How Permission to Live Big Can Free You From Feeling Lost

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By: Stephanie Jade Wong for Shine

She was sitting in a taxi, frustrated from the phone call she just had, when a voice suddenly came to her: “Pack up your stuff and start your business. You’re ready.”

A couple months later, she found herself abroad, dreaming up the mission of her own company.

This woman is Maxie McCoy, 29, a San Francisco-based writer and speaker who now runs her own online community to inspire and guide women.

“My work is about creating mindset shifts for women to allow them to get into action,” Maxie says. “I consider myself a cheerleader of women by encouraging them, leading them, and helping them.”

Maxie got to where she is today by learning to believe in her own power. She says the stars aligned when she heard that voice in the taxi — that voice telling her to create the space she needed to really think about her purpose.

“I was more ready than I thought (to create my own business), but I was just unwilling to see it because it was such a big life change,” she says.

“I was more ready than I thought (to create my own business), but I was just unwilling to see it because it was such a big life change.” — Maxie McCoy

When she arrived abroad (she choose Bali as the site of her brainstorm), she intentionally focused on figuring out what fulfilled her — asking the tough questions about what she wanted to do and why.

“It was a lot more internal reflection, work, and healing of myself than I actually thought was needed,” Maxie says. “But it was needed in order to give birth to the business.”

While abroad, Maxie wrote her first book proposal. Her upcoming book is about feeling lost. She says it was born from hearing thousands of women constantly saying, “OMG, I feel so lost.”

“It’s focused on moving away from the ‘big goal’ — this obsession of where we’re supposed to be and where that final destination is — and focusing on building the confidence and self-belief needed to take tiny actions over and over and over again,” she says. “That’s how we find our way.”

Here, Maxie shares her tips on how to create the space you need — and how to give yourself permission to take up space — when you’re feeling lost.

Maxie’s Tips on Finding the Good in Feeling Lost

1. Tap into the Highest Expression of Yourself

Maxie says it helps to ask those big (and slightly scary) questions: Who is your true self? Who do you really want to be? What makes you unique, energized and inspired?

One of her most important questions to ask: Where have you been making yourself small in order to fit in?

Where have you been making yourself small in order to fit in?

Consider the areas of your life where you want to do more and give more — but maybe feel uncomfortable taking up space. Then, give yourself permission to live big — take on the project, lean into the new hobby you love, or, even just take that time you need to think (even if it’s just an afternoon at a coffee shop — because Bali isn’t always an option). Try to melt away some of the “I should” or “I can’t” and follow the highest expression of yourself.

2. Do One Small Thing

Now, think: What’s the smallest thing you can do to follow that energy? To follow that thing that gives you life? Try lining up a series of small steps to make your way towards that bigger goal. Maybe it’s a short informational phone interview with someone you admire, or signing up for an online course. You never know what one small thing can turn into later on.

What’s the smallest thing you can do to follow that energy?

For Maxie, a writing class sparked her initial passion for women’s leadership. “In that class, you got to write about what was most important to you, and I dug into women’s issues, specifically their careers,” Maxie said.

She soon scored a role at the women’s career site Levo, where she traveled to cities around the world for workshops, conventions, and panels. She started blogging about the conversations she’d have with the women she’d met. Her blog audience started to grow over the course of a couple years, and then it became clear to her that she could make her own business.

3. Lean On Your Community

It’s not always easy to know when and how we feel most fulfilled — but know it’s OK to ask others for help. Spend time with the people close to you and ask them what they think you’re best at and when they see you happy. Ask them what they think your talents are.

Try to understand the good they see in you — then, see it for yourself. External validation can only take us so far if we don’t give validation to ourselves from ourselves. As Maxie learned, when you give yourself permission to take up space and believe in your power, that’s when amazing things can happen.


Still feeling a little lost? Download our free iOS app for a 7-day self-love challenge.Here’s a sneak peek of Maxie’s Love Yourself Challenge…

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