What's Your Spotlight? - Christine Kane


“Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine…”                             – – Marianne Williamson

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my work as a mentor and coach, it’s that everyone defines “Playing Big” differently. My friend Joy told me that Playing Big means that she meditates and visualizes in the morning, rather than rushing out and getting busy.

For me, Playing Big can mean anything from giving my full attention to my husband as he’s sharing something, to making my first video blog, to releasing my new CD!

Too often, we think Playing Big means stepping into a spotlight on a stage in Vegas and never feeling scared again.

Playing big often DOES involve a spotlight, yes.

But the cool thing is that everyone’s got a different spotlight to walk under. Some spotlights are literally on the stage. And some spotlights are the ones that shine brightly on our deepest darkest thoughts because we’re ready to release them once and for all.

The bright glow of the spotlight represents something.

It represents not hiding.

This is what Playing Big all about. Not hiding behind your busy-ness, not hiding behind your whininess, not hiding behind your knee-jerk judgments of people, not hiding in your comfort zone.

Playing Big can mean letting people be disappointed in your choices and making them anyway. Playing Big can mean making a request rather than complaining. Playing Big can mean feeling one of your typically self-defeating emotional reactions coming on – and shifting it in the moment to continue your momentum. Playing Big can mean saying no!

Like my friend Joy getting up and meditating, Playing Big is so much about our everyday choices. And the victory often comes without any major applause! (Dang!)

One of my Platinum Coaching Clients sent an email to me this week – and she wrote something that, to me, defines the essence of Playing Big in her own spotlight. Here’s what she said:

“My intention is to gently explore what it means to *really* show up.   It hit me last week that often, while I might physically show up for something, I’m fairly checked out. I think for a long time I just expected my external circumstances to draw me in and engage me. Very passive (and very easy to blame ADD.)  Instead, I can just intend to truly show up!”

What’s your spotlight? And how are you going to step into it?

  • kathreen

    Playing Big = Following The Voice, the one that lives inside my heart rather than the twelve (or sometimes twelve hundred. :D) in my head.

  • Jodi at Joy Discovered

    Hi Christine, That is one of my favorite quotes by Marianne Williamson. Thank you for sharing it! My favorite line from your post is, “Playing Big can mean feeling one of your typically self-defeating emotional reactions coming on – and shifting it in the moment to continue your momentum.” Great examples here and very motivating! Thanks!

  • Nancy

    Hi Christine,
    Love you and love Marianne!

    For a while, I had a big job and I just showed up. I did what I needed to do every day, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Now I’m writing and totally happy whether putting in a 14 hour day, or a 3 hour day.

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  • Tammy Morales

    Thanks so much Christine for your words of wisdom. I can relate to those who feel they don’t have much to offer. Over the last several weeks I have been realizing that what I have to offer may not look exactly like I thought it would, but it is still valuable.

    Your words have bolstered my current efforts to put myself more in the spotlight and shine in new ways. You and others will be seeing **HUGE** changes on my website in the next few weeks as I step into my spotlight.

    Thanks for your encouragement!

  • Lynne

    Playing Big = Not Hiding.

    LOVE that!

  • Karla Wotruba

    Thank you for this post! I thought it meant one thing to me, and then later, it resonated in a different way!
    I started a blog, imperfectly. It’s about trying to eat sustainably on a budget. I had all the reasons not to do it, such as: it’s not all techie and cool on its own domain, I don’t know everything, what works for me may not work for someone who believes differently, etc. But, I decided to do it anyway, because I thought there might be one person who could relate. And the perfect topic came up on another site, so I commented on it. So, playing big.
    Then I got some criticism on my comment! And that was scary to have people disagree with me. So I turned it into a blog post. I admitted where I could have done better, and I’m hoping someone can relate to that. So again, playing big.
    I thought you would like to know I have written down another quote from you, I think using the Marianne Williamson theme before:
    “Yes, it takes some self-esteem to believe that you even have anything worth sharing. But of course you do. Don’t waste your time waiting for the world to agree that you do. It’s all service. You don’t know what random person in an empty lobby somewhere is going to benefit from your openness. So, serve. Share. You’re not alone. Get bigger. Shine anyway.”
    Just wanted to say thanks, you’ve been helpful in a lot of different ways to me.

  • Bridgette Boudreau

    I am so glad you wrote about this Christine, I think about this topic a lot and I’ve gotten to the same place with it.

    Sometimes playing big is completely breaking down in tears the night before because it feels so hard. And then getting up in the morning, finding a new angle and getting to it.

    I also love this:
    “Playing Big can mean anything from giving my full attention to my husband as he’s sharing something..”

    So often in the evenings I’m distracted and working when my sweetie comes home–playing big would absolutely be focusing on her and putting my iphone down. 😉

  • Björgvin

    Thanks for the response Christine.

    The funny thing about mentioning that you have to do it is that it’s exactly what happened to me. I had this blog in mind for long while until one day I just decided, whatever, I’m just doing it.

    And now I have something to be really proud of.

  • Jonathan Lockwood

    I think for me “playing big” might mean a willingness to “cut the cord” on things that–while not being bad for me–are also keeping me from living the life I want.

