The ‘Play Big’ Zone - Christine Kane

This week, I’m sharing a chapter from my soon-to-be-released book, “The Soul-Sourced™ Entrepreneur.” And what’s becoming more and more clear to me as we progress through these turbulent times is this book shows you how to dig deeper within yourself to gain a level of wisdom beyond anything the world, and its shoulds, has to offer you.

“The Play Big Zone” is the chapter I’ve chosen to share with you in this episode, where I recount one of the first masterminds I led and how much I learned when everything went south… the first day. You’ll hear how I navigated from panic to inspired from within.

My intention is, as you listen, you’ll begin to hear the ever so subtle differences between being committed and being convinced and how to use the power of commitment to act on your decisions, despite external no’s and internal doubts.

It’s when we can move up and out of our own gravity and spot our own stuff, that we can fully jump into becoming who we’re destined to be. Dreams require decisions, and decisions require commitment.

Episode Transcript

I wouldn’t put the full force of my own spirit behind this thing I wanted to do that way, I reasoned if I failed, no one would ever know.

Welcome to the Soul-SourcedTM Podcast, unconventional business advice for the highly creative secretly sensitive, and wildly ambitious entrepreneur. I’m your host, Christina Kane. Let’s do this.

Hey everybody. And welcome to episode number 12 of the Soul-SourcedTM Business Podcast. This is Christine and I am a little mellow right now. I know that you don’t expect me to be up and charging for every single episode, but I just returned from a visit to my mom up to Northern Virginia. I drove and drove back, mom’s in her, she just had her fourth chemo treatment. And, uh, I was up there with her for that for the whole week. And now I am about to start our virtual mastermind for Uplevel Academy. And it’s interesting. There’s so much going on right now in the world. And I really, really believe in coaching, I believe in masterminding. And one thing that has been super challenging is that these virtual retreats, while we’ve done an amazing job of them, like just far far out, delivered everything that our clients expected.

There is something to being in the room with people that really, really does amplify the results and really does get people up and out of their energy. And so what I’m realizing is that we are all learning this new skill set of self-coaching of moving up and out of our own gravity and being able to spot our own stuff and really recommitting as often as possible. And I think this is a necessary thing that we’re all doing. And so what I’m going to do both in honor of the fact that I just received the galleys of my book right before I left to see my mom, which was a freaky experience, first time I’ve seen it in person touching it in front of me, like my very first book, it’s wild. And also in celebration of the fact that we’re doing our virtual retreat, I’m going to read a segment from my book that describes something that happened at one of the very first masterminds I ever led.

And it was a big wake up call for me as a coach and also as a teacher. And it also really taught me how much people let fear stop them, how much people let doubt stop them. And one of the things that’s interesting about the Soul-Sourced EntrepreneurTM is that I really am starting to see where the skill sets taught in this book are kind of going to be the new norm, the new need for entrepreneurs and actually for everyone, because what it’s really showing you is how to dig deeper within yourself and how to let your own business and your life guide you and how to create a level of wisdom. That is way beyond anything that the world and all its dramas and all of its shoulds has to offer you. And that’s been my mission all along, even from the day that I created the mantra “I’m In” for my clients, “I’m In”, was kind of everything. And then when I started writing my book, “I’m In” became the layout of the four parts of the book. It became an acronym and the four parts of the book are first, it’s initiating intention. Second, it’s managing your power. And then third it’s interpreting experiences. And the last section is on navigating decisions.

And what I’m going to read you right now is the opening of the chapter of the section on navigating decisions. And that is because this is about being in it’s about being committed. And right now I think it is so easy as we come out of quarantine, as September gets started, and everyone’s expected to just charge right back out. And some people are, I will give them credit. There is always those people. I think some of the silence and the stillness that we’ve each been able to experience has gotten us off of necessarily the driven path and really put us on a more intentional path.

And so I’m going to bring in what we call the Uplevel Vortex, all the energy of all of the people coming online. I was going to say coming to Asheville, but they’re not, but they’ll be coming energetically to Asheville and we create this sort of energetic vortex, and I’m going to let everyone ride the wave of this and really consider what does it look like for you to be in right now? And I don’t mean I’m in shouting at you. I mean, really, really committing to yourself, committing to a deeper wisdom and committing to the work you do, the business you have. What does that look like right now? And I’m going to let that sort of be the question that opens this up. As I read this to you, and this chapter is called “The Play Big Zone”, and this is by the way, a true story.

