How to Truly Play Big

How to Truly Play Big

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How to Truly Play Big

I always disliked the expression “put on your big girl panties” and I’m not quite sure why.  Maybe because it just felt a little demeaning.

But, the more I look at our economy, the more I realize that the government is not going to provide the solution.  So we each have to take personal responsibility for triggering its jump-start.  And what that phrase says, when we don’t have our big girl panties on, is that we’re still acting from a place of dependence.  Of little girl excuse-making.

If you’re a regular reader of mine, you know my stand on personal responsibility.  Well, here’s another take on it.

A few nights ago, I heard an interview with a guy from Goldman Sachs.  I normally think of them as the bad guys, for the role they played in helping topple the economy in 2008. But this guy in particular was worth listening to.  Jim O’Neill is the CEO of Asset Management for them.  He and Charlie Rose were discussing where the world economy – as well as ours – is going.

In talking about Europe, O’Neill mentioned that one of the biggest problems Italy has is that only 40% of its women are involved in economic activity and that the brain power, the IQ power of women in that country is being wasted.

It made me stop and think of the role of women in the world economy … and in ours.  It made me realize that if any of us is playing small, then we’re not putting out our full woman brain power … woman IQ … woman ability … woman power in general.

If ever there was a time, this is a time when we do need to play big.  We have the ability to make a difference in our economy.  The sum of the parts – the efforts of millions of women – can get this economy going.  Bit by bit.  Day by day.  But we have to get past our own head stuff.

Anything we have that’s holding us back ultimately holds everything back.  I’m not saying that we’re the cause of the problem … but I’m saying we can be the solution to the problem.

So I’m going to look in more detail at the same nine steps I wrote about in last week’s article entitled “Time to Stop Playing Small” and how those steps can help you “Play Big.”  I hope you’re in this with me, because I think we can be the real hope and change.

1.    Get your head out of the sand:  Accept that you are an intrinsic part of the economy, even if just one cog in the wheel.  (Each cog counts!)  If nothing has changed in what you’ve been doing for the last three or four years, it’s time to look at it now.

2.    Get real about your life and your money:  Most people are living in some fantasy world and have not looked honestly at what’s important and what’s not in their lives.  If that’s your case, you’re basically running on automatic.  Same goes for your money.  If you don’t know exactly how much you make and how much you spend, you’re not being honest.

3.    Stop procrastinating or lying to yourself:  We’re talking about today.  Not tomorrow.  If you’ve had plans you haven’t implemented, or if you’ve talked for ages about something you wanted to change and haven’t yet, now’s the time to change it.  Look at what you’re doing with your time and energy.  If you’re not playing full on, you’re either dragging your heels or not being truthful.  It’s time to stop that.

4.    Ignore what anyone says you can or can’t do:  No one knows you as well as you do.  (Any outside opinion is just that: an opinion.)  And only you know how badly you want to do something.  If it’s important to you, ignore everyone.  Dream as big as you want … and then move to make the dream a reality.

5.    Figure out where you want to be:  It’s about the “vision thing.”  Get very specific and very visual about what you want an hour, a day, a week and a month to look like in your ideal life.  Live it in your mind’s eye.  Feel how it feels.  Let the emotion be a driver for you.

6.    Put together a step-by-step plan to get there:  Get clear on what the gap looks like between where you are and where you want to be.  Then chunk that journey down into do-able pieces.  And write them down so you always know what to do next.

7.    Get help if you need it:  If you’re tripping over how you handle money, find an adviser or a program that can remove any fears or obstacles.  If it’s a skill you’re missing, find an adult education class.  Tap into all your friends and acquaintances by asking for advice if you think they know what you want to know.  Help is available and does not have to cost a fortune.

8.    Take the first steps:  Don’t focus on the entire journey.  It may overwhelm you.  If the first steps look easy but the steps later on scare you, just focus on the early ones.  By the time you get to the later ones, they most likely won’t scare you any more.

9.    And keep going:  Find someone to share your plan with.  Ask that person to be an accountability buddy for you.  But be sure that person believes in your dream, wants you to succeed and won’t be threatened by any change you want in your life.  And be sure to make them part of the celebration as you complete each step.

Now congratulate yourself.

You’re about to start playing big!

Drop me a note below and let me know what you’re already doing to be sure you’re in your big girl panties …


Bio: Sharon O’Day lost everything at age 53: her home, her business, everything. But how could that be? She’s an expert in global finance and marketing with an MBA from the Wharton School. She has worked with governments, corporations, and individuals … yes, she was the secret “weapon,” if you will, behind many individuals in high places. Yet she did! Since then, with her finances completely turned around, Sharon has gone on to interview countless women. She’s done extensive research to understand how that could have happened, especially with her strong knowledge of numbers and finance.

The surprising answers will be shared in her upcoming book “Money After Menopause.” Today her mission is to show as many women as possible how to become financially free for the long term, through her “Over Fifty and Financially Free” coaching programs. She has developed a step-by-step plan to get past all the obstacles that keep women broke and scared … and from reaching the financial peace of mind they so deserve … if they’re willing to do what it takes!

  • Great advice and I hope every parent raising a daughter reads this! No doubt today’s women need to get out the big girl panties (I too dislike that saying but in this case it works!) but just as importantly parents need to raise their daughters to understand their power AND responsibility for their lives! Thanks Sharon…for getting me fired up this early in the morning!

    • Anonymous

      Oh, Denny, the mother-daughter teaching is so critical.  In my case, my mother is actually my major inspiration in sharing as I do.  At least I had the chance to learn all this stuff.  Her life was truly marred by not learning it …

  • Holli

    Sharon,  I love your writing!   I actually use the phrase “pick up your big girl panties” quite a bit.  My daughter had sent me a card a few years back that said something to the effect that thanks Mom – you always taught me to pick up…..   It made me laugh and it stuck with me.  Hope you are doing well. Love to get together soon,

    • Anonymous

      Holli, I’d love to get together.  Most online friends are so far away.  But we have no excuse for not setting aside more time to see those geographically close to us!

