Tara Sophia Mohr | Playing Big

Tara Sophia Mohr, Playing Big. Find Your VOICE, Your MISSION, and Your MESSAGE.

What’s missing from our women, confidence & careers conversation

Lately I’ve been feeling torn, as I listen to, read about, and witness the growing conversation about women and confidence. Books like Lean In, The Confidence Code and my work are all part of it.

We’re putting the spotlight on the internal barriers, the beliefs and thought patterns that can hold women back. We’re bringing into our awareness the often almost unconscious, negative ways we talk to ourselves, the ways we convince ourselves we aren’t expert enough on a topic to give a speech on it, or skilled enough at x or y to launch that business.

I think we do need the spotlight on this, that yes, women’s self-doubt is a part of the problem, and we need to be talking about it.

But typically, what’s not talked about is why women have these internal barriers. The pervasiveness of women’s self-doubt makes clear: this is a social and cultural phenomenon. It was created by social and cultural factors–-the dearth of capable women leaders we see, the objectification of women in advertising and entertainment, the lack of girls’ media with female heroines and protagonists, the ways vocal and powerful women are still told they are too aggressive, too abrasive. It was created by a history of the marginalization and denigration of women and how that history shaped us to see ourselves.

Of course, that history left an internal legacy in us.

When the cultural and historical “why” of women’s self-doubt isn’t talked about, then we end up talking about what boils down to, “how women need to improve themselves.”

Without context about the “why” of women’s self-doubt, a corporate women’s retreat where women learn how to manager their inner critics, seems—even to me—like an annoying, condescending event in which a company passes their gender problem off to women, who get sent to remedial self-esteem camp. No good.

But with the wise understanding that women’s internal barriers are a result of our culture and our history, the same retreat becomes an important gathering where women let go of the limiting inner imprints their culture and history have left inside of them. It becomes a powerful juncture where they can begin to replace that imprint with something healed and empowered and whole. They do this as trailblazers, going forward in undo inner limitations that hold countless women back, so that they can lead in creating a new future for all of us.

What might this mean for you? On an individual level, if you think of working on your inner critic only as work on your unique neurosis, you are robbing yourself of the real power and meanning of that work. What I’d want for you instead, is that you remember that unbridling yourself from self-doubt is part of a collective unbridling, a part of women leaving behind a dark period of our history.

Inner critic work is big work, collective work, sacred work of historical significance. Yes, you do it for yourself, but you also do it because it moves your culture forward.





10 Things About the Voice in Your Head

self-doubt image

We’ve all got many voices in our heads. Quite often, the quality of our lives and the quality of our leadership depends on which voice we listen to.

One voice chatters about what’s wrong with us. “You will say something stupid.” “You are fat.” “You are a bad mother.” “If that was a good idea someone else would have thought of it already.” You know this voice. Fill in the blank with what it says to you.

Here are ten things I know about that voice:

1. It prevents brilliant women from sharing their ideas and stepping up into leadership. And by doing that, it prevents all of us from living in the more just, sane, loving, sustainable world those women would create.

2. That voice doesn’t exist in you because your mom didn’t give you enough this or that in childhood, or because there’s something wrong with you. It exists in you because you are human. Get a body, you’ll get an inner critic too.

3. The inner critic’s goal is to keep you safe from any possible harm, rejection, and even any joy. It likes the numbed-out comfort zone.

4. Whenever you reach an edge of your comfort zone, your inner critic will speak up, loudly.

5. It is a wild liar. It has no bias for truth-telling. It says whatever it thinks might make you leap right back into the cozy territory of the familiar.

6. Getting angry at that voice usually doesn’t work.

7. Arguing with that voice (“No, I really can do this! I can!) also usually doesn’t work.

8. There’s no workshop, therapist, pill, or upper arm workout that eliminates self-doubt over the long-term. We can’t be cured of it, but we can learn how to quiet it and act from a different part of ourselves.

9. What works is to name the voice for what it is (“Oh, I’m hearing my inner critic now,”), remember it doesn’t tell the truth, and take action in line with our aspirations – not in line with our self-doubts.

10. It’s possible to learn to hear the inner critic’s voice chattering away and to respond to it with wisdom—to not heed it, to not believe it. It is possible to locate a different voice inside, one that can lead you to what you want. We really can learn to listen to that voice instead.



I share more about how to quiet the inner critic and access your voice of inner wisdom in the Playing Big book. Pre-order today to receive some special gifts: – videos from me on key concepts on the book, worksheets to guide you through your own playing bigger process, two Q&A calls/audio recordings, and other bonuses too.

