Answering the Call: Destined for Something BIGGER

Orange Sky

“If you feel insignificant, you better think again. Better wake up because you’re part of something way bigger.”

-Beyoncé

In 2019 Beyoncé released a song called “BIGGER” on her Lion King: The Gift album. A powerful song, “BIGGER” became my mantra after first learning of it in a sermon my pastor preached. The song is a testament to the power of human potential, the power to challenge and rise above societal limits, and also to the power of coaching.

During the sermon, the pastor, stepped into and out of a small, blue plastic box to make her point: we often resign ourselves to living in the too-small boxes that cultural and institutional norms ascribe to us based on our particular identities when deep inside of ourselves we know we are destined for more – for something much BIGGER. For most in our congregation, she was speaking to our identity as people of African descent; however, her message, like that of Beyoncé’s goes much further, encompassing the many intersecting identities most of us have – many of which have been ascribed lower levels of power and access, and at times even safety. 

As I sat listening to the sermon, my mind was immediately drawn to my own life and the ways in which I’ve allowed myself to be limited during my lifetime by what others thought I could/couldn’t be or should/shouldn’t do. I thought about limits placed on me due to my race and gender, and I thought of others who are limited by level of education, economic status, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, self-doubt and more. My mind was also drawn to the culturally diverse classrooms where I co-led 9-month coach certification trainings that combined a mind, body, spirit approach to coaching with a deep awareness of the cultural dynamics of power, privilege, rank, race and oppression. Our intent in the program was to support students to experience their own transformation while they learned to support others to shine light on the beliefs and norms that limit their full potential and then take steps to transform the negative impact into positive and empowering change at personal, interpersonal, cultural and institutional levels. In “BIGGER,” Beyoncé shares:

If you feel insignificant, you better think again

Better wake up because you’re part of something way bigger

You’re part of something way bigger…

Bigger than you, bigger than we

Bigger than the picture they framed us to see

But now we see it

And it ain’t no secret, no

Understand that truth ‘bout that question in your soul

Look up, don’t look down, then watch the answers unfold

Life is your birthright, they hid that in the fine print

Take the pen and rewrite it

Step out your estimate

Step in your essence and know that you’re excellent

Rise

Each time I hear those words as I replay the song, I smile. It feels like a call to wake up – a call to action. So much truth and power in those words for me as a life coach and as a Black woman! Many of us come into coaching or other service work feeling too small, even insignificant. “Me? Can I really make a difference?” I know that was true for me, and I’ve heard it from many of our coaching students each year. And yet, somewhere deep inside we hear a call or feel an urging that not only can we make a difference, WE MUST! We are part of a bigger picture.

Despite our Western norms of rugged individuality, striving, competing, strategizing, and achieving while leaving others behind, we know there is more. We can move beyond, “the picture they framed us to see.” At some level, we know, as Mufasa says in The Lion King, “We’re all connected in the great circle of life.” We remember the ways of indigenous ancestors who worked collaboratively with each other and in harmony with the earth. Those ancestors knew that everything is connected and they worked with the whole instead of isolated parts. We can reclaim that knowledge and integrate it into our ways of being and living today, creating harmony rather than separation and divisiveness.

As coaches we support people to access and deeply listen to that voice within – to access the wisdom of our bodies. We mesh soul and spirit awareness with concrete coaching skills and cultural awareness to help people step out of small boxes and into a fuller embodiment of their personal and collective power. We move beyond the limits we’ve been conditioned to believe and see and into our birthright and potential to make a unique contribution to our families, communities, organizations and beyond. In Beyoncé’s words, I hear her urging us to, “take a pen and rewrite it.” In other words, to:

  • step out of the box or our “estimate” (the assessment and limits that others place on us)
  • step into our “essence” (our full authentic gifts and voice), and
  • know that we’re “excellent” (standing confidently in our truth and purpose – ditching the self-doubt and diminishing the power of our internal critic that holds us small).

The simple command, “Rise,” says it all. It is not enough to know it and accept it. There is something about the word, rise, that aligns with the way we, as coaches, call out or call forth the power we see budding in those we support: “Rise.” It’s an action word. Stand tall and go forth into the action that is aligned with your purpose, destiny and values. No more playing small and holding back. “Rise” and step out of the box. “Rise” and step beyond perceived limits. “Rise” and become an unstoppable force for change. “Rise” and make a difference in your life and in the lives of others. “Rise.”

Beyoncé goes on to say:

I’ll be the roots, you be the tree

Pass on the fruit that was given to me

Legacy, ah, we’re part of something way bigger…

Let love be the water

I pour into you and you pour into me

There ain’t no drought here

Bloom into our actual powers

I’ll be your sanctuary, you just don’t know it yet

You just don’t know it yet

No matter how hard it gets

You got my blood in ya

And you’re gonna rise

You’re part of something way bigger

I find this section of the song especially moving! We are not alone on this journey. The roots of our ancestors allowed us to become trees and bear fruit. Our roots allow others to become trees and bear fruit. It is a cyclical process – a generative one. One that gives life continually rather than destroying life, confidence and ability. The pouring of love and positivity into another is nourishing water. It is the way of a coach.

There ain’t no drought here,” speaks to the limitless potential of that loving water that nourishes. Love is not a limited resource, despite the fear and hatred in the world and what those who espouse it would have us believe. There is no fixed pie of resources. While fear frames a picture of “not enough pie for all, and let me make sure I have enough for me and mine,” the water of love – the pouring of love into one another – paints a very different picture. One of collaboration, shared resources, co-creation, bridging, supporting and working together for positive change. “I’ll be your sanctuary…no matter how hard it gets.” Sanctuary is what we offer as coaches, and it is not limited to coaches. It’s available for each of us to offer to others.

If you have not heard the song “BIGGER” by Beyoncé, I encourage you to listen to it and become inspired by it today. It speaks so deeply to the journey I’ve taken from feeling insignificant to:

  • Stepping out of my estimate (the too-small box of societal beliefs about me and my potential, the institutional limits placed upon me, cultural warnings to keep me safe, and my own limiting beliefs and internalized oppression)
  • Stepping into my full essence as a Black woman (mother, partner, coach, social change catalyst)
  • Knowing that I am excellent, which for me means I am Enough (being and giving my best; no need to compare myself to others anymore)
  • Rising and taking action – reaching backwards, forwards and to the sides as a force for healing and social change.

I hope you will still be inspired by the song to step into the BIGGER life you are destined for! Remember: “Let love be the water.” We’re part of something way BIGGER! Thank you, Beyoncé!




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