Tara Sophia Mohr | Playing Big

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

Bringing Curiosity to Fear

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


Last week we started to exercise our curiosity muscles.

This week, we are going to apply curiosity to fear.

In the Playing Big course, we discuss more than a dozen different tools we can use to move out of fear. But this is one of my personal favorites.

Fear and curiosity can’t coexist. We simply can’t feel both at the same time.

When we say we are both curious and afraid about something – a new job, for example – what we are really saying is we alternate between moments of feeling curious and moments of feeling afraid. In any given moment, our physiology can only be in one mode – fear or curiosity.

This means that when we move into a state of curiosity, we automatically move out of a state of fear. And since fear is uncomfortable, and tends to lead us away from sound thinking and positive, loving action – it’s a very good idea to move out of fear.

So here’s the practice for this week: When you are feeling afraid about something, ask yourself, “What about this situation can I get curious about?”

Because fear often comes up in situations of uncertainty, there is often an unknown outcome around the thing we’re feeling afraid about.

Can you get curious about what that outcome will be? Wondering, fascinated?

Can you get interested in what this situation will reveal to you about life, about yourself, about the nature of things?

Let me know how it goes. Join our private Weekly Practice Facebook group to share your experience and read others’ accounts. I’ll see you over there!

And, don’t forget – registration for the 2017 Playing Big Program is now open! Read about the impact the course has had on participants and learn about program details here. Registration closes on Thursday, May 11th – we’d love to have you join us!




Can You Picture It?

Sometimes women find it hard to envision how an experience like the Playing Big course actually happens, day to day – especially if you haven’t been part of an online course before. So today, I’d like to share how the course works.

I designed the Playing Big program with these guiding principles in mind:


When I was taking major steps toward my own playing bigger, it really helped me to be connected to other women who were also on that path – of discovering or following their callings, of speaking up more. I realized that, dear as my friends and family were to me, I needed a slightly different community than what I already had. I designed playing big as a group program because I see again and again that women start playing bigger with the greatest ease, speed and momentum when they are connected to other women on parallel journeys.


Practical & Experiential

This program is practical and the curriculum keeps you regularly applying the new concepts and tools. I designed this as a longer experience so that you’d have time to implement what you learn. For example, you won’t just learn information about how you can communicate more powerfully. You’ll get structured guidance from me for day-to-day practices for developing new communication habits over the week that we are diving into that topic. That’s how change really happens – supported, repeated, small but meaningful actions.



Playing Big is flexible so you can fit it into your busy schedule, whether that means listening on a commute or doing a quick practice while waiting in the school parking lot. Though there is a logical order to the modules, if you need to skip a module during a busy time, you can absolutely jump in with us in the next module and return to what you missed much later when you have time.

Only the most powerful and effective tools

I’ve spent so much time working with women around their playing bigger. Over the years, I’ve seen what doesn’t really work, what only works for some women, or what usually gets so-so results. Everything in the Playing Big program is there because it consistently brings about remarkable results for diverse women. You are getting the most powerful and effective material only.

With that context, here are the nuts and bolts of how the program works:

   •  We have a lovely course website for participants only and an online discussion forum for sharing successes, learnings, and fostering connection.

   •  Every week, we start a new module on a rich topic like “Discovering Your Inner Mentor,” “Unhooking from Praise and Criticism” or “Getting Wise About Fear.”

   •  Each week, we have a 90-minute session together with teaching from me, Q&A, and exercises that get you living the learning right away. You can attend our video calls LIVE, or you can watch or listen to a recording.

   •  Participate in our sessions via phone, tablet or computer from anywhere.

   •  In addition to the calls, you’ll get video/audio lessons, readings, worksheets, inspiration artwork, and more.

I love what program graduate Jodi had to say about how it all fits together…

jodi“This Playing Big thing is amazing! … and unsettling, too. Here’s the thing, I listen to the calls, do the handouts, and listen to the recordings (many times!) — I think I’m getting it, I feel like I’m getting it. So I go about my day. And then I have a moment in my day when I *know* I’m getting it. And I realize that I am that girl that I have been trying to be. I am leaning into the better part of myself. O. M. G.” ~ Jodi Riddick, Playing Big Alumna

Registration is open now through next Thursday (May 11th)! You can get all the details and sign up here.




Your Baby Body


I am lying in bed with my baby. She’s just woken up and finished eating. This is the time of day when she is most bright-eyed – everything about her is awake, clear, ready to play.

I coo, she coos.
I say “aaaaaah” and she says it back.
I smile and she smiles. I laugh and she laughs.

As I stare into her eyes and look at her, I wonder what it’s like for her to look at me. Of course, I’ve read the child development books that tell me now her vision is 20/40, that she can see subtle contrasts in color, that she can see me when I am farther away. But what is it like for her – what is she experiencing – at a time before words, before conscious concepts, before beliefs?

