Tara Sophia Mohr | Playing Big

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

Join Me At Emerging Women Live This Fall


Good morning!

I’m thrilled to share that I’ll be speaking at the Emerging Women conference this year, October 13-16 in San Francisco, California.

If you’ve been a subscriber here for a while, you’ve heard me share that this is one of my favorite events of the year, period. I fly my whole team out. I buy tickets for friends. I buy tickets for students who want to be there, but can’t purchase a spot.

It’s so special. The speakers are always world-class, the depth of the content is tremendous, and the experience is beautifully designed. The focus? Women’s leadership. Women’s empowerment. Women changing the world.

This year the line-up will include: Marianne Williamson, Janet Mock, Anne Lamott, Glennon Doyle Melton, and many other inspiring women. I’m honored to be speaking and teaching a workshop as well.

I speak at many conferences each year where the attendees sit in their seats all day, listening to one speaker after the next after the next, saying and doing nothing, and maybe connecting with no one new. It’s a totally passive sit-in-your-seat experience for the attendees, and that’s it.

This isn’t that conference.

At Emerging Women Live 2016, you will hear speakers but also engage in experiential workshops. You will hear incredible music and see stunning art that enables you to integrate, heart and soul, what you are hearing and learning. You’ll connect with others. You will laugh, cry, eat delicious food, and you will even get to dance – if you so choose!

I honestly wish the team behind this conference could consult to every other women’s event on the planet. They know how to create an incredible experience.

Emerging Women has extended a special discount to my list which gives you a great additional $300 savings on the ticket price. To learn more and get your spot, visit here.

To get your discount:

  1. Choose the “Early Bird” ticket if it’s before June 30th (that will get you an additional discount)
  2. Click on “Enter Promotional Code” below the ticket options
  3. Enter the discount code TaraMohr2016
  4. Click “Apply” and then follow the steps to complete your registration

Hope to see you there!



on responding to criticism

Good morning,

I welled up with tears earlier this week, as I read Brené Brown’s recent essay, “My response to Adam Grant’s New York Times Op/ED: Unless You’re Oprah, ‘Be Yourself’ Is Terrible Advice.”

I can honestly say I think I’m forever changed by it. And I believe so many of us can be helped by it.

Here’s why:

For years as I have worked with brilliant women, I have heard from them how their fears of criticism, of being told they are naive or don’t know what they are talking about, have kept them from saying the very important, culture-challenging things they have to say. I have related to these fears entirely. When I sit down to write, or get ready to speak, or want to stretch into addressing a new subject or a controversial matter in my work, I get gripped by those fears, too.

It’s no mystery why so many women have these fears. Most of us had early experiences in which we were told our ideals were naive, our ideas were silly. Many women still get told this in one way or another. And, as I’ve written about before, for the past few millenia, it wasn’t safe for women to do or say things that drew criticism. We didn’t have legal, financial, political, or other means to protect our safety if we challenged the status quo. Likability, social influence, doing what was approved of? These were primary survival strategies for us.

No wonder many of us still feel – at an instinctual level – like criticism could be life-threatening, unsafe, something we couldn’t recover from or fight back against. For most of our history, that was our reality.

For years now a central part of my work has been looking at this legacy of our relationship to criticism, and doing the inner work with women to help us become more comfortable with it.

This week in her essay, Brené Brown showed me something I’ll never forget: what it looks like for a woman to put forth an unapologetic, direct response to criticism of ideas that she believes in. To argue back the points she wanted to argue. To point out what had been, in her eyes, misconstrued and omitted. To do it so intelligently, and insightfully. To do it immediately, not after weeks of hemming and hawing or of consulting with dozens of people to get their approval on her next move. Instead, she published her response the very same day the other piece was written. That requires a kind of self-trust and comfort with improvisation and imperfection.

I thought about why I was stunned and electrified and move to tears reading her essay. I realized that in my very old, seeded-in-childhood fears of being publicly criticized around my ideas, I fail to remember that after the criticism there could still be a next moment, a next day, and next week. A time in which I can respond. I think the very idea of responding requires a sense of one’s power and agency that my inner little girl self doesn’t have when she thinks of moments of being criticized, ostracized or ridiculed for what she has to say.

The other thing that struck me was how smart and articulate Brené’s response was. It made so many wise points. I realized how I don’t remember that even after an experience of criticism, my intelligence and gifts will still be there to allow me to express what I want to say next. I picture a crumbling, retreating, weepy woman being there afterwards, but what if there could be a still smart, still able, even more full of conviction woman there instead? That’s what I felt in this essay.

And at the simplest level, Brené Brown has given me a strategy I’ll add to my menu of options of what to do when criticism or critique comes. Create a kickass response. Written, or spoken, or enacted.

Thanks, Brené. You can check out her post here.

And a few other fun updates from my life and work:

You can find some recent podcast episodes with the Insatiable podcast, here, and with Summer Innanen, here. Both look at Playing Big ideas in the context of body image, food and health issues.

The Chinese edition of Playing Big is out! Woo hoo!

And big thanks to Yelp for hosting a great Fireside Chat about Playing Big for women in technology.



three pieces of advice to writers (and to anyone creating anything)

Good morning!

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written here. My team and I have been busy getting the new Playing Big course started. I’ve missed writing to all of you!

“What advice would you give to a budding author?”

