Tara Sophia Mohr | Playing Big

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

We’re Hiring!, Upcoming Events, and More

Good morning!

Some updates and announcements today:

1. The book! Playing Big is here, and I’m so happy to say, being met with rave reviews. Have you picked up your copy yet? Get it HERE.

2. I am HIRING a new business operations manager – a details-loving, systems-thinking, techie-grooving soul to join our team. Is that maybe you? More information is HERE.

3. Upcoming Events
I’ll be in Palo Alto this Sunday for a book event (get your spot HERE), and Austin, TX for the Texas Conference for women in a couple weeks (details HERE). Would love to meet you at one of these events!

4. And some easy listening…
I recently was on three wonderful podcasts – all are great resources for regular listening too.
Jonathan Fields’ Good Life Project
Todd Henry’s The Accidental Creative
Kimberly Wilson’s Tranquility du Jour

And if you missed them, here are a couple of my recent reflections:

On comparing ourselves to others
When people criticize my work

Sending love,


If you find yourself comparing yourself to others…

On the book tour, I’ve found that A LOT of women are struggling with comparing themselves to others. They keep asking me what to do about that.

Here is my take: comparing ourselves to others isn’t the problem. It’s an indication of the problem. It’s a consequence of the real problem, which is that we have turned away from our own path in some way.

When we’re comparing, it’s because we aren’t doing the things that pull us into an intoxicating romance with our own life. And therefore we have time, and room, to focus on what others are doing.

I usually find when I’m comparing one of two things are going on with me:

1. I’m not practicing my passions, the activities I love, love, love to do, the activities that give me juice and fill me up. I love to write. I love to dance. I love to create–creating a beautiful party or creating a course or creating a vision for the year ahead. Those things – writing, dancing, creating – are my highway to joy. Your list is surely different – maybe you love to paint or ride horses or organize details or write code.

When I’m not practicing my passions enough (and sometimes just a little of one is enough, sometimes more is needed), my life gets less alive. I’m not in my own romance with those loves. I’m not following the mystery of where they take me. I get cranky and bored. And then, and only then, I start looking outward to what others are doing and comparing myself unfavorably to them.

2. I also start comparing myself to others when I’m denying a calling - a project or endeavor that I feel a longing toward. I really want to do a particular project in my business but I’ve convinced myself I can’t yet for this or that reason. Or, I have a long-held dream that I’m refusing to accept is a real dream of mine. That kind of thing.

The beauty of this is that life has given all of us this cool warning system, this system of checks. If you find yourself often comparing yourself to others, it’s time to ask yourself, “What important activity that I love am I not doing enough of in my life?” and “What callings am I ignoring?”

Embrace your callings (find out how to identify them in this post), and pursue your passions, and then you are on your path. And it will be so damn intoxicating, joyful, and scary that you will become absorbed in it. You’ll have less time and energy and need to look outward, but when you do, you will experience everyone else’s accomplishments in a very different way – in a much lighter, not-loaded way.

That’s what I believe. We can’t stop comparing ourselves to others by trying to stop. That won’t be enough. We need something to turn our gaze toward. We need to answer the calls in our hearts. We need to bravely reclaim those long lost passions – even if we think we don’t have time for them or our inner critics talked us out of doing them long ago.

When I was writing about writing and dance and creativity just now, I got choked up, with tears of gratitude.

We each get granted a few passions, a few special practices that bring us joy and centeredness and that sense of home, and they are among the greatest blessings we receive in this lifetime. We all receive them – we just need to discover what ours are, or remember what they are, or trust the inklings about what they are, and then give ourselves the gift of doing them.

Life loved us enough to give us this gift, but we have to love ourselves enough to receive it.

And when we do, and feel that joy move through us, we glimpse how deeply Life loved us, to give us this.



Click to tweet: We can’t stop comparing ourselves to others by trying to stop. We can only fall in love with our own adventure more.