As I look at her, the phrase “baby body” occurs to me. She is a baby body moving through the world, soft and small and sensing – all feeling.

When I coo in a spirit of delight, her whole body feels it and is lit up with that delight. When I talk to my husband in an even slightly stressed tone of voice, her baby body feels it and she immediately begins to cry. If I read a great novel on my phone while she’s falling asleep nearby, no problem. But if I check my email, her baby body feels it and she comes right out of her hazy doze.

She experiences life not just in this baby body, but through this baby body – sounds and images and the very quality of the space she’s in, shaping what she feels.

And at that moment something says in my head: Tara, inside of you, there is also a baby body. My own baby body is still there, like a Russian doll nested inside the bigger, tougher, worldlier bodies that have been layered around it over a lifetime.

That baby body is still inside of me, sensing her way through the world, absorbing a trillion pieces of data – sounds and images and facial expressions and the feeling in the space – that make my body-mind-heart system tense up or relax, open or close, stay or flee.

Yes, now, at almost 40, I have some tools that help me work with what my baby body senses.

But that is not what is interesting to me today. What is interesting is that the baby body is still alive within me and within you, always sensing, reading the cues, feeling her way through what is safe and what is not, and responding.

How many times have we neglected to return to the places, the conversations, the activities that make our baby bodies joyful, or relaxed, or at ease?

How many times have we pressured ourselves to return to the places, the conversations, the activities that make our baby body contract, constrict, sadden?

Our baby bodies deserve respect.

I don’t just want to remember my baby body.

I want to remember that inside of everyone else is also a baby body, as sensitive and ever-sensing as my baby’s own.

I want to be the kind of person that other people’s baby bodies relax around. I want to meet them as tenderly as I would a little one who just came here.

After all, we are all little ones who just came here.


P.S. Registration for the 2017 Playing Big Program is now open! Read about the impact the course has had on participants and learn about program details here. Registration closes on Thursday, May 11th – we’d love to have you join us!


Playing Big – What You’ll Learn

Good morning!

Today, I’m excited to share some of what you’ll learn in the Playing Big course, and what will be different in your life and work as a result.

If you aren’t yet familiar with the Playing Big model, you’ll be introduced to a whole new world of concepts and tools for your daily life.

If you’re already familiar with the Playing Big concepts through the book, the course will enable you to more powerfully apply them to your life, put your playing big center stage, and get support from me and our community.

You’ll get:

   • in-depth material on each of the major topics
   • live coaching, discussion, Q&A sessions with me on every topic
   • new material and my latest thinking on the topics, not shared anywhere else
   • support, learning and camaraderie from our global community of participants
   • worksheets and exercises to help you apply the tools in very practical ways
   • fun ways to keep your playing big front and center when life gets busy, from inspirational art downloads to daily reminders to keep you on track

Let me take you through an overview of the course modules …


Just imagine for a moment – really imagine – what you’d be doing if that voice of “I’m not ready yet,” or “I need to get a PhD in that topic before I can do that,” or “I don’t really know what I’m talking about here,” wasn’t present anymore? Through our work together, you’ll understand how the inner critic skillfully functions in your life (whether in the domains of career, body image, parenting, romantic relationships, finances, or your creative life). You’ll learn what to do in the moment when self-doubt arises, to ensure that it doesn’t hold you back.


After doing the Inner Mentor work, you’ll have an inspiring vision for where you are headed. Whenever you are feeling confused, stuck, or overwhelmed, you’ll be able to access a calm, wise voice within you that has a very different perspective on the tough situations you are facing, and that can show you the way forward. I’ve witnessed this happen for thousands of women, and it can absolutely also happen for you. We also cover the latest research on women and mentoring, who you should seek out as a mentor, and the ways in which effective mentoring relationships for women are dramatically different from what the typical advice says.


After this module, you’ll be a lot less dependent on praise, and a lot more comfortable with criticism and potential criticism. This frees us to speak up, share our ideas, be controversial when it’s needed, and in doing all that, make positive change. You’ll also come away with a new and liberating approach to giving and receiving feedback.


This is one of my favorite topics to teach about, because we have so many misunderstandings around our callings. And yet with some simple ideas and tools, women can start experiencing the huge joy and fulfillment that our callings bring. If you aren’t sure what your callings are, this module will give you a very specific way to figure that out, with coaching from me to help if you get stuck. If you already know what your current callings are, you’ll learn tools to fulfill them in even more satisfying and bold ways.


In my work with women, I started to see some very clear patterns in the ways brilliant women hide and stall on playing bigger. These hiding strategies aren’t obvious. They often look, from a distance, like really great career moves. In this module, you’ll discover the unconscious ways you are hiding and start stepping forward instead.


