Dreams & Oatmeal
I had an unusual childhood. I was seven years old before I learned that not all children analyzed their dreams each morning at the breakfast table with mom and dad, diagramming the archetypes on a yellow pad, next to the bowl of oatmeal. When I came home with a typical childhood complaint like “Johnny teased me at recess,” I was usually met with “What do you think is going on at home for Johnny that would cause him to tease other kids?”
My parents weren’t psychotherapists, religious fanatics, or even hippies. They were regular people who believed that understanding oneself and others was an essential part of living a happy life. From an early age, I was encouraged to learn about psychology and spirituality and apply tools from both arenas to my daily life. Our house was full of books on those subjects and I grew up reading them.
But I was also trying to navigate a very different world: school. One world put spirituality at the center of everything; the other was vehemently secular. One valued intuition and inner wisdom; the other held data and logic as our primary tools for knowing. One maintained that each human being was an expression of the divine with an equally precious gifts; the other put kids in competitive rankings against each other.
I’ve spent much of my life learning to navigate both worlds simultaneously – to fill my mind with education but not let information eclipse inner wisdom. To use the mind, but not allow it to trample the heart.
Amplifying Women’s Voices
When I was fifteen years old, my high school English teacher explained that our class would read a variety of books centered around the theme “Coming of Age”– Black Boy, A Separate Peace, Lord of the Flies, and others, over the course of the year.
I looked at the list and saw that all the books were about boys coming of age. All were written by men. I knew very well – from my own experience of being a fifteen year old – that the story of girls coming of age was very different from that of boys. I saw that so much of my education – and my community – had exactly this problem: women’s voices were missing.
I felt so called to do something about it that I worked to get my school’s curriculum changed – and did. That was my foundational experience following the calling that continues to be at the heart of my work: to restore women’s voices where they are missing.
Over the last several years I’ve dived deep into women’s lives and struggles to play bigger – working with them as a coach, leading training programs, and supporting more than 20,000 of them through writing published weekly at this site.
In my coaching practice, and among my women friends and colleagues, I saw the same thing again and again: brilliant women whose ideas and leadership could change the world, except that they didn’t see, believe in, or trust their own brilliance. My work evolved to focus on helping women play bigger, for the sake of their own fulfillment and for the sake of the world.
My approach to women’s leadership and wellbeing bridges those two worlds I grew up with: inner and outer work, mind and heart, learned knowledge and intuitive wisdom. It blends together my own personal journey losing my voice, finding it again, and learning to playing bigger; my lessons learned from working with hundreds of women as clients, students and workshop attendees; my MBA training in leadership and innovation; my training as a coach; and my lifelong passion for spirituality and psychology.
The official bio sounds like this:
Tara Sophia Mohr is an expert on women’s leadership and well-being. She is the author of Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message, forthcoming from Penguin in October 2014. She is the creator of the acclaimed Playing Big leadership program for women, which now has more than 1000 graduates from around the world. Tara writes a popular blog on women’s careers and wellbeing at www.taramohr.com and has been featured on The Today Show and in publications ranging from Huffington Post to Harvard Business Review to MariaShriver.com. Tara received her MBA from Stanford University and her undergraduate degree in English literature from Yale. In 2010, Tara was named a Girl Champion by the Girl Effect organization, honoring her work on girls’ education in the developing world. She is also a poet, and the author of Your Other Names: Poems for Wise Living. She lives in San Francisco and loves dance, art, and long walks with her beloved husband, son and golden retriever.