Playing Small In Business

playing small in business

Playing Small In Business

Playing Small In Business


Clients sometimes mention that they feel like they are playing small in business, that something is holding them back. They may have tried coaching, self-help books, even programmes and mastermind groups, but the problem persists.  Often, this isn’t why they’ve come to therapy, but it’s something that comes up and, once it does, we look at how we can address it.

Where does it come from?

My approach as a Human Givens psychotherapist, is not to to worry too much about where the playing small template comes from. After all, just knowing is often not enough to shift this. The work has to be more experiential than that. Nevertheless, we do use a really useful technique called an Affect Bridge which helps us notice times in the distant past when this template may have been put down. For some, this can be enough for things to shift.

Critical voices

Most of us have critical voices in our heads, holding us back and making sure we are playing small in business. Some people call these limiting beliefs, or the inner critic. They might be quite noticeable, saying things like “I don’t deserve this”, or “you can’t really keep this up for long.” Sometimes they are more subtle than that, and can sabotage with us thoughts like needing to get even more qualifications, or just finesse your website before really going for it.

Our work together often involves pin-pointing these types of thoughts and asessing how to best deal with them. This will be different for everyone. However, the one thing they have in common is that the thoughts are always a method of protection.

Behavioural patterns and habits

Creating new habits and experimenting with new behaviours is an important part of our therapy together. This might mean reviewing not only the way you work, but how you prep for work, as well as where and when you you work.

Reviewing your enviroment

Creating the right environment to play bigger is important. Who is around to support you, to inspire and guide you?  Who might be holding you back, sometimes even for good reasons?


Occasionally, clients are held back due to a past trama. This could be a bad experience with a bullying boss or team where they felt undermined. It could be a horrendous mistake they’ve made in the past, or a more traditional trauma such as a car accident or life threatening situation that has sent their amygdala into overdrive and consequently they now operate from a place of heightened emotion and fear. This is not good for playing bigger.

If this is the case, I can bring my therapeutic skills and address the trauma through a gentle but effective method called Rewind which unhooks the strong emotions from the memories of the trauma or traumas. You still have the memories, but they loose their power to haunt you or hold you back.

Attitude to risk

Our approach to risk can be hugely important too, especially for those of us brought up in very risk averse families. We can address your attitude to risk, and slowly but surely tweak it.

Confidence and playing small in business

I love working with my clients around confidence, whether it’s speaking up in meetings or feeling more able to post on social media. Our first step is to address how you’d like to see that confidence manifest, but we also work on building confidence generally, something that will help you in all aspects of your life.

I work with entrepreneurs and business owners who would like to play bigger in their businesses. Book a free session with me here to see if we would be a good fit for working together, or contact me here.

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