It was late afternoon in Tucson, which meant it was about 103 degrees outside, but standing at the front of the air conditioned meeting room, I was shivering as I watched the 10 women file out for a bathroom break before our final session, my mind replayed a recent story I had heard about a client mutiny. One of my peers had started a mastermind at the first round table meeting her clients turned on her. First, they colluded. Then they got aggressive. Before she knew it, they were accusing her of being a fraud and demanding their money back one by one. Her clients walked out of the retreat, never to return in the now empty conference room. I wondered if I was in the same tenuous territory. This wasn’t a mutiny. Exactly, but something was definitely not working.

I was coaching my first year long group mastermind. This was our second retreat. And we were moving into the zone of decision making, a critical, and to me, pretty exciting part of business yet the energy in the room was sluggish all day. Skepticism reigned. Anyone who’s ever taught anything or led any kind of group knows that groups have energy. No single workshop or retreat is ever the same workshop or retreat. Even if the content is the same, the energy of the group is the X factor. It’s where momentum is created or totally dies. Great teachers performers. And yes, coaches learn how and when to ride elevate or shift that energy as needed. But I was now discovering that teaching is a radically different experience from my years on stage as an entertainer and musician. As each woman got up in front of the room for her session, a heaviness of fatigue set in, I taught strategies and they were met with doubt. I offered ideas, but they were smashed down. When I added up the numbers for one consultant’s launch, she rolled her eyes and said like, I’m going to make that happen. When I encouraged an herbalist to pay herself a salary, instead of waiting to see if there was money left at the end of each month, she looked out the window and bit her nails, each person seemed to be wearing her own secret wonder woman cuffs only instead of deflecting harm. These bracelets were deflecting possibility. It was a mutiny of myth.

During the final session of the day, my own energy had vanished. I had caught the doubt virus that was going around. I was questioning my abilities as a coach. I wasn’t inspiring these rookie business owners. They couldn’t see how their choices drove their success. Even when a few of them saw an opening and began making decisions about their next moves, their enthusiasm was squelched by the others who kept turning the collective attention to the things that didn’t work and all the reasons they wouldn’t work. And I’m going to interrupt here just a little coaches note for those of you who are coaches out there. And I didn’t say this in the book, by the way, when I read the audio, what I’m going to say is that this was my first year running a mastermind. And I always tell my clients that when something doesn’t work, it’s actually a gift for you. And I was not skilled yet at leading A group like this. And this taught me so much.

And so I always say to people who are new to their business or new to their coaching or whatever, it might be that any kind stuff that’s not working, you take it and you learn from it because it makes you better. In fact, this one meeting made me so much better as a coach. Okay? Now back to the original original work. So when the session closed, we all went to dinner together and suddenly everybody was upbeat. They joked, they drank wine. They poked fun at the intensity of my coaching methods, laughing at the moment when I’d called someone out about something, they weren’t taking any of it seriously. And their laughter felt fake. It was like a heavy veil was keeping everyone outwardly jovial and cheerfully bonded in their doubts, their non decisions and their inaction.

By the time dinner ended, I felt sad and drained. When I got back to my room, I sank into the chair by my desk. What the fuck, I thought staring at the wall for several minutes, rather than wandering down the moping rabbit hole. I knew so well, I decided to get curious instead, I sat still and breathed, tuning into the energy of the day and my own intentions as a coach. On one hand, I was frustrated at their behavior, but on the other hand, I empathized. Decisions are scary. They require clarity and a level of trust most of us were not taught. So many doubts arise from so many arenas, our personal history, our peers, not to mention a world that’s more drawn to the cynical and sarcastic than to the power of intention and clarity as if on cue, a memory appeared, a moment from my past when I discovered that I myself had committed to doubt about more than decision, the chance to draw back.

It had all started when I shared my music dreams with Jim, a grad school friend of my big brother, I hadn’t told anyone in my family yet and Jim was underwhelmed by my vision saying, you really think you have a chance in hell to make it? When I said, I didn’t know, he shrugged. Then he said, well, try it for a year. And if you don’t make it give up and go get a job. I was 23 at the time, Jim was 31, which meant he was old. And I figured old people were wise. So I thought this was solid advice, until one fateful evening when I was well past a year in my attempt to be a musician, I had taken steps. Yes. I had recovered from my South Africa breakup. I had moved, I was waitressing, writing songs and practicing music, but by anyone’s standards, I had certainly not made it.

