Tara Sophia Mohr | Playing Big

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

Playing Big Registration is Open!

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From the age of about 5 or so, I would sit down with my mom at the breakfast table in the morning and, over oatmeal and orange juice, we would analyze my dreams. My mom believed dreams were important, and that even at a young age, a person could start to understand themselves better through them.

And if I came home complaining about a kid at school teasing me, my mom would say, “What do you think is going on for her at home that would cause her to tease other kids?”

I was raised in a house where I was encouraged to look at my life, and the world, through a psychological lens. I grew up immersed in learning about the inner life, psychology, and spirituality from all traditions.

But that was only one-half of the worldview I was being taught. The other half was very different.

I went to school in competitive academic environments. There, I was being educated in a culture that sharply contrasted with the one I’d learned about at home. School emphasized mind over heart, learned knowledge over intuitive knowing. I went to Yale, I went to Stanford Business School. I learned how to play by the world’s rules.

This is my hybrid path, and it informs the approach I now use throughout my work. Mind and heart. Practical but not cynical. Knowledge and wisdom. Outer action and inner reflection.

The tension between two worlds that was often difficult for me to navigate when I was growing up is no longer a tension, but a fusion. I’m so happy that this fusion is one of the things people find most helpful in my work.

I know this: When you mix inner work with practical skills training, you get power.

Being alive in this remarkable time of new possibilities for women, we benefit so much from doing inner work in areas like unhooking from praise and criticism, clarifying our callings, and learning to manage self-doubt and fear.

But if we only have those tools, we can’t play to our full potential. We also benefit tremendously from learning “skills for world-changing” — such as how to communicate effectively, negotiate without apology, deal with feedback (and pushback), and get our messages out.

Registration opens today for the Playing Big program, my course for women who want to play bigger in their work and their lives.

The Playing Big course offers this hybrid of both inner and outer work. It includes powerful training to manage self-doubt and fear, connect with your inner wisdom, and uncover your right next steps. It also includes training in essential skills like negotiation, communication, sustaining personal motivation, and innovation – how to test, hone and scale anything new – whether a new career direction or a new offering in a business.

Playing Big is for you if you want to make a greater impact, and experience more joy and fulfillment in your work. It’s for you if you want to experience less fear, stalling, and self-doubt around going for your big aspirations, and instead, get going on what you most what to contribute and create.

In my next couple posts, I’ll be sharing about our program curriculum and how we combine inner work with skills training to help you play bigger.

To learn more about the Playing Big program and to get your spot, click here.

Love,

Tara
 
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When you are stuck, procrastinating, or perfecting …

#WeeklyPractice

You can listen to this post in audio, too. Click the player to download an mp3 file, or you can read below …

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Think of something in your work life that you want to do, but that you are not yet doing – something you want to bring into being, but that you are not taking much action around.

Maybe it’s writing the book, or applying for a job at a company you love, or taking steps toward starting the business. Maybe it’s reaching out to a potential mentor in your field, or pitching a partnership to a colleague you’d love to work with.

You know what it is for you.

Play out the movie in your head. Imagine yourself doing that thing. Writing the email asking to meet up for coffee with that potential mentor, or sitting there at the café talking with them. Sending off the book proposal. Being at the job interview.

But don’t imagine your ideal version of it. Live into what it would be like if it was you just as you are now – you with all the difficult feelings and nerves and fear that would show up for you as you do that thing.

What are those uncomfortable feelings for you?

When I ask women this question, they often say things like:

Feeling like I might fail
Feeling like I have no idea what I’m doing
Feeling foolish after making a big mistake
Feeling afraid that people won’t like what I have to offer
Feeling arrogant or ridiculous for trying – like who do I think I am?
Feeling selfish, like I’m putting myself before others as I pursue this

What are the uncomfortable feelings that would come up for you if you started to take purposeful, direct action toward that goal you feel stuck or blocked around?

You might not know what they are until you really imagine yourself doing that thing, so live into your imagined version of it now.

I’ve stalled for months on sending stretch emails that could significantly move my work forward. Why? Not excuses-I-tell-myself-why but really why? Because I didn’t want to feel the fear and nervousness and thoughts of my less-than-ness that would be running in my head as I sent them.

I have skipped out on opportunities to speak to certain audiences because I didn’t want to feel the nervousness and narrative of less-than-ness running through my head leading up to the event.

I have ignored professional conversations that needed to happen simply because I didn’t want to feel the fear of being “not nice” or of being selfish that comes up for so many of us women when we own even a little of our power.

On the one hand, it’s the most obvious thing in the world that we don’t do certain things because we don’t want to experience the uncomfortable feelings that come with them.

On the other hand, this – avoiding what we don’t want to feel – is the invisible drive that shapes our lives, often unconsciously. We can tell ourselves it’s about lack of time, or knowledge, or tools, but often it’s simply this: there is something we don’t want to feel.

