annie kip

coaching & strategy

Style with intention

A podcast and blog hosted

#26 – Are You Playing Small?

Big change is often uncomfortable – and you can only see in hindsight how everything worked together for good. In this episode, I share some very personal insights and reflections about unexpected changes in my life, deliberate choice, and the lessons I’ve learned about playing small.

The biggest takeaways from this episode:

  • How “playing small” keeps us out of alignment.
  • How good intentions and not making a deliberate choice can sometimes lead us astray.
  • Why “choosing” what we want in our lives is not the same as “judgement.”
  • What you can do to make sure you’re not playing small too!

Hey there,

Thanks for being here today! Welcome to the Style With Intention podcast.

Today’s episode was a little scary for me to record. I’m sharing some very personal insights I’ve had over the last 8 months or so. Some big changes have been happening in my life and I needed some time to process all of it before I could share it with you. 

Listen in today as I share the ways I realized I was getting in my own way – and not making a deliberate choice. The ways I’ve let myself down and the places I now can see that I wasn’t paying attention to what was really important to me. This story has a happy ending – don’t worry! I hope you’ll find inspiration to take a look and see if there are ways that you’re playing small in your own life.

Our bonus content this week is 10 Great Books to Read At Midlife that have really helped me grow – especially here at this midlife juncture. 

As always, my goal is to make it quicker and easier for you to access more ease, joy, and intention in your life…because happy looks really, really good!

Enjoy the show!

Annie Kip


If you’re looking for a way to explore what you want for yourself, I suggest journaling – and here are some prompts to get you started!

Click here to download your FREE Self-Coaching Journal Prompts

Self-Coaching Journal Prompts




Welcome to the Style With Intention podcast where we talk about how to use your personal style choices as a tool to create a life you love. We believe choice is empowering, complacency is boring, and happy looks really, really good.

I’m your host, Annie Kip, and today I have a question for you.

Where are you playing small in your life?

On the show today, I’m going to share some lessons that I’ve learned over the last eight months or so. I’ve been on hiatus from this podcast because there were some big unexpected changes in my life and I needed to digest my experiences before I could make sense of them and share them with you. Some of the lessons I’ve learned lately have been very personal and I didn’t want to come on the show and just do an episode and not talk about what was really going on in my life.

Luckily, this summer I had some travel planned with my daughter in Europe and I was fortunate enough to be able to get away from my normal life and get a new perspective – and basically take the time I needed to process and heal from my experiences.

In this episode, I’m going to share with you the three ways I realized I was compromising and playing small in my own life and how the universe sort of hit me upside the head with info I needed to come to my senses.

It all started with a question that just popped into my head one night while I was journaling before bed.

The question was, “where am I playing small?”

I wrote it in my journal and I closed my book and I turned out the light. I went to sleep and the very next day – boy, oh boy, did I get an answer!

Now, if you’ve been listening to the podcast for awhile, you know that I believe at the whole universe of experiences is sort of ready and waiting for us with whatever we really want in our heart of hearts.

Whatever experience we’re aligned with – and it’s up to us to be open and ready – that we can receive it.

You can go and listen to episode number 14 to hear how I think the world works in this way, as far as manifesting goes. In a nutshell, it’s my belief that we can have whatever we want, but in order to receive it, we have to be in a state of mind, a genuine feeling state that’s aligned with how we would feel if we already had that information or what we want it. Tricky, right?

For instance, you can’t have what you want just by needing it or wanting it really, really badly.

That mind state and feeling state will only bring you more feelings of want and need. Want and need are very low vibrational frequencies and they will attract more low frequency experiences. The higher frequency mind state and the feeling states which attract higher frequency experiences are things like calmness and openness.

You’ve experienced this maybe when you’ve had good luck or there’s been a really amazing coincidence that you didn’t expect or gotten an incredible opportunity out of the blue.

