Are You Playing Small Because You Are Big?

Are You Playing Small Because You Are Big?

Does any of this sound familiar?

  • Showing up, but only kind of…
  • Not getting professional photos taken, and heaven forbid ever doing video
  • Not buying new clothes because you have to wait to lose a few pounds
  • A  voice inside that says “Hide! Don’t let them see who you really are!” and “No one will trust me to know what I’m talking about when I look like I do!”

Here is a little irony for you: I could only think BIG about my business when I embraced my BIG body.

I’ve been a plus-sized gal my whole life. I think it was turning 40–and some terrific therapy–that changed my attitude about myself. I have always loved my mind, but my body? I was at war with it. And when you are at war, you use up a lot of resources and energy fighting battles. After many, many years of seeing my body as separate from my head, I finally decided that I would LOVE my body. That I wouldn’t just accept it…I would love it. Embrace it. And it changed everything.

I took some baby steps and had a friend take my headshots for me. She’s a professional and I told her to try to make it look like I only had two chins. You know what she did? She had me kneel on the floor while she stood on a chair and shot the photos from above. Not only did this position make me laugh, but I only had one chin! I felt amazing. She got it.

That angle made me look…better. I was still me, and I looked radiant.

I figured out what color makes me look pretty and glowing, and it certainly wasn’t black. Teal has become my signature color, and now, every time I do photos or video, I’m in teal. It’s bright and cheery and it compliments my fair skin and brunette hair. Black tends to absorb light and made me look like a blob. I suppose a bit of a smaller blob, but it makes me look pale and drab.

When I was getting my Master’s degree, part of my coursework included doing things via video. At first I was horrified, but then…when I figured out lighting and angles, I found out that I really love doing it! I put the camera above me just a tad, and I always keep the light in front of me and wa-la…I look pretty darn good. Another tip? V-neck shirts make my face look brighter and thinner. You can read more about my struggle with video here: My Inner Melissa McCarthy: I’m Plus Size and I am Going to do a Video!

So here’s the deal…does embracing my body mean that I shouldn’t use strategies and techniques to make me look amazing on camera? Heck no! Don’t you think supermodels use light and angles to get their best shots? Uh, YEAH!

The voices in my head are still there. I don’t know if they will ever go away. But I embraced them, too. They are just trying to keep me safe. But safety is boring and I wasn’t born to be boring. I was born to laugh and dance and sing and teach. I was born to support other women entrepreneurs in their business journeys. And if I play small because I’m big, I can’t help you. I won’t create THE program you need that changes how profitable you are. I won’t come up with an idea or a solution that changes everything.

If I spend my emotional energy worrying about what other people think of me, then I won’t be bold or powerful. And last I checked, my body is strong. My legs can lift hundreds of pounds. My neck and shoulders help me hold my head up high. My power lies in my core strength, and it makes me tingle and feel alive.

The photo above was taken on a whim at a photo shoot. I wanted a photo of me doing the “power pose” where you put your hands on your hips and stand tall. Studies have shown that doing this pose actually changes your brain chemistry and makes you more inclined to take risks, and by increasing our cortisol and testosterone levels, we feel more confident. I didn’t think I’d like this photo of me, but then when I saw it, it mirrored how I feel inside. I feel unstoppable.

As I said above, I didn’t always feel this way. Confidence builds on itself and it takes time; it’s sometimes a two steps forward, one step back proposition. But that one step can lead to another, and another…and momentum breeds momentum. It’s certainly not something I woke up with one day like a pimple (where the hell did THAT come from?) Instead, it’s been a gradual building up of one step at a time into who I am today.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop and look fear in the face.” Eleanor Roosevelt

What about you? Are you playing small because you are big? What are you waiting for? What if this is it? What if you never lost another pound? What might you regret NOT doing? What if you embraced your body instead of fighting it?

I promise you that it is worth it. It isn’t easy, and sometimes I find old habits are hard to break. And there are always people that are “worried about your health.” Well, isn’t that nice? Just because I embrace my big body doesn’t mean that I don’t also need to make good choices and to move and get my heartbeat up. Embracing my body makes it easier to do that. When I hate something, I don’t treat it very nicely. And I’ve found it’s the same with my body. I work with my doctors and keep tabs on my all the indicators and I’m very lucky that I’m still in excellent ranges for everything. Embracing my body means that I work at loving it the best I can and paying attention to these kinds of things. And mental health is just as important as physical health: when I hated my body, I felt sad, angry, and afraid most of the time. Those feelings have a direct impact on physical health as well, because….the mind and body are one, not two.

I look exactly like my great-grandma. My Grandmother used to tell me that with such a look of love and longing for her mother. My Great-Grandmother Clara was a woman that worked in fields and did everything by hand. My Grandmother said she was the strongest woman she knew, and as a farmer’s wife, she was a true entrepreneur; selling eggs and produce in the community and doing sewing repair work to make money during the depression. She has been described to me as super creative and very tenacious. So being like her–physically or otherwise–feels like an amazing gift. I doubt that she ever let her weight stop her from anything, and who am I to let it stop me?

Fear is real, I will give you that. But you get to decide what you do with the fear you have in your heart. You get to decide to say “Yes” when you want to say “No”. Try. If the photos turn out poorly, throw them away and try again. If there are people in your life that make you feel anything but beautiful, create new boundaries and keep them at arm’s length. But I know that it’s really our own selves that are the most unkind. Decide to try. Decide to try again. And again.

