Playing small

We serve no one when we play small

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I was on a permaculture course,

Life changing;

The ideas, systems,

the people,


interested and interesting,

synthesising experience,

weaving webs of new understanding.


One of us,

post-doctoral researcher,


if she could venture

into academia alone,


a university at her shoulder.

Keeping her voice small,

When her work,

is game changing,

life enhancing,



I did it too.

For years when the letters PhD first joined my name,

I didn’t claim the ‘Dr’,

not feeling like what I thought a ‘Dr’ should feel like,

Not feeling big enough,

clever enough.

So much still I didn’t know,

don’t know.


So I played it small,

not wanting to make myself


not wanting to stand out,

to be heard.


Sometimes we need another’s words

To tell us,

‘If you don’t do this, write this, research this, then who will?’

‘What if someone, somewhere needs what you have to say and you don’t say it because you don’t feel worthy?

‘What if it is none of your business what other people think about what you do, say, write,

if all you have to do,

is be you,

show up,

do the things

that you can do

to make a positive difference,

to your small corner of the world.’


‘Who do you think you are to play small?

Do you think the oak holds back when it has room to grow?

Doesn’t every plant reach for the light?

It is natures way to grow.’


Sometimes we need a gentle nudge to step into the arena,

and dare to fail,

or succeed…


Sometimes we need someone else’s words:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

Find out more about my coaching, training and writing at

Julie Leoni

Regenerative living coach, author, podcaster, facilitator, educator, Dr

Business as usual is no longer possible.  We need to dramatically shift how we think and live in order that the planet and all those people we share it with as well as our children's children, flourish.  This is the time of the Great Turning (Joanna Macy) and each of us can play our part in tipping life towards health and well-being for all.

Finding your thing or things can be the most radical thing you can do for your own well-being and for the well-being of the planet.

Work with me to create a life where your energy, health, social connection and emotional and social well-being are not just sustained, but improve, regeneratively. 

I am an author, educator and researcher who coaches individuals and organisations to find more regenerative ways of living and working in order to support the health of all peoples, the more than human world and future generations.

My work is based on wisdom from indigenous people, science, and my own direct relationship with people and the more than human world which have taught me about the interconnectedness of all things, and our dependency on each other for well-being.

There are more things to measure than income and status so let's start creating the world we want our grandchildren to live in.  It starts here and it starts now with each of us, daily.  

Get in touch to have a conversation.

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