It’s our capacity to sit with the uncomfortable – not how many to-do items we can check off in a day – that circumscribes the boundary on how much we are able to move forward.

So this week I want to invite you to ask this question.

If you are procrastinating, avoiding, or perfecting, ask yourself: What is it I don’t want to feel here, that I would feel if I did this thing?

Notice what it is you don’t want to feel.

And then, here’s the good part, the juicy gold thing we’ve all been gifted:

We can decide it will be okay to feel that thing. We can choose to experience it, and breathe through it. We can even choose to be students of it – to investigate – what is this feeling about? What earlier feelings in my life does it connect back to?  What happens if I sit here through it for a few moments?

Most of the time, when we lean into the feeling we thought we had to avoid, it feels quite intense for a few moments but then it passes. We learn we have the capacity to feel it and make it through. When we know that, a whole new realm of choices opens up to us: I can do that even if it will feel very uncomfortable to me as I do it.

This week, where you are stuck, procrastinating, perfecting, distracting, not taking the action toward your goals, ask yourself, “What is it that I don’t want to feel?”

Join us in the Weekly Practice Facebook group to share your experience and read others’ accounts. Or share on Instagram and tag me @tarasophiamohr with #WeeklyPractice. I’ll see you over there!

Love,
Tara

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Can You Have Both?

#WeeklyPractice

You can listen to this post in audio, too. Click the player to download an mp3 file, or you can read below …
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I recently met a woman who was considering a major career change. She’d worked in finance for three decades, but had always – always – wanted to do something more creative.

“The part where I get stuck,” she said to me, “is the money piece. Can I do something that I love, and be financially okay?”

Later that day, I had a different conversation, with a woman who’d just had her first child. She shared, “I’d always planned on being a full-time mom, but now I’m finding I don’t want to give up my work. But, can I be there for my kids in the way I want to, if I’m still working? I just don’t know if I can.”

Now, these two women live in different parts of the country. They are more than twenty years apart in age. One is worried about money. The other about balancing work and family. They’ve got very different lives and challenges going on.

But something was exactly the same about these two conversations, and about what these two women were struggling with – did you notice?

Each woman was asking herself:

Can I have both x and y?

They were each asking the question over and over again, to no avail, and suffering in their worry over it. Both of them were doubting the answer could be yes.

We all hold beliefs about two things we want that we think can’t coexist.

I can do work I love or I can be financially stable.
I can be a great mom or have a thrilling career.
I can eat whatever I want or I can be healthy.
I can take care of my own sanity or be tuned into world events.
I can be more authentic at work or I can work the politics.
I can say what I really think or I can continue to be liked by the group.

We get stressed and confined by these kinds of beliefs. And we torture ourselves with the repetitive, go-nowhere question, “Can I have both? Can I have both? Can I have both?”

So, here’s the practice for this week: change the question.

Instead of asking, “Can I have both?” ask yourself:

“How can I have both?”

That is a generative question. It takes for granted there is some way to have both, and gets your mind looking for creative solutions as to how.
 

That’s our simple practice for this week:

STEP 1: Notice one major either-or belief or worry you’ve got going on. For you maybe it’s about money vs. passion, or family vs. work, or adventure vs. stability.

STEP 2: Throughout the week, instead of living in the land of “Can I have both?” or “I can’t have both,” ask our new question: “How can I have (or do) both?”

Simmer on the answers.
See what ideas and images come.
Take a few minutes to brainstorm some thoughts on paper.

The question I’ll be working with for this week is “How can I be a present, involved mom and have an exciting, fulfilling, career? What could that look like for me?”

What either-or belief will you be working with?

Join us in the Weekly Practice Facebook group to share your experience and read others’ accounts. Or share on Instagram and tag me @tarasophiamohr with #WeeklyPractice. I’ll see you over there!

Love,

Tara

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I also want to remind you about our 2017 Playing Big Scholarship Program. Every year we make a group of scholarships available for the Playing Big program. While we recognize there are so many incredible women in all fields who would benefit from a scholarship, this year we are focusing on supporting women who work in social justice, activism and public service. If you 1) work in one of these fields 2) are interested in the Playing Big program and 3) would need financial assistance to participate, please sign up here to receive our 2017 scholarship application. Thank you!   ~ Tara & team

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Do That.

Do That

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a woman who wanted to start her own business. “I know I want to do something entrepreneurial,” she told me, “but I just don’t have an idea for a business, for what it should be.”

“Are you sure you don’t have an idea?,” I asked her. “Is there any idea that has come up from time to time, or images you get in your mind of doing something in particular, but for some reason you’ve pushed away?”

“Well, yes,” she said.

She went on to tell me, in quite specific terms, about an area she’d been interested in for a long time, the sense of calling she had to create something around a community need.

What if I hadn’t asked, “Are you sure? There’s nothing that’s been coming up that you’ve been pushing away?”

I knew to ask because this precise conversation has happened for me hundreds of times in my coaching, in my courses, in the Q&A sessions after speaking events.

