How often do you play a small game in your business or in your own life? What part of you is capable of being regal, accomplished and powerful, but tends to avoid greatness?
Prince Charles’ youngest son Harry has got into various press scrapes over the last few years with inappropriate costume parties, hotel room incidents, wild nights out – nothing that couldn’t be expected of a red-blooded Englishman (or blue-blooded in his case), but generally not seen fit the demeanour of a true prince. Nowadays he is rightfully praised for his military service, and continuing the charitable work of his late mother Diana.
Many people have grand visions, strong talents and wide-ranging capabilities, but it is rare to find a person who is fully self-expressed and truly steps into the shoes of their own possibility.
Typical reasons for this are fear and lack of confidence but one reason is that we forget our potential greatness, we forget what we are able to accomplish and we forget our birthright.
There is a plethora of Biblical reminders that implore people not to play a small game’
1. “Perhaps you will say in your heart, “These nations are more numerous than I…Do not fear them! You shall remember…” (Deuteronomy 7:17-18). In other words – do not drop out of the game because you are scared of the competition. Remember who you are!
2. “You shall remember the entire road..forty years in the wilderness [and overcoming tests]” (Ibid 8:2). That is to say, remember what you have accomplished so far! remember how far you have come already!
3. “Do not say in your heart, when God pushes away [your enemies and obstacles], ‘Because of my righteousness…’ (Ibid 9:4). That is to say, when you are successful do not take all of the credit, and think that you accomplished all of this without the help of a Higher Power.
Last week I saw a production of Henry IV Pt.1 where the actor playing Prince Harry actually looked like the real Prince Harry (although with the Californian-Shakesperean accent, that was as far as the comparison went). Throughout the play we see Prince Hal (same guy) continually falling short of royal expectations. Rather than behaving like the next-in-line-for-the-throne, he is out drinking and partying. When his father Henry IV is critical, seeing “riot and dishonor stain the brow/ Of my young Harry” (1:i), the prince soon reflects that he is almost deliberately falling short but will eventually step up his game:
…herein will I imitate the sun,
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world, (I:ii)
How often do we, too, fail to let our sunlight shine?
We have a choice in life, to stay in a small place out of fear and lack of confidence, or to take risks and “imitate the sun”. One of my mentors teaches that the difference is between unsuccessful and successful people is that the latter have been willing to fail more.
One might suspect there is a deeper meaning with the Biblical repetitions to remember who you are, remember where you are from, and remember your Higher Power. We would only be told to remember if there is a possibility of forgetting.
Today, catch your moments of fear and use them to remember who you are, your higher potential, and allow that to propel yourself forwards. Ain’t no stopping you now.
HOW TO USE THIS IN THE BOARDROOM: Where are you playing a small game with your business? What are the bigger plans and projects that you have been avoiding for over 6 months? What are solid action steps that you can take today to make this a reality?
HOW TO USE THIS ON THE YOGA MAT: What are you physically capable of but shying away from? How are you not fully extending into the possibilities of your body? Where can you focus more, get deeper into a pose, further extend your limbs and fully engage every fibre of your being?
HOW TO USE THIS ON THE MEDITATION CUSHION: When entering your meditation, allow your mind to be ‘as vast as the ocean and as solid as a mountain’ (as spoken by my meditation teacher Martine Bachelor). Allow your awareness to vastly increase and consider the true breadth of your wider potential.
Based on Parshat Eikev.