it down to the foundations

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Welcome to Dawn of a New Era, a business and marketing podcast with a difference ranking in the top 5% globally for people who want to start scale and grow their own business. Dawn McGruer shares tips to improve marketing, motivation and mindset, as well as her own real life challenges and experiences as an entrepreneur. Guests include some of the world’s most inspiring leaders too. So if you are an aspiring established or serial entrepreneur, this is your go-to podcast to fast track results and rise to meet today’s challenges and master the art of online influence and business success and avoid common pitfalls along the way. Never miss an episode and subscribe and listen at dawnmcgruer.com.


Welcome to episode 77 of Dawn of a New Era with myself, Dawn McGruer, speaker strategist, and all round marketer. Now, in this episode, we’re going to talk about something that maybe is quite close to your heart, or maybe something that you are pushing away. And this is about how to stop playing small because it’s easy in business to keep stepping back into an area of safety and by safety. This means going back to your old habits. Now, weirdly enough, this is often not the safest place to be, because if what you are doing now, isn’t actually pushing you forward. Then maybe it’s not the right strategy. So first thing I want to talk about is how we actually operate and plan around our businesses. So number one is about making sure that we are constantly moving so that every day we’re taking a step towards our goals.

Never stop moving

Often you get into a feeling of being stuck because you plan for this sort of perfect vision. This ultimate has to be, as it is. You know, I see this a lot when people are launching, and this is maybe something that you can relate to. But when you look at your bigger vision, you have to think about when you are perhaps planning a launch or you’re moving towards a bigger event or something big in your business is not to put maybe too much emphasis onto it, but just keep a micro stepping towards that goal. Sometimes when we build something up, it just becomes so huge in our minds that the pressure behind the success is just too much, kind of think about it more of like a moving feast. Now, I’ve fallen [inaudible 00:02:45] of this in my journey in the past by really kind of thinking too big and just trying to make everything perfect for launches.

Map out your success factors

And often these are the launches that haven’t done as well, because I’m putting too much into it. And I’m not maybe stepping back and looking at where things could change or be improved. So think about if you are preparing a plan or you are launching something in terms of how can you do daily actions that keep getting you towards that goal? Now, the other key here is to get micro wins along the way so that you don’t have this huge sort of success goal at the end, try and think about what are all the success factors in the journey and plot them out. So if I was doing the launch, I would have maybe like 10 different things that I know that if we achieved, these are all micro wins or mini successes that absolutely deserve to be celebrated.

But what that does, it builds confidence, it builds clarity. And you start to feel in the zone that you are succeeding, you are achieving your goal. If we put everything at the end, it means that we are going through this really laborious journey, just to try and achieve it. See what you want to do is break it down. And now you could have 3, 5, 10 success factors for whatever you were doing. I know that when I launched my podcast, I didn’t just think about ranking, there was so many other factors. People who listened to my podcast, who visited my website, people who subscribed, people who downloaded people, who reviewed, people who connected with me on social media, people who messaged me on the back of it, people who downloaded resources. All of these things are success factors. So try and think about it, if you’re launching a product, what are all the micro wins that you can have along the way?

Now, number two, this is about being kind to yourself and really resting and vitalizing. If you have had a journey like most that has been a bit rocky, a bit up and down, we’ve kind of got this inner resilience that builds, but we have to take time out to rest and revitalize to recuperate to get past it, but we can’t hold onto the past. And there’s so many things in my entrepreneur journey that I look back on and I just think, “Oh gosh and I don’t have a great feeling about them.” I don’t feel pained by them. I just see them as part of that journey. So you have to kind of step away from things and step back and kind of look at it and think, “Well it is what it is. And that’s where it’s at.” We don’t ever run a plan and have it imperfection all of the time.

It doesn’t go like that. And learning is part of the journey. So you have to think about when you are going through this journey of building your business, scaling your business, there are going to be times that it’s tough, there are going to be things that go wrong, there are going to be things that you just think I have failed, but these are the brilliant things. They don’t feel like it, but a problem in your business will not be there forever. It’s short term, it’s something that will go, okay? You will move past it. So you have to almost embrace the problem and not bury your head in the sand. And just think this is where we’re at, this is how it is. How can I take one step past this? Okay? It might not be a massive step, but how can I make it feel slightly better?