Most women I know hold some false assumptions like these: that the more they prepare for something important, the better that something will go. That the more polished their work is, the more favorably it will be received. These assumptions are misleading (if not entirely wrong), and stem from how women and girls are conditioned to act in ways that don’t serve us. In this module, we’ll take a rigorous look at our default good-girl, good-student ways of working and discover a bolder, quicker, more experimental way of working called leaping. Leaping gets us playing bigger right away.


Do you dread negotiation conversations, feel like you aren’t a great negotiator, or simply know you could be a much better one? In this module, I share a powerful framework that can help you love negotiations and difficult conversations. (It really is possible.) A negotiation isn’t only the once a year conversation over your salary, or client rates. In playing big, we explore negotiations as any conversation in which the parties have differing goals and interests. Negotiation is a skill we all need for our careers – and lives – every day. In Playing Big, you’ll learn and practice a positive, collaborative, step-by-step framework for negotiations, with support from me and from our guest expert on women & negotiation.


You’ll learn how you can come across as more competent, compelling and confident in your written and spoken communications. You’ll also learn about important new research on gender and communication in the workplace, and what it means for you. We cover what speech and writing habits to let go of, and what new language you can use instead. I’ll also support you in a day-by-day habit change process, so that your communication is truly more powerful by the time this module comes to a close.


I’m the mother of young children and am also involved in caring for my parents. The past few years have been a deep dive for me into the dance of pursuing my aspirations, while at the same time, showing up in the ways I want to for those I love. In this module, we’ll look closely (and realistically!) at how you can weave together caregiving and playing big.


We’ve all been there: we tried to accomplish something simply out of willpower and self-discipline, failed to do so, and then ended up disappointed in ourselves. This module is about alternatives to self-discipline. I’ll take you through setting up a “success architecture” of supports and routines that allows you to achieve any goal in a sustainable, kind-to-yourself-way.

This is a snapshot of our course modules (you can review the full curriculum HERE), but I hope this gives you a sense of some of the ways your work and life will be different after Playing Big.

If you’re ready to play bigger, we would love to have you join us!





Get Curious


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

Many years back, during my coaching training, one of our teachers gave our class an unusual assignment.

“I want you to open up the cabinet below your kitchen sink,” he said, “and spend 15 minutes looking at what’s there. No distractions. Your job is to bring as much curiosity to those 15 minutes as you can.”

The following week people came back with their reports from the exercise, and they were fascinating.

Some people’s curiosity had led them to all kinds of questions about the plumbing. How did it work? What was the whole system that the pipe they could see was connected to?

For others, the questions were about the people. Who had made the cabinet? Who had fastened the pipes together? What were their lives like?

And for others, their curiosity led them to the water. What path did it travel to get to them? Where did it originate from and where did it end up after going down the drain?

Everyone found a tremendous amount to get interested in, focusing on this seemingly mundane thing – because they brought curiosity to the fore.

For us as coaches-in-training, the point of this exercise was to strengthen our curiosity muscle, because as a coach, you’ve got to bring intense curiosity – rather than your own assumptions and stories – to your client conversations.

For me, the exercise was incredibly energizing. I was traveling at the time, staying in an old hotel in rural Italy. That may sound fabulous, but I was struggling. I’m an extrovert, and I like structure and people to talk to and stuff to do, and I didn’t have much of any of those things there. I was feeling isolated, out of my flow, and restless.

I started to bring curiosity to the fore. I suddenly had so many questions about the place we were staying: Who created it? Why? What was its history? Who else was staying here? What were they all about? The questions gave me a huge surge of energy. I started to talk to the people around me about them. It felt like finding my own path, my inner life again. Through curiosity, I had found my path of pursuing and discovering for the trip.

In the personal growth world, we talk so much about energetic states like joy, peace, acceptance. We also talk a lot about more challenging ones – like guilt, shame, pain, resistance, and suffering. Curiosity absolutely gets short shrift. It’s essential.

For this week, our practice is to start to do a mini-version of the exercise that my teacher gave me. Pick a mundane object in your house and spend 5 minutes sitting in curiosity about it. See what happens.

And then as you move through the week, keep asking yourself – what if I can be curious in this moment?

A few examples:

What if instead of being annoyed about this traffic I can be curious about what’s causing it, or about what comes up for me sitting stuck in it? What if I could just get super curious about everything I can notice about the car next to me and the people in it?

What if instead of being afraid of writing this important email I can get curious about the whole process – curious about what I really want to say, curious about the emotions it raises in me, curious about how things will unfold once I press send?

What if instead of rushing my child through the morning or being frustrated with them I can get incredibly curious: What is happening for them in the morning? What is happening for me? What might work better? What are they really saying to me?

Let curiosity lead.

I look forward to hearing your reports back! Join our private 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!



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