Time to Stop Playing Small

Time to Stop Playing Small

Woman not playing smallClick below if you’d rather listen

Stop Playing Small

This will be short and sweet.  Because it’s a topic that makes me so angry, I think I should limit myself to as few words as possible.

But I have to say something.

Last week I posted an article on Facebook that I had read in Forbes Online entitled “Why Do Women Round Down When Men Round Up?” by Forbes staffer Jenna Goudreau.  Her premise was that, whereas men stretch numbers (and everything else in life) upward, we women shrink everything down.  Including our qualities and capabilities.

This was based on a piece out of Harvard Business Review insinuating that women in all professional settings are held back by this tendency to minimize our talents, skills and experience. The conclusion was that we focus on the glass half empty, rather than the glass half full.  We are afraid … to make mistakes, look dumb or fall short of being perfect.

Valerie Young, Ed.D, author of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, concludes that “Being female means you and your work automatically stand a greater chance of being ignored, discounted, trivialized, devalued or otherwise taken less seriously than a man’s.”

I say that, by the time you’re in your 40s or 50s, hopefully you’re long past what to me sounds like self-victimization.  “Woe is me.  I wasn’t good at math.  I have no control over my own destiny.  I have to accept the crumbs that are left to me.”

You do have choices in life.  You can either buy into what’s being perpetuated in the media or you can decide that it doesn’t pertain to you.

And here’s why it’s particularly important to straighten out your attitude soon.  (If not yesterday.)

Unless you’re already financially secure for life, it’s time to stop playing small.  Time to “get real.”  No one is going to come save you.  It’s up to you to figure out what you need to live today and what you’ll need in the future.  It’s time to get real about what you have and what you don’t.  What’s important to you and what’s not.  (Protect what’s important and shed the rest.)

Nothing in the U.S. or the world economy indicates that we’re on a path to great economic improvement or growth.  Nor will we be seeing “pre-2007” conditions again for the foreseeable future.

This does not mean there are no opportunities out there.  They just don’t look like they used to, and you’ll have to be more creative to unearth them.  But they’re there.

So, especially if you don’t have a decade or two to waste before starting to get serious about your future finances, my recommendations are the following for anyone not already set for life:

1.    Get your head out of the sand.
2.    Get real about your life and your money.
3.    Stop procrastinating or lying to yourself.
4.    Ignore what anyone says you can or can’t do.
5.    Figure out where you want to be.
6.    Put together a step-by-step plan to get there.
7.    Get help if you need it.
8.    Take the first steps.
9.    And keep going.

Let me know in the comment section below what, if anything, is keeping you from taking these steps to the financial freedom you so deserve.


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.

  • Beth Heilman

    Too many times we cave in to what “they” say instead of doing what we know we’re capable of. You’re right. It’s time to stop playing small and step up into what we were designed to do…succeed! Thanks…

    • Anonymous

      Beth, I wrote a short article awhile back called “The Power of They.”  You might want to check it out.  http://sharonoday.com/power-of-they/  It was probably the greatest challenge I had as I addressed my money issues and redesigned my life.  Hope it helps!

  • I agree: ”
    It’s time to stop playing small and step up into what we were designed to do…succeed!” Thanks for sharing this post with us! Great article.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you, Anastasiya.  I’m grateful to have you as a reader!

  • Thank you Sharon for sharing your recommendations…we have beliefs, dreams, and goals but ‘The Power of Now’ and “Reality” can never be ignored! Great article…Hughie 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Hughie.  I honor your comments, coming as they do from Your Path to Life Success!

  • Wendy Landes

    Great article, Sharon – I am saving and sharing!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for sharing this with others, Wendy.  When I let my anger fuel my writing, I questioned if I wouldn’t turn people off.  But the limitations spread in the media really irritated me … because of how damaging doing so can be to any who listen.  Instead, we all need to keep prodding one another along to our individual greatness … and we’ll be fine!

  • Anonymous

    Wendy meant what she said about sharing….she sent me here!  At 62, I am working hard to get where I didn’t manage to make it before.  The hardest challenge for me is to pick one thing and focus.  I don’t do well with my efforts scattered.  But I’m working on it! 

    • Anonymous

      Welcome, Georgene!  I know what you mean about not focusing.  I’m 63.  Somehow, we feel the weight of time and want to address things faster … so we try to do them simultaneously.  But I’ve learned to be gentle on myself, pick one or two and get those going.  Then I move to the next ones.  Momentum breeds momentum!  Let me know if I can do anything to help!

  • Anonymous

    Stepping into our power and claiming responsibility helps us move forward.
    Thanks for sharing an important wake up to women everywere!

    • Anonymous

      MarVeen, our lives have become so complicated these days, it’s harder and harder to find the time to stop and reassess where we are and where we’re headed.  I love it when someone does me the favor of giving me a good wake-up call … and thought I’d pass that favor forward.

  • Hi Sharon.  I love your 9 steps.  I think we were on somewhat of the same mental path this weekend.   Now I just wonder where we might have both got that from – lol

    • Anonymous

      Like minds think alike, Pat.  I love the idea that you’re downsizing your home in order to get out from under unnecessary debt.  I look forward to hearing how creative and focused you get once you enjoy the peace of mind that brings!

  • Geez…I thought we had outgrown this long ago! Grateful to have people like you Sharon to speak it like it is for us! We are blessed by your passion and I for one am paying close attention to your lead! Thanks for setting things straight and motivating all of us to take control, get creative and take action! Blessings my friend!