And sometimes just by writing it down, addressing what that goal is or what has not happened in achieving that goal means that you’ll come out with maybe some other ideas, some other ways of moving past it. Like, “Well, okay, this particular part worked so what can we take from that? How can we use this learning to move past?” Sometimes it feels difficult and we’ve all been there where you think something’s going to happen, you’re pushing and pushing and you feel like you’re working all the time and you just not reaping the results. You have to then not just keep pushing. And it’s really tempting to do that. I’ve done it multiple times just kind of kept on thinking like, “Well if we just work that little bit harder, things will change.” It doesn’t, you have to step back, re-adjust to that journey and then set sail again.

Your feelings are a superpower

So as you’re going through the journey don’t… Again, going back to number one, have this huge goal at the end of it, try and think about obviously the success factors. Now, if there is something that’s bad in your business or something that makes you feel particularly stuck or uneasy at the moment, draw a line and every time you kind of step past that line and move slightly away from it, celebrate that success. Anything else that’s good that’s happening sometimes when there’s something bad in our business, we forget that there are actually good things happening too, but we just can’t feel those. So try and think about enjoying it and just documenting this. Sometimes just getting out of your body makes it feel a little bit better. Now, number three, this is about kind of using your feelings as a bit of a superpower. Like if you get anxiety… I think we’ve all experienced levels of anxiety in our lives.

Some people have gone through crippling anxiety. But you have to kind of recognize these feelings and try and turn them into a superpower. It sounds a bit crazy. Maybe if you are in this state, you’re thinking, “Dawn, what are you talking about? How can this be a superpower?” Well, sometimes if you are anxious about something, it makes you think differently and sometimes as I say, if you document how you feel, or just get everything out of your mind, you feel more in control and you have more clarity against it. So for me, if I’m feeling anxious, it’s because everything feels out of control. So if I can kind of get it into a plan and I can just do three things, break it down, get rid of my to-do list and just simplify it. I bring everything back down to base level.

And this means that you just start from day dot, you get rid of all your to-do lists and you have a blank piece of paper. And you think about how am I feeling? Why am I feeling this? And often it is to do with how you operate. If you need to have a feeling of freedom, a feeling of flexibility, and there’s something in your diary, that’s really agitating you because you just feel tied to it. These things, you have to understand why you are feeling the way you are feeling and the way you have to move past this is by kind of really thinking about how will you address this each time that you feel something. So it’s about recognizing how your body feels. If everything feels in ease and flow, then it’ll be much easier to kind of get onto the next step. But if you feel stuck, you have to recognize what is it that’s stopping you?

What would change? If there was one thing that you could just flip, would that change that feeling? And kind of own that as a superpower and think, “Well, okay, if I could change this one thing and that would make me feel okay, is there anything I can do around that?” So owning it, understanding this is your journey and thinking about… It’s all about you, because your goals, your wishes, your wants, the way you design your business is about you. So if you set out for financial freedom, you set out for flexibility and financial security was obviously that the paramount one, but you also wanted a feeling of flexibility and freedom around that. Then how were you going to carve that out? And this is about designing your life and your business about you, not by looking at what other people are doing, looking at their journey and getting [inaudible 00:10:23]. Almost canceling out the white noise.

Own your journey

If you are someone who goes on social media, a lot, you consume, and it makes you feel bad because you think everyone is moving at different pace to you quite simply have a digital detox, stop following people, come off social media for a week, focus on your own journey and focus on getting things done. I do not consume the level of content way past what I create. I’m focusing on my journey and I will dip in and dip out. But I feel that sometimes social media can de-gear us and move us into a feeling of “Well, oh, I’m a failure. I’m not doing this.” And we start to get this panic because we start thinking about, “Oh, I could do this, but I’m not doing it.” And the FOMO kicks in. So own your journey, think about what you want to do and think about, if you have a feeling, how can you use that as a superpower?

How can you move that to identify why you’re feeling that? How to change it up? And then when you start to recognize this pattern that comes up in your body, you will start to feel these feelings even less, and you might start feeling different feelings. What makes you feel happy if you really kind of look at that superpower of today? Oh, I feel really good. I feel really positive. Why is that? And as you start charting this down and looking at your energy and your flow, you start to see patterns and what things, it can be changed or move slightly that will help you take it out of it. Again, if you are in a feeling of anxious and then you see that suddenly you feel a lot better. What was it that moved you out of that state? And last but not least, if you have a feeling that something is missing, right?

