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It’s time to stop playing small.

By Jess Chapman, ethree Consulting Inc.

Women have so much to offer the business world. And so often the biggest hurdle we have to face is our own doubts and fears.

Consider the questions below:

  1. Do you find yourself “playing not to lose” in your business, going for the safe option just in case?

  2. Is there something you really want to do (or think you should!), but you’re not doing it because of what people might think or because you’re worried you might fail?

  3. Do you worry about being able to do it all properly and therefore limit what you take on?

  4. Do you look at your past accomplishments and think: I just got lucky?

If any of those resonate with you, then it’s likely you are playing small and not using your full potential!

And you’re not alone.

The stats tell the story: women tend to take fewer risks under stress than men do, (1) and women generally experience imposter syndrome (the persistent feeling of being a fraud) more than men do. Running a business is stressful, so as women we are generally more inclined to play it safe and limit ourselves than men are, particularly if we already have doubts about our ability.

So what can we do? Well much of playing small is about mindset. At ethree, part of our approach is based on neuroscience (understanding how your brain works), and we use that to help train, coach, and advise our clients. Here are some things you can do (that we regularly do!) to make sure we are in the right headspace for success.

Remember your dream and vision.

There was something that compelled you to start this business or take on your role. What was it? Reconnecting to our dreams and vision of the future every day can help us have the motivation to step out of our comfort zone.

“What you focus on you get more of.”

Your brain is wired to see what you tell it to. So if you tell your brain that you’re not good at something, your brain will look for all the examples that support that perspective. Choose a better focus. Start focusing on the things you do well, or where you’ve had success, and you’ll actually start to see more of them!

Go for a growth mindset. (2)

A key aspect of a growth mindset is how you view failure. According to the research, seeing failure as a learning experience (rather than something to avoid) supports success. So when you’re considering a new venture or a step out of your comfort zone, think about what you could learn from the experience and how that would help you move forwards.

Put things into perspective.

Women often think about all the things that can go wrong if they make a decision or do something different, but they don’t always spend as much time on how right things can go. Make sure you’re truly weighing the pros and cons of a situation equally. If need be, get a second opinion to make sure you’re viewing things with the right lens.

Mindset is a choice but also a habit. Start noticing if you’re playing small and try some of the techniques above. You have so much to offer: don’t limit yourself!

Want some help to go big? Give us a call at 709.368.4627. We’d love to help.



(1) Sundheim, Doug, 2013, “Do women take as many risks as men?” HBR Online,

(2) Dwek, Carol. Dr, 2007, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Ballantine Books, NY.


Jess Chapman, ethree Consulting Inc.

At ethree we believe that successful business is all about people and relationships, and so the better you and your people perform, the better your business performs. We help organizations build their people and handle the “tough people stuff” so that they can drive profitable growth and create amazing work environments where people are engaged, enabled, and empowered (hence our name!). We provide training, coaching, and advisory services to organizations of all shapes and sizes, from solopreneurs looking to grow their businesses to multinational corporations driving large-scale change. We pride ourselves on the breadth and depth of our expertise and our collaborative approach. Our clients will tell you that we are their trusted go-to experts and we feel like part of their team. Get in touch to see how we can help you.

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