I was living in an apartment above a dry cleaners driving a 15 year old Datsun 310. I hadn’t even done my first open mic night. For the hundredth day in a row, I was debating whether it was time to call it quits. Just home from the dinner shift, I sat down hard on my wood floor, tip money, falling out of my pockets. I sighed and opened a book a friend just loaned me, and I stumbled on a passage that took my breath away. It went like this, “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans. That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.”

The man who wrote this almost a half century earlier, was a mountain climber, an adventure named W.H. Murray. I read his words about 10 times. Then I read the first sentence, 10 times more. I thought of how every single day I gave myself the chance to draw back. I made excuses. I found reasons I wasn’t good enough. Always looking to the outside world to make my decisions for me. I rarely told anyone I was working on a music career. I wouldn’t put the full force of my own spirit behind this thing I wanted to do, that way I reasoned, if I failed, no one would ever know. And there it was on the page. I hadn’t committed. I hadn’t tapped into what could be called the most powerful energy available to us as humans. Decision.

Instead, I dabbled, I whined, I waited for someone to see all this potential I had and perhaps make my decisions for me. Then this strange man, W.H. Murray stepped into my apartment returning to the planet, decades after he uttered those words to grab me by the shoulders and tell me I hadn’t even begun my climb, that at best I was dipping my toe in the water and wimping out because it was cold. And that it was time to get real, to commit and make decisions that would manifest my intention. I ripped a piece of paper from my journal, wrote his words on it and posted it on the wall of my music room. “Dreams require decisions, decisions require commitment.”

If I had to pick one thing that changed my career as a musician, that would be the moment that did it. Not because angels sang or some molecular collision happened and the way became clear, or because Quincy Jones himself finally found out that there was this undiscovered, mildly talented 24 year old with all kinds of potential living above the Done Quick Cleaners in Swannanoa North Carolina. It was because I gave up Jim’s try it for a year plan. It was because I stopped dipping my toe in.

Using the power of commitment, I started making and acting on decisions, despite the external and internal no’s I faced each day. I shared my dream with others. I did my first open mic. I got my first gig. I started making my first CD in the basement of another musician’s house, saving tip money to pay him for the sessions. I stopped waiting for things to happen and started deciding. And now in my hotel room in Tucson, I saw clearly. Commitment was what my clients needed too. Sure. They’d set their intentions for their businesses. They’d taken the step of investing in themselves by being at this mastermind. But when it came right down to it, they weren’t making decisions. They weren’t committed. They were counting on me to drag them across that line. They wanted me to believe in them for them, but that’s not something I or any other coach or any other person can do. They needed to find that commitment within themselves. And that was something I could help them with.

So in my bare feet, wearing only my bath robe while the rest of the hotel slept, I padded down to the conference room where our table and materials were still set up for our second day of coaching and masterminding. I grabbed a poster board and created a big sign using colorful markers and as much style as I could muster at one in the morning. This might not work, I thought, but then again, it might. The next morning when my clients arrived, the door to the conference room was closed. I was inside, but rather than walking right in and chatting and getting their coffees in the usual fashion, they were stopped by a challenge, a big sign on the door read,

“You are entering an official play big zone. The following is prohibited: sarcasm, whining, complaining, blaming anyone or anything for your results. Distracting self deprecating humor. Being a victim. The following is required. Taking full responsibility for your life and your results. Claiming the powerful woman you are. Recognizing that your clarity makes you unstoppable. Deciding to live from your highest clearest, whole self, becoming the person you are destined to be. Full engagement, no checking out”. And then in giant capital letters it said, “This is not a joke. Take one moment. Get still inside. Be clear and powerful, then and only then step inside. I could hear their chatter at first, then nothing. Dead silence. I thought maybe they’d each read the sign and left, gone back to breakfast where things were more fun. Mutiny. But then the door opened and one woman walked in and sat down.