Looking back, you might notice that you were in a very sort of elevated, calm state of expectation possibly, or of just being open to what came next. Do you get it? You can go back and listen to that episode number 14, for an explanation of how the mind state and the feeling states that we experience are actually vibrational frequencies.

I actually have been in a low vibrational frequency many times – as we all have. I’ve cried to friends about not knowing what to do next. I’ve stressed about something I have to do or I feel frustrated with people.

Life gives us a lot to deal with and it can be super hard to hold onto those higher frequency states.

This is why I suggest that we can make a deliberate choice to surround ourselves with things in our homes that we really love. We can at least do that and lift ourselves up. That way, we can set ourselves up for feeling as good as possible at home. We should choose things in our lives that make us feel really solid and comfortable and that make us smile when we see them.

I feel strongly that we should wear clothes that make us feel confident and easy-going and strong, not just comfortable. It’s also important that we hang out with people that lift us up.

Every little deliberate choice we make can affect how we feel.

It’s smart to be really mindful of how your choices are making you feel. Most of the time we have to be intentional about our mind state and manage our feelings this way, but sometimes everything just falls into place without effort. Maybe it’s because you’ve been practicing or maybe you just are in the habit of it.

This is the best of all possible scenarios: when you’ve practiced and been intentional so much that you are actually are in that higher vibrational state without trying, without even realizing it.

Looking back, this is where my mind state was when I asked that question in my journal, “where am I playing small?” I was completely unattached to getting an answer. I was completely peaceful about it. I was just open and wondering and genuinely curious.

I think this is why I got such a quick, smack upside the head, kind of response.

I had been trying to figure out why I felt sort of constricted in my life. I had been feeling stuck personally. I was fighting off a little bit of depression and I didn’t know where to go with my business and the question just sort of popped into my head. “Where am I playing small?” I don’t know where it came from. I don’t know what it was, but that question just popped in, so I wrote it down and I let it sit there. It didn’t feel bad. I didn’t berate myself for asking this and it didn’t make me feel small. I didn’t judge the question or try to decide if it was the right question.

I just put it down and was curious and open.

I didn’t try to solve it either. I just put it out there. It was as if I knew that the answer would eventually show up.

I was unattached to the outcome and, literally, the next day I got my answer.

That very next day, my world screeched to a big halt.

A person very close to me, my beau of almost eight years – someone I had really counted on and had planned to spend the foreseeable future with – let me down and turned out to be a much different person than I thought he was. He betrayed my trust in a really big way and I’m not going to go into the details, because honestly I don’t want to waste time feeling bad about it, but it was painful and it really rocked me. I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.

I was shocked and sad and angry, but at the time I also was very crystal clear that this was not what I deserved and not what I wanted.

After many days of feeling sort of broken down and letting myself cry and process with friends, there came a feeling of lightness and, even though there were still (and are still!) lots of feelings of loss to deal with, I realized that I was free of something heavy that had been weighing me down.

I have to believe that it’s better to think of everything in our lives as just an experience, rather than labeling the experiences good or bad.

I have to believe that there is a purpose to everything, even though it’s really hard to see what it could possibly be when you’re going through a difficult thing. Some experiences, honestly, are just beyond my ability to comprehend how they could have a purpose and I just have to accept that. I may never understand why some things happen, but I do believe that the things we experience as difficult or painful in our lives, can stretch us or shape us or help us grow in some way that we can’t see when we’re in the midst of it.

I got my answer to the question, “where am I playing small?” in a way I didn’t expect and it hurt and I did not like it, but the experience showed me that I had been playing small in three ways,

1) Values

Not honoring my values in order for me to fit this person, my beau, into my life. I found myself compromising some values that were important to me. Values about how to deal with money and how to spend free time and about the importance of personal development. I saw the differences between us, but I didn’t think about the bigger picture and what the different values said about the core of who we were and how that was so different. I realize in hindsight that maybe he wasn’t the best match for me. I ignored what I knew was true for me because I wanted this person in my life so much.