When you preorder, you help the book have a strong start in the world, so ideas like these can reach more women. If you believe in that mission, please preorder!

Step 1: Preorder here: Click here to order at Amazon.com,
here to order at Barnes & Noble.com,
here for Powell’s,
here for Books A Million,
or here for Indiebound.

Step 2: Email your receipt to pbpreorders@taramohr.com to get your bonuses!



It’s time for a new conversation about women’s careers

Leaning in or leaning out. Opting in or opting out.

Something has been missing from our collective conversation about women’s careers.

It’s the foundational step upon which everything else depends.

It’s the step in which a woman courageously sets aside what mom, dad, Aunt Sue, her boss, her thesis advisor, and the lady down the street think of as success. It’s the step when a woman asks herself what she really wants.

It’s the step when even if she hears “I don’t know!” she doesn’t turn away from the question, but listens to the whispers and follows the clues to find the answer.

It’s the step when she defines her dream for her life.

I don’t care if she plays big on the world’s terms. I want her to play big in going for that dream.

The answer might be, “I want to leave corporate life and become a therapist. It might be, “I want to close my therapy practice and work for a business.” It might be, “I want to take the kids on a year-long adventure abroad.” It might be, “I want to mentor a young person who really needs support.” It might be, “I want to take the crumpled pages out of the file drawer, and this year, write that book.”

True playing big can be defined only from the inside out. It might look like something the world recognizes as “playing big” or it might look like something other people would mistake as playing small. What defines playing big is not prestige, title, salary or even size of impact. It’s about going for your real dreams.

In a world where definitions of success were developed without women at the (conference) table, it’s no surprise that a woman’s playing big will not always align with those traditional images.

I’ve worked with women for whom playing big is getting the promotion, and I’ve worked with women for whom playing big is turning down the promotion, to pursue the work that means the most to them instead. I’ve worked with women for whom playing big means becoming financially independent, and I’ve worked with women for whom the most radical playing big choice is not – for once in their careers – being driven by financial factors.

What’s fascinating is that the core process, the steps taken, are the same for these women. It’s always about learning which voice inside to listen to, how to sustain motivation and clarity, and how to take quick, experimental action that gets us moving forward.

So here is a question I invite you to think about today: if we define playing big this way, as courageously going for your dreams, what might playing big mean for you? What dream hasn’t been attended to or respected so much by you and could use some love?

In what area of your life would you love to play bigger?


The Playing Big book is available for preorder now. Learn more about the book HERE. When you preorder the book, you’ll get all kinds of bonus goodies from me: videos to support your playing bigger and access to live Q&A calls where you can ask your questions and learn from other women’s stories.
Click here to order at Amazon.com,
here to order at Barnes & Noble.com,
here for Powell’s,
here for Books A Million,
or here for Indiebound.

Then email your receipt to pbpreorders@taramohr.com to get your bonuses!



The Book Is Here!


THE BOOK IS HERE! Labor of love, product of lots of courage, trust and hard work — it is here.

Over the past six years, I’ve made it my work to help women create the careers and lives they desire, through my coaching practice and the Playing Big course.

All of the tools, practices, and ideas that have made the most dramatic difference in the lives of the women I work with are now all in one place, for you, in the Playing Big book, published by Penguin.

As you read, you’ll go on a journey–to redefine playing big on your own terms and learn how to quiet self doubt, move past fear, and discover what I call your own “inner mentor.” You’ll learn how to unhook from praise and criticism, communicate more powerfully, and take immediate, experimental action in the service of your dreams. You’ll learn why I think there is no such thing as self-discipline, and uncover a more reliable source of motivation.

I’ve been so moved by what people are saying about the book.

“I guarantee that you will find yourself and your dreams somewhere in this book and when you do Tara’s deep insights, her practical action steps and her real life stories will set you free.”
- Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, author, Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings

“Luminous, deep, and practical. I’ve asked every woman in my all-woman company to put Playing Big first on their reading list. Playing Big is like a torch that shows you where assumptions you’ve been holding could be holding you back — even if you think you’re using your power to the fullest.”
- Danielle LaPorte, author, The Desire Map and The Fire Starter Sessions

I want to invite you to preorder the book today. When you preorder, you’ll receive:

1. The book in your hands, as soon as it is published, on October 14th.
2. The day you order, you’ll get access to a Playing Big video series from me in which you’ll learn:
-my 3-step process for how to identify your calling and start living it today
-how to communicate with power
-my favorite approach for overcoming fear
3. When you preorder you’ll also receive access to a live Q&A call with me, where you’ll get to see the tools in action and learn from other women’s stories

Those of you who know a little about publishing may know that, for lots of different reasons, preorders are *very* important for a book’s success. So when you preorder, you not only get access to the videos and call. You are also supporting the book reaching more women – and I sincerely appreciate your help with that.