    • Anonymous

      Denny, as I said in my comment on the Forbes article, “Damn, I thought I burned my bra over this in 1968. What’s it going to take?”  Part of what it’s going to take … is simply not buying into the message!

  • Dianedpickar

    This post was so brutally honest that it impelled me to sit and touch a response while I wait for a Breakout session to start. You really make the case: let’s stop allowing others to characterize us, and in the process, disrespect us. Anyone who cannot see the strength and power of women our age has not asked the right questions or enough questions to see our capabilities. This is true on both the individual and collective level. Thanks for the clear directive to get moving!

    • Anonymous

      It’s insidious, Diane.  And so disempowering.  Yet it takes two to dance this dance.  I just chose a long time ago to sit it out … 😉

  • Sharon,
    Thank you for this step by step process to get prepared for the future. I love the idea you spoke about. There are opportunities, they just don’t look the way they used to. It is important for all of us to follow these steps for sure, but equally important to know that opportunities exist. It makes all the doing a little easier

    • Anonymous

      Michele, as I’ve said before, the world changes and people’s needs and wants change with it.  We need to be keenly aware of those needs and wants so we can position ourselves to meet them.  Anything else is like swimming upstream …

  • Sharon these 9 steps are very clear, concise and no BS. Thanks to meeting you, watching, listening and implementing my “money” issues are becoming clear. The plan is now coming about face and step by step our situation is improving. My problem is being patient as month by month we work our plan and time heals those financial wounds we got hit with.

    • Anonymous

      On the one hand we don’t want time to pass so fast, and Ms. Carla wants it to go faster so she can speed up her financial healing!  Bravo, Carla!  You’ve done such great work: you’ve been willing to look honestly at some things you believed way down deep and to let them go because they weren’t working for you any longer.  I love sharing this journey to financial freedom with you …

  • Great post Sharon!  Thanks for the 9-steps and a wake-up call!  

    • Anonymous

      You are most welcome, Ms. Jennifer!

  • Laura

    Ok, Wendy sent me here too! Thanks for a great article, the nine steps are just what I needed to read. I have been in the process of coming to many of the same conclusions myself. Particularly that I don’t have a decade or two to waste. I have had many great ideas over the years but have always let a couple of people near and dear to me scare me out of pursuing any of them.

     Now I am hearing the same thing you are saying that now is not a great time in our economy. The problem now is if I wait much longer there will be no time left. I am a believer that anyone can be successful if they choose to be. I will be 56 next week, I am not waiting any longer. I refuse to live in fear. I am even going to send this to my 31yro son.

    • Anonymous

      Laura, I love seeing where your mind is headed!  Granted, the economy’s a mess.  Granted, it’s not going to be “easy street” again for a long time.  But, like other major shifts our economy has gone through (think industrial revolution, for example), on the one hand there is great displacement and on the other there are new opportunities.  What’s key is to figure out what people need and want, and find a way to become involved in that.  None of us can afford to “create” a flow but we can sure jump into the middle of one and let it carry us!  Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help!

  • Anonymous

    Great post Sharon. I really do think we have a choice about how we think. Yes, it can be scary to get our head out of the sand but once we take steps in the right direction the reality is much easier than the fear would have had us believe!

    • Anonymous

      Isn’t it interesting, Andrea, how often the FEAR of the future is far worse than the REALITY of the future.  After the fact, how often we say, “Gee, I should have done that ages ago!” 😉

  • Shahina Lakhani

    Sharon, this is short, sweet and to the point. I love the step by step plan and yes, getting our head out of the sand is the first and most important step whether it is personal empowerment (which is my passion) or financial freedom. Love it!

    • Anonymous

      Shahina, it’s so easy to just keep doing what we’re already doing … and typically that results in sticking our head in the sand.  When it comes to any change, that’s a non-starter!

  • Thanks for the 9 solid steps and the encouragement!
    In looking at the list, the thing that holds me back is not knowing who to ask for help.

    • Vickie, I’ll message you on FB to see more precisely where you might need help and, if I can’t “unstick” you in our conversation, point you where I think someone or something can!

  • Oh my gosh! “We are afraid … to make mistakes, look dumb or fall short of being perfect.” Talked to PJ McClure about this last week. I’ve been guilty of holding back being reserved when I’m not. Too guarded. Ah! Thank you Sharon:)

    • Glad to be another voice prodding you to open up to your magnificence, Tiffany!

  • Tell it like it is. Thank you so much, such a good reminder as I am stepping into what seems to be a million new areas of life- I have to stare my insecurities in the face and say the way to the dream is going to take/risk making mistakes along the way. But keep it going one step in front of the other! 

    • As you step into “a million new areas of life,” Sarah, don’t forget to prioritize so that lack of focus doesn’t become an obstacle that derails you.  Focus (and the little successes it brings) is what will move you through the risks and little mistakes that are a natural part of moving towards a dream.  And remember to enjoy the journey!

  • Wow what a great post as so many things hit home with me. Your right women do then to round down while men round up. I’m 53 and this year I am choosing to step into my power. I don’t care if people like it or not.

    • Kim, the “they” who may or may not like it do not pay your mortgage … nor will they support you in your retirement.  Just step into your power.  It’s the only way to be personally responsible … and personally secure!