I was trying to be accepting and nonjudgmental, but what I was really doing was not making a deliberate choice about what I wanted in my life. I ignored signs that there were major differences between us and our values.

The second way I let myself down was:

2) Negativity

I allowed negativity into my life. I know that people who see the world through a negative lens actually think they are just being realistic, so I tried to just live and let live.

What I should have done really was genuinely accept this difference in a more proactive way.

I should have seen it and accepted it and maybe walked away. I should have honored that it didn’t feel good to be around negativity. I ignored that feeling and, over time, it brought me down and made me feel constricted and small.

The last way is:

3) Agency

This is having a feeling that you control your life. I’ve always been a planner. I get excited about thinking about whatever is next for me and I feel that I have a lot of control over what happens in my life. I’m inclined to look for solutions to whatever frustrates me. I always think there’s something you can do to make a deliberate choice about whatever you don’t like in your life, but not everyone sees the world this way.

Being around someone who feels like a victim of circumstances, especially when the insist that it’s just reality, really wore me down.

I tried to live and let live and I didn’t realize how much I was absorbing this way of seeing the world by being around someone who doesn’t take agency over their life.

I see now that I had drifted into the same feeling that life was heavy and hard and the world felt a little unfair and scary and the future felt more restricted and smaller because I allowed myself to be around someone who didn’t take agency and didn’t see the world the way I saw it.

I share these thoughts, not to bash anyone, but to share what I’ve learned so that you can think about where you might be playing small and compromising too.

I have three big takeaways from this experience.

#1 – We really do become like the five people we spend the most time with.

I really underestimated this. I realize now that it’s okay to choose what you want in your life. It isn’t judgmental to pay attention to you want and to decide that someone else’s values and choices aren’t a good match for yours. Ignoring my values, allowing negativity to creep in and not having a sense of agency over my life were really low vibrational states. I didn’t even realize that I was in such a low vibrational state until I came out of it.

#2 – I made compromises because I wanted security. I thought having this person in my life would make me feel safe.

I told myself that compromising what I valued was the price for safety, but in the end, there’s no real safety in that. If you’re betraying yourself, the best thing you can do is to bravely be true to yourself. Honor what’s important to you, make a deliberate choice, and cultivate what truly makes you happy. Stay in that higher vibrational frequency and attract higher vibrational experiences.

#3 – The universe responds very quickly when you’re aligned with what you want and totally open.

When I asked that question, “Where am I playing small?” the answer came almost immediately, so I’ve been working on cultivating that genuine open mindset in other areas of my life. The last few months have been a huge time of growth for me personally and in my business. I’m still in the midst of it and some days feel like huge progress and other days not so much, but that’s okay because at least I’m not playing small anymore.

I’m opening my mind up. I’m adding coaching into my business and I’m using space as a catalyst to help people transform their lives. It helped me a lot to think that sharing what I’ve learned might be helpful to you in the end.

This is a story with a happy outcome. I’d love to hear from you if this resonated with you.

Thank you so much for tuning in today and listening. It means a lot to me! If you liked this episode, please go over to iTunes and send it to a friend and leave a review. I’d really appreciate it.

Before I wrap it up, I want to share some of the books that I have really helped me over the years.

This is a really diverse collection of books. I’ve put the list together as Bonus Content for this episode. You can download the list of 10 Great Books to Read At Midlife that have really helped me through this time in my life.

I’ll be sure to keep sharing what I’m learning here on the podcast. In the meantime, please go on over and follow me on Instagram at @anniekipcoaching. I’d love to stay connected there and feel free to DM me anytime.

Until next week, keep making your life look the way you want to feel.

Bye-bye for now.


If you’re looking for a way to explore what you want for yourself, I suggest journaling – and here are some prompts to get you started!

Click here to download your FREE Self-Coaching Journal Prompts