Want to go deeper with the topic of comparison? Check out this new program from Tanya Geisler and Lauren Bacon about it, Beyond Compare.

bookcover2 Last but not least, thank you so much for all the beautiful notes about your experiences reading the Playing Big book. I’m so glad it’s making such a difference for you! I want to share some pics of people reading it so feel free to share your pics on Facebook and tag me at Tara Mohr! And if you haven’t gotten your copy yet, get it HERE!

when people criticize my work

I recently had the most amazing experience with criticism.

But first, let me take you back to where I started from. I started out as a girl so damn afraid of criticism that the harsh words my English professors said during college (your short story just “doesn’t go anywhere”, your writing is “clunky”, and so on) were so wounding to me that I didn’t write for years after graduating. Years.

And then, over the past years, that changed. A first step was realizing that if I was going to write, I needed to write for myself–not for praise. A second step was getting used to people writing harsh comments about my work and realizing I was always going to get both praise and criticism. Thank you Huffington Post, for being a great bootcamp for getting used to that.

Another step was practicing, for years, the tool I now teach: interpreting feedback as telling me useful information about the person giving the feedback, not about myself.

It was not lost on me, of course, how ironic it was that I then was asked to write an essay about this topic for The New York Times. I had to deal with my own inner spaz about whether the world was going to praise my essay on unhooking from praise. Ha ha, universe, very funny.

What happened was just what I talked about in the article: all substantive work draws both positive and negative feedback. Lots of people loved the piece. I got tons of positive feedback. It was the #1 Most Emailed story of the week. And some people really didn’t like the essay. A few women journalists and bloggers wrote other articles, at popular sites, about what they felt was missing from it and wrong with it.

And here’s what was so amazing. I was honestly happy for those women. I really really was. I was happy for them because they were sharing what they felt had been unsaid about the issue, and they were actually  getting their voices out, and publishing, and I know so well how hard that is and how much courage it takes. I was also happy for them because they weren’t being bound by “nice-girl” norms that could have prevented them from vocally disagreeing, from writing a piece that was fundamentally a critique of another.

I felt like we were all sitting at a round table and I was sharing my point of view, and they theirs. I felt so free because as I wrote my essay, and afterward, I’d given myself permission to not address every possible objection, to not cover all my bases, so to speak. I didn’t ask myself to do that. I asked myself to stay firmly rooted in my subjective slice of the truth and share that. And our conversation as a collective is only whole if other people do the same. We live in a world of multiple truths, countless layers of the truth, different prisms on the truth. My job was not to say it all, it was to say my part.

As I felt my way through that strange experience of responding to the critical essays by having this new kind of “I’m so happy for you that you are getting your voice out there!” feeling, to my own surprise, the phrase that kept coming into my consciousness was “a kind of spiritual generosity.”

This was something I had never thought about before, that there is a spiritual generosity we can extend in welcoming, allowing other people’s criticism of our work, when that criticism is part of what it looks like for them to share their perspective. They would of course be “allowed” to do it no matter how I felt about it, but I believe somehow energetically it matters for them, and for me, that I welcome it and respect it.

Now, if that criticism had come in a conversation with me, maybe this would have been an entirely different experience for me, one that required different skills and different recovery, but in our virtual roundtable, so to speak, this was my experience.

And, at the same time, I protected my fragile artist-writer self. I skimmed their work – I didn’t dwell on it. I didn’t feel the need to form an opinion about it or to respond.

But I was, and am, genuinely happy that they were taking their seat at the table, and I mine.

How can you extend the spiritual generosity to others to more fully allow them their seat at the table – even if that entails criticism of your ideas?



Bay Area & Texas folks – please check out my upcoming events HERE! 

And get your copy of the Playing Big book HERE!

Good stuff + upcoming SF Bay Area events

Hi all!

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks getting the Playing Big book into the world. I’ll share some reflections on the book tour soon, but for today – some links and some announcements about upcoming events.

My recent visit to the Today Show with Hoda and Kathie Lee – video here.

An interview about the book on Maria Shriver’s NBC.com site

My in-depth interview with Tami Simon on my favorite podcast, Insights at the Edge

My video chat with Kate Northrup

And, I have a few public events in the Bay Area coming up in the next couple weeks – see below. I would love to see you there! (Texans – I will also be at the Texas Conference for Women in Austin in November!)