You have to kind of own your journey. So many times I talk to people and they just… Every time there’s an idea, every time there’s a way of moving past it, they just say, “No, it won’t work. No, it won’t work.” This is really common. When you feel maybe a bit down, a bit depressed and you’ve kind of hit maybe a low in your business, you have to own the journey. You have to kind of think about, “Well, I can’t sit in victim mode. I have to become the victor. I can’t stay here. I need to move my myself past this.” So step into it and really own what the problem is. Now, everyone’s made mistakes, we are all human. So if there’s something that you’re beating yourself up about, that’s fine, own it, move past it, but be kind to yourself still. We have to think about the entrepreneurial journeys are not easy.

There’s other factors, there are the things that happen, there’s emotions, there’s all sorts of family dynamics and the things that can happen that can set us off track. This is just all about bringing it back down. And again, I go back to the feeling of simplicity that some of you will have experienced during the pandemic. It all got very simple when we were trying to fight for flour and bake our own bread and things like that, because we weren’t caught up in the day-to-day. So simplifying your business and thinking, “Right, what one thing would move it past?” If you feel like your business has got out of control, you’ve got too many products, services, scale it back, start with base level, and just think about one thing all of the time. Now, I use an analogy all of the time about this, where if I get clients who are talking to me about, “I’ve got this idea, I’ve got this idea, I’ve got this idea.” And there’s just so much, that’s setting them into overwhelm.

Bringing it down to the foundations

It’s great that there’s innovation is great, that they’re inspired by things, but it’s often just kind of like an escapism. It’s just like, “I’ve got all these ideas.” But you have to bring it down to the foundational layer and you don’t move past the foundations until they are in play and the foundations are hitting your certainty number, your certainty number is the number that you have to earn to pay all the bills, pay yourself and be in profit. Right? And the idea is that if you can have that through maybe a recurring income, then you move into that month. It feels very, very positive because that month, everything that you earn is straight profit. If you don’t have that model, maybe you need to start looking at the foundations, the model that you have, the money that you want to earn and the marketing.

And this is something that we do all of the time with the marketing money map, because these three core principles are the foundations, the pillars of a successful business. Now, I know if I get that right for a client within 30 days we’re pushing on another 20% increase in sales revenue. And that’s huge. So once you build those flat foundations, then you can add what we call the bricks. So if you have ideas now and you are spiraling all of the time, think about your foundations and then put everything else, every other idea is brick onto another list and just move it past. So you’re still retaining that amazing idea, that glory, et cetera but you’re not getting caught up in it because you have to be laser focused. You have to be really set on the path that you want to go on.

So how to stop playing small? This is definitely about not being perfectionism or perfectionist in terms of your plan. It’s about having it as a moving feast, it’s about understanding the journey is going to be… Obviously, bit a rocky road, but being kind to yourself and allowing yourself to heal if you’ve had a setback or something like that, but moving past it, but celebrating your wins as you go. So not having this pinnacle goal, but having success factors along the way. And again, if you’re feeling not good feelings, owning it as a superpower, knowing how you change that. And again, moving into… If I am feeling good, what’s making me feel great and designing your own life and business around your goals, not looking too much into social media and getting caught up in that. But also if you are sitting there feeling down about your business, that you have to move into the victim, we have to step away from the victim, we have to own the journey and we have to think, well, if there’s something missing, what is it that you really want in your life?

So I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s episode and make sure that you subscribe and come and find me on social media. You can find me on all the channels and you just search for Dawn McGruer. The great news is those only one of me so when you find me you’ve got the right person, have a great week, and I hope you can stop playing small. If you feel that you can step a little bit further, try and take those important steps that are going to make you feel that you are really pushing into the next level of your business, moving the needle and scaling and growing your business in the way that you wished as you set your business up as an entrepreneur.


Thank you for listening to Dawn of a New Era Podcast and for your free checklist to find out how to boost your business for growth, profit, and success, and join our community. Go to dawnmcgruer.com


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Multi-award-winning speaker, strategist & best-selling author of Dynamic Digital Marketing - Helping to inspire entrepreneurs to rise to meet today’s challenges and be powerfully present to shine online.

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