Then the next, then the next. Soon, there were 11 of us around the table looking at each other. Two people had tears on their cheeks, but everyone was present clear and determined. Right there, before my eyes, they had committed. Supported by the power of that commitment, they made their first set of decisions to walk through that door and take on the opportunities this mastermind presented to them. Ready to get started. I asked and they all nodded. As we went about our second day of work together, everything shifted now energized and strengthened by commitment, they made themselves vulnerable, faced the unknown explored possibilities, took responsibility and yes, made decisions.

Some of these same clients, people who’ve gone on to create empires, and now i’ll do a shout out here to Colleen O’Grady and Sue Ludwig and Anna Garrett and Elaine Bailey. These people still occasionally post a photo of my handmade sign in their Facebook feed, crediting this moment as the major turnaround for them. A decision is intention with legs. Now you are entering the territory of decision making. That means big and little decisions. At this point, the first three stages we’ve walked through in this book might seem fairly manageable. After all, when you initiate your intention, you form your idea and you start executing, making plans, envisioning your future. You can do that, sure. When you manage your power, you observe your old patterns and deal with resistance. As it shows up along the way. When you interpret experiences, you view the things that happen with an eye toward your expansion. All of this can be done without too much risk of losing face or fortune. In some ways, these first three stages are internal.

Then comes the moment of decision. And as the expression goes, shit gets real. You choose a date, you pick a color, you draw the line, you set a deadline. And with that, you’re outed. You show the world you’re committed to this intention of yours. The minute you set that deadline and let other people know, it hits you. You become Wile E Coyote, remembering the law of gravity the very second, he runs off the cliff after road runner, right before he plummets leaving only a wisp of smoke behind, his eyes reveal that reality has struck. For a brief moment, I am Wile E Coyote every time, And I mean, every time my team and I set a date, whether it’s for a webinar, an event, a retreat or a workshop, the decision is made, no more flirting around the edges and dancing with my ideas. The plummet to action must begin now. Down I go. A decision I like to tell my clients, is intention with legs. Commitment gets those legs moving. Decisions are how we begin to execute the ideas in our heads and how those ideas become our reality. Therefore, decisions are intense, personally revealing, and can make you feel vulnerable, but they’re also powerful. Through them, you take a forward step, you change the status quo.

And I’ll close out with one last little section here, right at the end. It’s called “Committed, not Convinced”. And now it’s time to state the obvious no decision comes with a guarantee. As much as you may know this at some level, there’s a whole other level, a whole other part of us that simply can’t get behind this reality. This is why when we’re faced with a decision, we also face a litany of doubts. Doubt wants proof. Doubt wants pro and con lists. Doubt wants to be convinced. Doubt says, until I am convinced about this decision, I will ruminate. I will play you. I will engage you in all kinds of socially acceptable behaviors that keep your energy just slightly outside this thing.

So here’s the thing, “I’m In” is not the same as I’m convinced. In the entrepreneurial world, I’m convinced is child’s play. If you insist on being convinced before you make a decision, then you’ve made little more than an excuse. It’s an excuse to stay in a holding pattern, taking halfhearted actions that waste your time and energy, dipping your toe in, or trying it for a year, a la Jim. As prudent as this might look to the world, it’s all just evidence you’re still playing games, rehearsing worst case scenarios and hosting a tug of war in your mind. Even though your brain contributes to your decision making process, the energy of commitment, which is bigger, does not reside in your mind. As much as we like to think, our funny little mind will figure everything out. It usually does a little more than argue back and forth with itself. Commitment on the other hand is your whole being. And, as you are about to discover, it’s an inconceivably powerful energy.

Thank you everybody for listening. This is the Soul-SourcedTM Business Podcast. I’m Christine Kane, and that was a segment from my book coming out in November. It’s called the Soul-SourcedTM Entrepreneur. And if you want to go ahead and grab a copy, it is out for presale on Amazon. That happened before I even knew it sort of like my galley showing up. It just, everything’s a big surprise here. So I appreciate you guys rolling with me on that. And if you like this podcast, please do me a favor and go subscribe to it and give it a five star review, if you feel so inclined, and we will continue to our regularly scheduled programming, which is not really regularly scheduled as I tend to just roll with what I feel like talking about here as part of being a Soul-SourcedTM entrepreneur, but it will be new content, not from the book. And we’ll get rolling again next week. Thanks for listening everyone. You have a great week.