  • Briana

    Thank you for this post – it really came at the perfect time for me. I won a (teeny, tiny, seriously small) contest this week, and even that brought up all this stuff about how I don’t like to be too shiny. I need to go back and read some of your other shining posts, too!

    As always, you got right to the core of it – full of gratitude for you!

  • Paula

    As women we tend to help our friends and family “shine” in their lives and neglect to polish our own brass. Posts like this remind us to pay attention to that craving feeling of wanting more for ourselves, examining what that might be and then finding ways to reach that goal. Stepping into my spotlight means that every day I tell myself that its ok to want MY dreams. Thanks Christine for the encouragment to all.

  • Nancy Medina

    Thanks for the post – it struck home in so many ways! I was taught growing up to be silent and invisible, and I’ve spent a lifetime learning that is no way to succeed or be happy in the real world. I started painting on very large canvases almost immediately when I began painting, and I really believe painting big has been a way for my soul to expand and stretch and say “hey I am here and I am NOT invisible!!!” and most of all to celebrate life using my gift. Thank you again. I really appreciate your thoughts today.

  • inge

    ‘she’s got a great big dream and a history of playing small…’ i LOVE that line (out of ‘right outta nowhere’). i know so many people like that. and eventhough i haven’t got that history myself, it’s like you say, everyday choices. and the truth is, since i became a mum, i tend to play a lot smaller than before.. it’s cuz’ the Love, the world, it’s all so big. makes me feel tiny. and then i start to act tiny..

    loved this post.
    and to answer your final question: the world is my oyster!

  • Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord

    I’ve always loved that Marianne Williamson quote (it’s so hard not to!), but what I love more is how you expanded on it. Playing big means not hiding/whining/distracting/etc. That’s so well put and probably sums up so many people’s experiences.

    I especially related to what you wrote about not letting other people’s opinions stop us from living big. I know I’m not living according to my family’s vision, but awhile I ago I decided it wouldn’t stop me. After all, they don’t know what it feels like to be me.

    Thanks for presenting this topic so clearly. Be well!

  • Kathy

    I’ve always had the start of chapters, the end of books, floating around in my head. I have been toying with the idea of writing as more than a hobby for a long time, particularly as the economy took a dive and job security is no longer part of our vocabulary. Writing a memoir of what it’s like to be a sibling of a cancer survivor, writing about wine, writing children’s books, really writing in my blog. But I’ve been wanting to stay small – sneak it in when I can, gingerly testing the waters, checking children’s book web sites in between regular work tasks but not giving it the focus it needs to make this real and by all means NOT making it my spotlight. Your post is reminding me that it’s time to focus on it – shine that spotlight and step into it and see if it’s for real. I’ve written down some of my children’s stories in the past couple of weeks. I have actually had the courage to show them to my husband and to our neighbors so I’ve taken the first step. David’s new bosses at the winery are long time publishing people in their day jobs so I’ve even got an “inside” track to pursue now. Your post, and several friends who have moved on to their rewarding next careers after losing their jobs, is inspiring me to move on this now. You never know until you try something and it’s time to do more than stick a toe in. Wish me luck!! And shine that spotlight over here.

  • Tim

    Great post Christine. I can identify with your platinum coaching client – there have been many times, especially at work, when I have physically showed up but failed to shine the spotlight on me.

    I especially love the line you wrote, “Playing Big can mean letting people be disappointed in your choices and making them anyway.” Ah, so true. Thanks for a good start to the morning.

  • jinny park

    hi christine! and all her readers! i was just wondering, is it intuition that tells us whether we are playing small or playing big? is it strictly from feelings where our intuition speaks to us? (thx in advance!)

  • Patricia

    Being Big is standing large in your own life. I’ve learned so much since I took your class last year, Christine. Thank you for sharing yourself with the world.

  • Christine Kane

    hey bjorgvin! what you write here is probably a familiar experience for anyone who blogs, speaks, performs, teaches, etc. The people who succeed are the ones who just DO IT at some point. You’ll never get enough degrees or initials after your name to satisfy the voices in your head, methinks! 🙂

  • Björgvin

    I was in a rut today struggling to find a topic to write about in my blog. I struggle with the thoughts that although I know a lot about my subject I am not an authority figure. So I wrote a small opinion piece to give my brain a break.

    After, I paused and wondered, “hmmm…I wonder what Christine Kane is thinking about, haven’t checked her blog in a while”

    For me, playing BIG is being able to give advice on subjects I know and being respected and thought of as the student in class that’s the go-to-guy for problems. I get a real kick out of helping other people’s audio problems, which is why I write what I write.

    But to the rest of the world, BEING big is sometimes connected to the amount of diplomas and degrees. Which I have a hard time with because although I’d love a degree in what I do, it’s expensive and probably equally important to just dive into the field and learn-by-doing.

    So in a way, I’m stuck in a rut with playing BIG and being perceived as BEING big. I get kicks out of helping my fellow students, but I still get insecurity problems when I think of the “big bad world” and being a small fish in it.

    This comment is way longer than I thought it’d be. I may have commented once or twice before but nothing of any substance, I really like the blog and I specifically enjoy the music posts, or any posts you connect to music.