So here’s what to do: Click here to order at Amazon.com, or here to order at Barnes & Noble.com, or here for Powell’s, or here for Books A Million, or here for Indiebound.

Then email your receipt to pbpreorders@taramohr.com to get your bonuses.

Thank you! Here’s to women across the globe playing much, much bigger – for the sake of their own fulfillment, and for the sake of changing the world.

Playing Big Bookcover
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Preorder Tara Mohr's new book and you'll receive 3 training videos & a live Q&A call with Tara

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  • How I Started to Write

    “Write, just write.”

    That was what that whisper of a voice inside of me kept saying.

    It was the summer of 2008. I was enrolled in my training to become a coach, and therefore was spending a lot of time being coached by other students in the program, so that I could experience the coaching tools as my future clients would.

    That meant that quite often, I was being asked big questions: What do you really want? What does your intuition say to you about your next step? What would bring you greater happiness?

    Almost always, when I turned inward to ask myself these questions, the answer was the same: “Write, just write.”

    It was so simple and so consistent I bored all my fellow student coaches.

    But I wasn’t bored. I was surprised, and hesitant. I didn’t adore this answer. I wanted and expected the answer to be “quit your job and start your coaching practice.” “Redecorate your home” or “take a sabbatical in Europe” also would have been fine.

    But the answer wasn’t any of those things. When I really listened inward, and didn’t just spit out the line my mind wanted to be true, the answer was there: “Write, just write.”

    That felt a little mysterious, a little scary, because I hadn’t written much besides white papers and grant proposals in a long time, and I knew that wasn’t what the voice was talking about. I didn’t know what that voice wanted me to write, or why. I did have the sense it wanted me to sit down at the desk, alone, and dive deep into a sea.

    And so I wrote. I kept my job, my salary, my regular old life, except that at 5am I’d get up and write, before heading to work.

    At first it was clunky, stilted, and so difficult, but I began writing about the ideas that mattered most to me—ideas about how we could live more compassionately and mindfully, about doing work with meaning, about the miraculous in our midst. Many days I didn’t know what to write about, so I wrote about Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving and I wrote about Mexico when I visited Mexico. Sometimes, I knew no other way to get started than to look around the room and write about what I saw in front of me—the pale yellow wall, the canopy above the bed, the bougainvillea.

    Quickly, though, I fell deeply in love with writing. I’d start out in a grumpy mood, all stiff and irritable inside, and end the hour or two of writing in a totally different place—uplifted, softened, cleared out of stuck thoughts, resentments, anxieties.

    (I think this is how other people feel about going for a run?)

    That inner voice was right. Writing was the answer to all the questions: What would bring you greater happiness? What do you really want? What does your intuition say to you about your next step?

    Six years, 424 blog posts, 43 poems, and one book later, writing is at the center of my life.

    Sometimes, something deep within us knows a lot more than our conscious minds do.

    Next week, I’m going to tell you about my book, Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message, which is coming into the world very soon. It’s a labor of love, and I’m so proud of it.

    “Write, just write” is a part of how it came to be. And it begs the question for all of us: what is that whispering but persistent voice inside of you saying? And how can you follow its instructions even when they are mysterious to you? And how can you heed it, even as you care for the rest of your life?

    Love, Tara

    LAST BUT NOT LEAST! I have a new Facebook page now, and I’ll be posting all kinds of updates & good stuff there. If you’d like to be connected on Facebook, please click HERE and “Like” the page.

    Click to tweet: Sometimes, something deep within us knows a lot more than our conscious minds do.

    Some guidelines for finding that voice inside:

    Give yourself a quiet and relaxing space—take a walk somewhere beautiful, go to a favorite spot in your home and read some poetry or literature that calms you, put on favorite music that moves you emotionally, or immerse yourself in water—hot tub, bath. These are all good ways to slow down and connect with yourself a little more.

    Then just check in: “what do I really want?” or “what’s important for me right now?” or any simple question like that. Use a question that begins with “what,” not a “why” question or a “how” question or a “yes/no” question.

    Then notice what surprising answers immediately arise. Listen to them.

    Watch out if any inner critic voices, fears, or “shoulds” are creeping in, and gently let those pass by as you again ask the question. It might help to put your hand on your heart or your belly and imagine asking for the answer that comes from there.


    LAST BUT NOT LEAST! I have a new Facebook page now, and I’ll be posting all kinds of updates & good stuff there. If you’d like to be connected on Facebook, please click HERE and “Like” the page.