The world needs you to show up and to think big. We need you to be your best self, and we need to SEE you. We need you to teach us what you know, and to share your genius with us. But we connect best with faces and with authenticity. Your business will only grow as big as you can dream it to be, so dream big. Embrace your body. Decide that today will be different and you’ll try one little thing that makes you a bit uncomfortable. When you stop giving a shit about what others think about you, your power and your energy will be unstoppable.

And then, so will your business.

Here’s to unleashing your big, beautiful business, you beautiful woman, you.

Just Megan

 

 

 

 

P.S. If you’d love to talk more about this, join the conversation at the Female Entrepreneurs UnleaSHEd  Facebook Group HERE.

18 Comments

  1. Amy Geishert

    LOVE this! I am on my own (non-business) journey and struggle with loving my body as it is. Good reminders here. Thank you! And I love your power photo!

    • Megan Tsui

      Thanks, Amy…best of luck on your journey!
      -Megan

  2. Julie

    This post came at the perfect time for me. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts (and hey–some great tips!) about embracing who we are in every aspect. Great message.

    • Megan Tsui

      I’m glad you found some helpful tips!! Best of luck to you!!
      -Megan

  3. Lisa Radloff

    OMG Megan, this could not have come at a better time for my mind! Thanks for saying words that I needed to hear today.

    • Megan Tsui

      Hi Lisa!! Thanks so much for your comment. You are welcome and I can’t wait to see you play BIG 🙂
      Megan

  4. Penni

    Wow, I found this quite a powerful thing to read, my heart is racing and my face flushed from ‘getting your message’…
    I’m over 6 foot tall and find it awful, in my mind I’m ‘big’ in other ways than the traditionally considered weight ‘big’.
    Clothes never fit, I have to slouch to hear people, eye to eye conversations are unusual while standing up….and after reading this piece, it has affected me on a subconscious level more than I care to admit.
    I’m going to fix that!

    • Megan Tsui

      Thanks Penni. I think embracing your bigness- whatever that means to you- will be so powerful for you. Own the room, honey. Don’t slouch. Don’t slink. OWN IT! Please let me know how it goes 🙂
      Megan

  5. Mary Closner

    Well written & terrific advice! There’s power in those curves!

  6. Tea Silvestre Godfrey

    Yep, I’m a big girl. And not just full-figured, but also tall (6’1). It’s been 4 years since I’ve had my head shots taken and 2 years since I drastically changed my hair. I finally scheduled a photo session for later this week and had been dreading it. Your post was timely indeed. Tell us more!

  7. Natalie Olson

    Wow! I’ve always been a strong, independent, assertive woman, but in the last eight years, battling first stage 2 breast cancer and now stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, all the treatments, physical limitations, etc., I find my body is not what I ever wanted it to be, in more ways than I care to count. However, you hit the nail on the head when you said you had to LOVE your body, not just accept it. As I am preparing to build a coaching business to help other cancer thrivers, fighters and survivors, it’s necessary that I fully love my own body before I can help coach other women to love theirs, no matter how they look or feel.
    Thank you for this timely article!

  8. Linda

    Wow. This was an uncomfortable read for me. Mainly because? Ring ring! Ah yes, Mrs. Clark, I am the Clue Fairy calling.

    So very, very true for me and so many actionable ways to find my way forward. Thank you for this timely beauty.

  9. Gwynne Montgomery

    Oh, my, yes. Wow. I’ve been bigger for years. At 5’4″ and 250 lbs, I’m round. And I’ve been hiding because of that. I’ll have some good days where I’m feeling pretty and will do a head shot, at just the right angles with just the right makeup so my cheekbones and eyes (my best facial features) really pop, and the wobbly neck is hidden. Very, very rarely will I do a full body shot, and then I spend the next couple of days agonizing over the fact that I posted this full body shot, and OMG people will see how FAT I am and people only want to work with the PRETTY people and… the thought-death spiral… ugh…

    This article… whoa. Just whoa. Blows my mind. YES. I’ve been hiding who I am, and there’s no way to have an authentic anything if you’re hiding anything at all.

    Thank you <3

  10. Marsha L.

    This is a fantastic post and your final paragraph. I hear you girl and I heard MY call to action. Thank you and thank you for honoring gifts.

    Miracles and Blessings!!!!

  11. Angela

    Megan,

    Thank you for talking about a real issue that affects women in business every day! I identify with much of what you said. Embracing who are and just forging ahead is the best we can do, thank you for giving me a needed reminder today. I needed it! I am glad I found a new blog to find some like-minded inspiration:)

  12. Stacey Herrera

    Goddess Megan…

    I bow to your beautiful vulnerability and truth telling. I have been talking about this with my accountability partner and your post spelled it out in crystal clear clarity. This could very well be the most important post ever written… and I mean that.

    The struggle is real. And this impacts women in business, in the workplace, at home, in public, in private – everywhere. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can step into the fullness of our visions and play BIG, with BIG success, and FAT checks. <3

    I cannot thank you enough for you candor. You have freed the masses with your words.

    In gratitude,

    Stacey

  13. Elvia

    Beautiful article Megan!
    I was a chubby girl for many years.
    I was struggling hiding myself and putting on hold my life and my dreams.

    Your message is very powerful. I love it. Thanks for opening your heart and shining so bright! 🙂

    • Megan Tsui

      Elvia,
      Thanks for your comment. I hope that you are inspired to make your dreams a reality and to stop hiding! Get out there…we need to see you and we need your gifts in our lives.
      You can do it! Let me know how I can help!
      Love,
      Megan

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