How to Play a Bigger Game (A Pink Report from BlogHer ’10)

Last week I attended the BlogHer ’10 Conference in NYC. One of the reasons I was there was to represent “Team Owning Pink.” (That’s a pic of us after Lissa’s “What? You Can’t Say Vagina?” keynote speech!) Another reason I went was because I wanted to challenge myself to play a bigger game - which required that I extend myself way outside of my comfort zone.

Here’s the thing: I’m very happy connecting with people online through blogging, Facebook and Twitter, but I know that if I’m going to see my business grow and thrive I need to do more things that take me away from the comfortable sanctuary I’ve created in my home office.

First decide what you want

I decided BlogHer ’10 was going to be a fabulous networking opportunity. Note the word “decided” – that’s deliberate. I’d only gone to one other networking event – it happened last August – and it was decidedly not fabulous. 

I went into it with a weak idea of what I wanted from it. I was told it was important to “network,” so I went. Afterwards I told myself, “See, I did it, and nothing special happened. All I know is that I don’t want to do that again.”

I treated it like a blind date, and as if it was a giant waste of time if I didn’t find someone to marry right off the bat. Now I realize that I want to go into the experience with the intention that it’s about starting the conversations that could lead to a meaningful relationship.

Still, who likes to go on a bunch of blind dates, right?

What I’ve learned is that if you’re willing to put yourself out there, and go into it with a really clear idea of what you want, and you’re willing let it develop over time -- well, it won’t be a waste of your time, and there’s a chance that magic will happen.

First, of course, you have to be willing to put yourself out there, and I’ve discovered a great trick for introducing myself to a bunch of strangers, especially when I’d so much rather be sitting in front of my computer. I call it “Tapping Your Inner Oprah.”

Setting your goals, whether to find harmony in a challenging business dealing or choosing to live a life of authentic happiness – is great, but actually taking steps toward them can be scary because it may require you to step out of your comfort zone.

Feel the fear and do it anyway

In a previous article I suggested science-based techniques for achieving your goals, but ultimately you may just have to — as the ancient aphorism suggests — feel the fear and do it anyway. Of course, I recommend that approach only if the fear is a small part of the equation and the excitement is much greater.

And how will you know? Start by checking in with your emotional guidance system. Does your goal make you feel bad because you don’t feel ready and you’re afraid you’ll never be ready? Or does it make you tingle with delicious anticipation?

If you’re all tingly, you can just skip to the next paragraph. But if you don’t feel ready, you might want to trust your intuition. That doesn’t mean that you can’t make progress — it just means that whatever you’re planning, you might want to take smaller steps until you feel more comfortable.

Leap and the net will appear

No matter how you are feeling, if you are not taking even small steps towards your dreams it is time to call in the affirmations. One of my favorite affirmations comes from a Zen saying: “Leap and the net will appear.” But a good affirmation doesn’t have to be all pithy and mystical like some sort of koan. Ultimately all you need in an affirmation is a clearly expressed thought that feels better and works for you.

That latter part is crucial. In order to be effective, that better-feeling thought must ring true for you. For example, saying “I’m enjoying a wonderful love relationship” may be too much of a stretch. But saying “I’m on my way to enjoying a wonderful love relationship” may work.

Tap your inner Oprah

An affirmation I use when dealing with business matters is “Tap your inner Oprah.” It always tickles me and makes me feel powerful. Oprah seems to know exactly what she wants and she asks for it -- firmly, decisively, and with grace. One of the things I admire most is her curiosity. She goes into exchanges looking for connection, without judgment, and it’s obvious that she’s genuinely interested in others. If I find myself in a situation that makes me feel uncomfortable I think about Oprah, and I become less self-conscious. I stop thinking, “This is hard” or “How does this make me look?” and I become more interested in the exchange, not the outcome.

Create affirmations for inspiration and encouragement

Here’s an assignment: Write several affirmations for yourself -- write them on sticky notes and post them all over your house, on the dashboard of your car and in your wallet. Feel the shift every time you read them. Doing this assignment will help you create a practice, almost like a ritual, that will form and shape your day. Those messages will remind you of your intentions and bring you inspiration and encouragement. Eventually they’ll become a way to talk to yourself on a whole new level — perfect for when all of your little steps forward land you on a whole new level of challenges.

By then of course, you’ll be ready: don’t be surprised when magic happens. (And don’t forget to tell me about it when it happens!)

So, Pinkies, how do you extend yourself outside of your comfort zone? What affirmations help you tap your inner Oprah? Please share in the comments!

Much love,


Stacey Curnow, CNM
Founder of Midwife for Your Life
Author of the illustrated children's book Ravenna

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