I have learned when a woman says she feels some general longing for a change but just doesn’t have any specific idea what she wants to do next, that is almost never the truth.

There is something – some idea, some calling – that has lived so close to her heart and soul, that has come into her thoughts again and again but she has turned away, saying – No, it can’t be that. Not viable, not practical. Or … No, not me. I couldn’t be the one for that.

The calling was so nearby to her thoughts – so familiar and aged in her thinking, so available to her and ready to be brought to life – that a part of her believed it had to be more complicated, more remote.

It is not only easy to say, “It couldn’t be that,” it is convenient, and soothing to do so. Then we don’t have to do the scary thing of trusting that calling and starting to take some small action toward it. Instead we can keep on searching and re-searching, and researching, walking in circles, ruminating.

There is a beautiful poem, Start Close In, by David Whyte that speaks to this:

Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
thing
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

The step close in – the idea that has already visited you, the calling that’s always been there – is always the one we really don’t want to take. It can make us tremble, it can make us nauseous to consider taking it.

And our abilities to avoid it are impressive.

We are desperate to brush it away, but have you noticed how it returns, asking again and again for your devotion?

And have you noticed how no matter how much you try, you can’t replace it with something else?

Please, start close in.
Pay attention to what has been knocking at the door of your heart.
That thing that seems too familiar, or old, or wrong, or wild to be it.

Go with that.

The book that wants to be written, the business that wants to be started, the community project that wants to be birthed. The new art form or pursuit that is beckoning, the trip that wants to be taken, the move that wants to be made.

You may not know all the details, or the how, or how this fits into how you’ve always thought of yourself. That is all okay. Mystery is your companion on this path.

And still you can honor what has come to your heart’s door, and open it.

Love,

Tara

Do you know someone who is not going for that calling that is close in? Please share this with them, and cheer them on.

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. . . . . . . . . .

I am also excited to share today about our 2017 Playing Big Scholarship Program. Every year we make a group of scholarships available for the Playing Big program. While we recognize there are so many incredible women in all fields who would benefit from a scholarship, this year we are focusing on supporting women who work in social justice, activism and public service. If you 1) work in one of these fields 2) are interested in the Playing Big program and 3) would need financial assistance to participate, please sign up here to receive our 2017 scholarship application. Thank you! Tara & team

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How Can I Relax More Right Now?

#WeeklyPractice

You can listen to this post in audio, too. Click the player to download an mp3 file, or you can read below …
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Good morning! This email is the first in our new Weekly Practice series. Each Monday, I’ll share a practice with you for the week – a simple action to take, a question to ask yourself, a new idea to apply in your life. (For more on the series, read the intro here).

***

How Can I Relax More Right Now?

During the past few months, I’d sometimes notice I was getting stressed about the small stuff.

Is the baby falling asleep? Am I going to get to my appointment on time? Is this work partnership going to work out the way I want? Is this conversation unfolding how I hoped it would?

There are infinite moments to tense up about each day, each hour.

In the midst of noticing my own stress, I started asking myself a question – a question I want to share with you today.

The question is simply this:

“How can I relax more right now?”

How can I relax more as I write this?
How can I relax more as I wait at this red light?
How can I relax more as I feed this child, or try to move us to the next step of the bedtime routine, or explain why we can’t go to a toy store right now?
How can I relax more as I have this work meeting, or look at this budget?

How can I relax more?

What happens for you when you ask yourself this question, right now?

I notice that when I ask that, there is a physical change into a state of relaxation. My shoulders drop a little. I exhale.

There is also a mental change that I find quite interesting.

When I ask, “How I can relax?” my mind seems to start looking for all the reasons why it’s okay to relax, so I start remembering all that is already good in the situation and start feeling a whole lot of gratitude.

The spirituality of relaxation lies here: relaxation connects us to all that is already sound, good, blessed in the situation – starting with our basic aliveness.

In our push push push, go go go culture, sometimes we get confused about what relaxing is. Relaxing isn’t being passive or doing nothing. It doesn’t mean letting go of aspiration or drive or fierce energy. We can still do our achieving and working and communicating and being in the world – but from a different place, from a place of spaciousness and rest – not from tense attempts to control.

It means going from a clenched fist to an open hand, a racing heart to a calm one, a shallow breath to a deep one.

How I can relax more right now?

Ask yourself a few times today, and each day throughout the week. Let me know: In what situations did you ask this question? What happened? What shifted? You can join our Weekly Practice Facebook group to report on your experiences, or share about your experiences on Instagram using the hashtag #weeklypractice.

Love,

Tara

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Get On The List!

The next session of my Playing Big course is coming up! This is my course for any woman who wants to play bigger in her life and work.

If you would like to know more details about the Playing Big course and have access to our early bird discount, sign up here.

You’ll be added to our special list for course information and you’ll start receiving great info from me about what we’ll cover and how to discern if it’s the right fit for you.
 
 
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