  • What a great way to start out our week! I think #8 is the biggest key for me right now! 

    • Anonymous

      Sarah, it’s so easy to get intimidated by all the “what ifs” and apprehensions of things way down the path.  Yet it’s so easy if we just start with the small steps!

  • Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

    Sharon, this is worth printing out, posting up, and reviewing three times a day every day! Superb advice, from the gender that is known for keeping it real, acting conservatively when faced with the very real prospect of scarcity, and needing a little push to advocate for themselves. What a powerful way to start Monday morning. Thank you for my wake up call!

    • Anonymous

      For someone as productive and focused as you are, Diane, I’m glad I can actually find a nook where I can help!

  • Hi Sharon…Thank you for sharing! Having a daughter who has recently entered the ‘Corporate World’ after being the Valedictorian for her graduating class and doing extremely well scholasticly and socially, it is great advice you are giving in your article for ladies of all age groups…Cheers, Hughie 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Hughie, I remember how I felt when I was where your daughter is.  At times I think about what it would have been like if I knew then what I know now.  Many pieces of it would have been absolutely invaluable … but other parts of our journey comes from learning on our own!

  • Anonymous

    Excellent article Sharon! I think once we are willing to be responsible by not only what we have co-created in the past, and what we are creating now. Then we are in a position to own our power. As women we have a unique God given perspective on the big picture and that really needs to be heard. I personally love the saying “put on your big girl panties” LOL! My daddy always told me to  “buck up”.
    Thanks for sharing, I will send this one out to a lot of my friends!

    • Anonymous

      Glad you’re willing to share this, MarVeen.  (And love the expression “buck up.”)   It truly is so empowering to take responsibility for where we are … and then fly from there!

  • Hi Sharon, I hope you will allow me to share this with the women in my Women Over 50 Group Coaching.  You have a great way of saying it like it is.  When is your new book coming out? Connie

    • Anonymous

      Connie, please feel free to share this with whoever you like.  Print it out, forward it, send out the URL, whatever you like!  All I ask is that it include my name and web address so I can share more!

  • Great article!  Love the fact that you bring up that no one know’s us as well as we know ourselves and that it’s ok to dream big. I have found that many times other’s will try to get us to live the life that they want us to live, but the reality is, we need to live the life that we have been called to live.  Thanks for sharing this and giving us permission to think big!  🙂

    • Anonymous

      Jen, we grew up having others (parents, teachers, etc.) telling us how to live, so it’s easy to let that continue.  But once we have critical thought and enough good judgment to make our own decisions, we ought to do so.  But others won’t give up their “right” unless we take it!  😉

  • This is great! We really do lie to ourselves so often. Even the best of us do… it’s something we all need to get past and these steps can help us do it!

    • Anonymous

      It’s infinitely easier to let things slide than it is to stay real vigilant, McKenna.  But it sure feels good when we get honest!

  • Anonymous

    Great advice Sharon! Getting your head out of the sand is a huge one as well as taking responsibility. Thank you!

    • Anonymous

      Andrea, those two are truly the path of least resistance!  What we don’t consider is the price we pay for going down that path …

  • Great advice Sharon. We all need to be more engaged and active in our lives. It’s amazing how we try to “ignore” certain aspects.

    • Anonymous

      … and those aspects come back to bite us big time, Lori!

  • Nice article Sharon!  And, it applies to Men as well as Women.  There is so much wasted talent from people just sitting around expecting someone else to take care of them or fix the problem.  I really like the way you say that we may not be the problem, but we can certainly be part of the solution!

    • I love the fact that I have “interlopers” because what I write to women does indeed pertain to men!  As I see it, the principal difference is in the lessons we were taught and how we were taught them.  Just messages … not wiring. 😉

  • I especially like #6, visualizing what the gap looks like between here and there.  I think that is a piece I have been missing.  

    • Anonymous

      Hope that’s useful, Vicky.  I know it is for me.  Helps me get real clear on the distance I’ll have to cover, so I know how much time and energy it will take to get there!

  • lori

    Very motivational article. Thanks for giving the steps. It is so important to figure out where you want to be, have a plan and take the first step! Thanks!

    • The first step is often the toughest, Lori.  It’s as if we’re not “really” engaged in the process while we’re planning.  But that first step, whoa!  (And after that, it gets so much easier …)

  • Cat

    I was guilty of having my head in the sand, after being married for 17 years, and letting my husband handle the finances. When I got out on my own, I didn’t want to have to deal with it, but reality tells me I have to, so Iput on my big girl panties and am working on it!

    • I know you are, Cat, and am really excited about what you’re doing!

  • This article is very motivational! Just this evening, I was thinking about how we need to make a plan & stick to it & then I read this article. #3 “…We’re talking about today. Not tomorrow…” really hit home & all of these steps were the kick in the pants I needed. Thank you!

    • Anonymous

      Happy to keep you moving forward, Jandi!  We all need a little “kick” every once in awhile … 😉

  • This kind of topic set me on fire. Coming from the east I’ve seen and know first hand how woman played small. Some had to play small in corporations and homes. It is getting better. Just for an example…my sister. Working for a huge American corporation in Asia…doing all the work but the ‘man’ boss get the….(fill in the blanks).

    • Anonymous

      I agree with you, Claudia.  There are many cultures where it’s almost required that women play small in order to get access to any power at all.  Here it’s less cultural than it is an individual choice … which makes it less forgivable.