I was recently asked this question in an interview with Vicki Psarias from the site Honest Mum. I loved reflecting on it, and I think the ideas I shared are relevant to all of us creating anything. Here are my three pieces of advice:

1. Remember that feedback never tells you ANYTHING about your abilities.

It only gives you information about the people giving the feedback – about their preferences, priorities and sensibilities. You can take feedback seriously, but not as a verdict on your talent, only as insight into how key people in your field think about the work at hand, and what they are looking for. It’s not personal, it’s not moral. It’s emotionally neutral information about your stakeholders – that’s it.

2. Ultimately, there is no one whom your book (or other creative endeavor) will matter to more than you.

There’s a paradox here because of course we often create to serve a particular population we care about, to make a difference for a certain group in need. We want our work to matter to them, and our work will only be successful – in external terms – if it does truly serve an audience.

All that’s true. But it’s also true that at a deeper level than that, we create what we create because of our soul’s questions, our dilemmas, the topics we are mysteriously drawn to in our hearts. Exploring those questions through the creative process will matter more to the artist’s personal development than the work will ever matter to anyone in her audience.

The creative process is designed to evolve the creator. That is what it is for.

As a fabulous secondary benefit, when it does that, it also sometimes enriches the world.

Because that’s the case, there is nothing more important in writing than being endlessly honest with yourself, true to your questions, at your own edges, faithful to your own muse. Because in the end, honey, no matter who it reaches, your creative work is for the evolution of your soul.

And all the struggles that happen along the way in the creative process – the difficult conversations with a vendor or customer or publisher, the crises of confidence, the creative blocks, the conflicts with other people involved, the logistical or technical or financial problems?

Those are not distractions from the “real” work, as they can seem to be. They are a big part of the real work, because the real work is the development of you. Those messy situations are the perfectly designed lessons for you to find your voice, speak your truth, set a boundary, let go of a defense, act differently – whatever is called for in your personal development.

We have our aspirations about the difference we’d like our work to make to others. That’s a hope, a possibility, a mission. But I know for sure that how you show up as you do your creative process, what you do, how you change? That for sure impacts the world as you do it. So pay attention to that part, too.

3.Great creations come from the combination of two opposite things:

1) practicing your craft, daily or close to daily and
2) stepping away from your craft and living your life.

This is such a dynamic combination. We need the consistent writing (or time doing our craft, whatever it is) to practice, to get nimble with our medium, and to create enough that we become less attached to any one thing we produce – able to discard, cut, and edit freely.

Yet what we do as we practice is only part of the equation. The emotion, insight and truth-telling that makes creative work come alive is born of what happens in our lives – the difficult conversation we choose to have, that emotional risk we take with a loved one, the piece of art we truly savored and took in from another artist, and perhaps most of all, the times we slowed down, for fifteen minutes or an hour, to stroll or daydream or sit in the bath, allowing our original thinking on a topic to come to us.

We have to live conscious lives to have material to write about, and we have to practice our craft regularly to be able to express that material well.

So that’s my three:
1. Remember that feedback doesn’t tell you about your talent or anything else about you. It tells you about the people giving the feedback.
2. Remember that ultimately your creative work will matter most to you, so create with honesty and fidelity to your own callings and your own questions.
3. Practice your craft daily, or close to it, and step away from your craft and live your life.

And, you can read the rest of my interview with Vicki of Honest Mum here.

Love to you,


Last Day to Register!

Pooja's Quote - PB Course

Good morning!

Today is the very last day to register for this year’s Playing Big course.

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

Here are the guiding principles I had in mind when I designed the format of the program:

Community.  When I was taking major steps toward my own playing bigger, being connected to other women who were also on that path – discovering or following their callings, speaking up more – really helped me. 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 two-week period that we are diving into that topic. That’s how change really happens – supported, repeated, small but meaningful actions.

Flexible.  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.

Registration closes tonight at midnight! To learn all about the details and join us, visit here.

If you aren’t sure if Playing Big is the right fit for you, feel free to contact us at playingbig (at) taramohr (dot) com. Our team is great at helping people discern if the course is a good fit for their current needs and goals.

Learn more and sign up HERE.

With love,


Should I stay or should I go?

There’s something I discovered early on, doing this work supporting women to play big. Frankly, at first, this discovery really surprised me.

It was this: we often leave powerful and prestigious institutions and roles as a part of our playing bigger.

When a woman honestly defines what playing big means to her and has the tools to go for that, not infrequently, one of her next steps is leaving a prestigious role or institution for a more authentic expression of herself and her values.

I didn’t expect this, and a part of me didn’t like it. I didn’t like it because I want to see brilliant, ethical, conscientious women filling the ranks of leadership in our most powerful institutions – so that those women can transform the institutions and wake them up. We’ve got to be in the building to do that.

Or do we?

For some women playing big is going for the bigger role or title or responsibility within her field – because that’s the way to get done what she wants to get done. But for other women, playing big is shedding the shoulds that have kept them somewhere very acceptable, but that isn’t where they most want to be. They leave seeking more autonomy, creativity, meaning, flexibility, or passion for their work. And they often leave with frustration and grief.

This is something I think we need to be talking about more. I don’t have the answer, but I know we are looking for a both/and solution:

How do we support an individual woman in having the career and life she desires, and at the same time infuse our troubled institutions with wise leadership – and diverse leadership – so that they become better for people and the planet?

This is a question we explore in Playing Big – through our journeys and the tools. Let’s talk about it together here, too. I would love to hear: how has this “should I stay or should I go?” question showed up in your journey? What has been true for you about the change you could and couldn’t make inside of large, established, or powerful institutions? And what about outside of them?

Last but not least, registration for my Playing Big course closes in just a couple days – Thursday, April 28th at midnight. A remarkable group of women from all around the world is coming together for this special experience. Stay and go…with us. Learn all about it and get your spot HERE.

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