Make it Big! 5 Ways to Sabotage your Success

by | Aug 8, 2015 | Success | 0 comments

Are you playing BIG or are you playing small? Are you playing to win? Or are you just playing to not lose?

There is a difference.

People who play to win play 100% full out. They take risks. They are focused and clear on what they want and they do not give up. People playing not to lose, play small. They play just enough so they don’t finish last. They don’t take risks, they play safe. They play a small game.

So ask yourself, “Am I playing big or am I playing small? Am I playing to win or am I playing to not lose?”

When I was in theatre school, my mentor and head of our program, Tim Ryan, would always give us the direction “Make it BIG! Make it Funny!”. And it worked! When I catch myself playing a smaller game or being afraid of going forward, I tell myself “Make it Big!”, “Go full out!” “Jump in 100%!” and I’ll tell you this has never failed me. I have learnt some lessons along the way but I have never failed.

I used to play small and safe. I was afraid to stick my neck out or jump into the deep end of the pool which didn’t get me very far. When I decided to commit to a big game, everything started to change. I’ve seen this in my clients as well. When they go for it 100%, they don’t fail! They don’t lose! They might get slapped around once in a while or served a big lesson but in the end, they always win. You will always come out a winner if you play a winning game. The only time you will fail is if you play to not lose. Playing to not lose will not get you to where you want to be.

So why do we play small and what keeps us playing small?


Many people think they are afraid of failure. They think this is what’s holding them back but more often than not it’s a fear of success. I’ve had this fear and I still come up against it from time to time. It’s easier to deal with now, but I still have work to do. Even just last week it came up again and I thought “Uh-oh! I know what this is about…” but now I have the self awareness and the tools to stop it in its tracks.

What is it about success that we’re afraid of?

A few things:

1. We’re afraid of change. Playing big, playing to win means that something has to change. It means that you will have to change and once you are successful, it’s proof of change. This can be scary.

2. Not feeling that you’re good enough or deserving of success. This is the part that I’ve struggled with. When something comes easily to us, when you’re naturally good at it, we feel that it means we don’t deserve to be successful because we didn’t struggle enough for it. It wasn’t hard enough. Guess what? It doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to be a struggle. You have to put in the work, but the work can be fun, the process can be enjoyable!

3. We’re afraid the reward won’t be worth the effort. If we go for it 100%, we’ll end up disappointed and somehow we’ll be cheated in the end so maybe it’s better to not try at all?

4. We’re afraid we’ll be a “sell-out” or that others will perceive us as a “sell-out”.

5. We’re afraid of the sacrifices we might have to make. On the road to success, you will have to make some sacrifices. Maybe it’s leaving some friends behind, maybe it’s giving up certain behaviors or activities to ensure you’ll be successful.

What’s more important than knowing why we’re afraid of success is knowing how to overcome it. How can you get out of your own way so that you can have the success that you deserve? Because you absolutely do deserve to have all the success you want in life! How do you start to play a big game that you want to play?

1. The first thing is to change your mindset and to develop a positive way of thinking. If you’ve been listening to my podcast or reading my blogs, you’ll know this is the foundation of getting what you want in life. How do you this? Listen to positive things, read positive books, make sure that everything that is going into your mind has a positive message. You may want to listen to a positive podcast such as The Empowered Life? Also, The Charged Life with Brendon Burchard is amazing and if you like mine, then I’m sure you will also love Brendon’s. Read positive books; books by Brendon Burchard, Jack Canfield, Wayne Dyer. This is how you begin to change your thoughts. Feed your mind with positive thoughts.

2. Think about how you’ve been successful in the past and make yourself a library of success. You can write this in a journal, put in on your wall and you can even do this as a visualization process. I recommend writing it down though. Write down every success you can remember. Go all the way back to childhood. Successful moments do not always have to be mind-blowing moments . Think about the day you learned to tie your shoes. This might not feel like a big deal today, but the day you mastered it, it was a big deal to the little person you once were! Think about the day you learned to ride a bike. Maybe think about getting a part in the school play? Learning to drive, swim, or even playing an instrument. Think about anything you have been successful at learning or finishing. Graduating from high school, graduating from college, improving your grades, passing an exam, getting a job, a promotion, your first house! Any success in your life goes into the library. Write it all down- awards, wins, recognition. I think you get the idea. Go all the way back as far as you can remember.

Think about how you felt when you had these moments of success and know that you were absolutely deserving of this success! And while you're remembering these past proofs of success and remembering how great it felt, know that this is also proof that you can be successful again in any area of your life you choose because you know how to be successful! There are so many other things that you can be successful at including whatever it is that you’re facing right now but feel too afraid to do. Because you’ve been successful before and because you know what success looks and feels like, you can do it again, and again, and again. You are that powerful! Own that power.

3. Gratitude is another way to get over a fear of success. Being grateful for what you have in your life right now. Go back to that gratitude journal we’ve talked about and make sure you’re keeping it up. Practice gratitude daily. Everyday find a minimum of 3 things you are grateful for.

4. Also, look at your fear of success as a warning. Ask yourself ”What am I afraid of having success in?” Is what you really want in life? Now, I’m not saying this is a way to validate this fear, because most of the time this fear is irrational. But use it as a check in to “Is this really what I want? What is this worth to me? How would I feel if I never accomplished it?” And pay close attention to your answers.

5. And lastly, my favourite way of overcoming this fear… FAKE IT! You’ve heard it before. “Fake it, ’til you make it”. If you want to play a bigger game but you're scared inside, there is nothing wrong with faking it for a bit until you no longer feel the fear. Pretend to be the person you want to become and eventually, you’ll become that person. Imagine yourself playing a big game. When you play big, how will you dress? What will do each day? Who will hang around? How will you eat? And then start doing those things now. Become the person you want to be and maybe you’ll find that it’s not so scary after all?

I hope you’ve found this useful, please share on your social media to help others and please leave  a comment below. If you’d like to hear the audio version of this blog, go to