Book Signings in SF Area

East West Bookstore Lecture & Book Signing
Saturday Oct 25, 2014 7:30pm PT
324 Castro Street
Mountain View, CA 94041
Call to reserve tickets: 650-988-9800

Speak To Me Book Talk & Signing
Oct 28, 2014 6:30 pm PT
Mill Valley Community Center
Cascade Room, 180 Camino Alto
Mill Valley, CA 94941

Impact Guild presents Playing Big by Tara Mohr Book Talk & Signing
Sunday, Nov 2, 2014 from 3:30 – 5:30pm PT
University Club of Palo Alto
3277 Miranda Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94304



“Luminous, deep, and practical. I’ve asked every woman in my all-woman company to put Playing Big first on their reading list. We want to make a difference in the world, we want to live full-on, and we know that our passion is powerful. We need this! 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

I see so many women getting stuck because of this.

I see so many women getting stuck because of this: they are turning to their friends and family for feedback – on their ideas, their projects, their burgeoning dreams.

It’s natural. We’re thinking about something – a potential career change, a business idea, something we’d love to create. And next, some little voice in us wants to know: Is it a good idea? Am I crazy?

So we venture out – and we talk to the people closest to us – our friends and family – about whatever we are thinking about. That part inside of us that wants the bolstering, the affirmation, says, “So what do you think?”

And then it’s tough, because 1) a lot of the time they don’t get it, don’t like it, don’t think the idea is a good idea or 2) even if they do like it, have you noticed how their validation doesn’t really set you free to start taking action, it just makes you want to go get more emotional validation from others?

Here’s what I recommend. Do not go to your family and friends for feedback on whatever new idea/project/career move you are considering. What we get from friends and family is just too layered – full of their love for us, their desire for us to be safe, their own experiences, their own fears. (Are there exceptions to this? Yes, of course! But most of the time, making this shift does help us start moving forward towards our dreams more.)

Let dear friends and family play that incredibly powerful role that family and friends can play – in loving you, in cheering you on, in being there to commiserate with you when it is tough, to laugh about the crazy moments along the way. Go to friends and family for support – not for feedback.

For feedback – on whether the career move is viable, whether the potential business has a market, whether that title for your book is as compelling as you think it is – all that kind of stuff – go to the people you want to influence and reach with your work. If the book is for young adult women, ask a few of them what they think of the title! If the potential business would serve busy working families, get their feedback on the concept. Ask recruiters or hiring mangers in your desired field about how the career move you want to make could work.

Get feedback from the people you want to influence and serve – only they have the perspective to be able to give you accurate information on the feasibility of your idea.

This means, yes, you may have to the sometimes difficult thing of asking explicitly for what you want from family and friends, for example – “I’m super excited about this new business idea! I’m going to test it out with potential customers, but what I really would so appreciate is some cheerleading along the way here – I’ve never done something like this before and I’m kinda scared!”

This can be a little hard to do at first, but it is so good to get in the habit of having that conversation with friends, spouses and family members – to tell each other what you are looking for when you bring a topic with them. It’s good for you to get in the habit of asking them too “What are you looking for from me right now – advice, my personal opinion, or cheering you on/ emotional support?”

Got it? Go to family and friends for support. For feedback, go to the people you want to influence and serve through your work.

We talk about this and much more about feedback – how important it is, how not to get “hooked” by it, and how to get the right kind of feedback to further your dreams – in the Playing Big book!

I so want for you to experience the comprehensive journey to Playing Big that is in the book, so I hope you will join me in getting your copy today.

And if you’d like to spread the word about the book, I’d so appreciate it! Tweets, FB shares, pinnable images, and more goodies to make that easy for you are all HERE.

Love to you,


“At last. At last this very important book has been written, encouraging women to take up all the creative space they deserve in the world. I hope it will empower legions of women to step into their greatness. I couldn’t be happier about this publication.” - Elizabeth Gilbert, author of The Signature of All Things and Eat, Pray, Love.