When I showed up at my first workshop to get trained as a coach, I was a dried up soul.


I had just come out of two years of business school, followed by a few years doing work that wasn’t what I really longed to do. A quiet voice inside had grown less quiet, reminding me about the creative, entrepreneurial career I really wanted. That voice had said, “Tara, just go get that coaching training. No matter what you do with it or don’t do with it, it will be good for your soul.”

It was. The very first workshop I took was led by two veteran women coaches. It had been a long time since I’d seen anything like the passion they had for their lives and work, or since I’d heard people talk about crafting their lives so intentionally.

In that coaching workshop, I learned to ask new question about my life. Questions like:

What do I really want?
What are my big dreams?
What would bring me joy?
What decision or choice feels most “resonant”?

It was liberating to ask these new questions. It was exhilerating to realize one could create one’s life around the answers.

And yet…there’s a shadow side to getting stuck in these questions.

I’ve begun to notice something I call the resonance trap. It shows up particularly among women who have done or are doing a lot of personal growth work. The resonance trap is thinking that what we do in our careers or in our creative lives always has to feel resonant. That it has to feel right, good. That it has to feel current.

This so gets in our way.

When I met Kim, she had just finished writing and recording an album of music. But, she told me, the songs just weren’t feeling resonant for her anymore…a new (yet unwritten) music project on the theme of motherhood was. She was so excited about this, she told me, and just couldn’t wait to dive into this project. The other album was about to get left behind. It no longer “felt right.”

Now, perhaps the traditional “coach” approach would be to encourage Kim to follow this burgeoning passion. But I was skeptical. Why? Kim had this sudden switch in interests just as she was coming to the point of getting her album out into the world. This is usually exactly when brilliant women sabotage themselves with the resonance trap: when things are starting to succeed, when they’ve finished the most difficult part of a project, or when their work is ready for greater scale and reach.

We get scared of the visibility. We get scared of success.

We have trouble reaping what we’ve sown. This is important: brilliant women like to sow, and sow, and sow, and then go find a new field to sow in…without ever reaping what we’ve sown. I know hundreds of women who have done it and I’ve done it a million times myself. We have trouble receiving the return on our investment, leveraging our work.

It drives me crazy, both because I want you to get to live the success you dream of, and because our world needs brilliant women’s ideas, creations, innovations, businesses, books, art, organizations AT SCALE.

So please stick with it long enough to scale yours, my dear.

A part of us that is comfortable playing small wants to reinvent the wheel again so that we never actually have to step into success. Fear blocks our passion for whatever we are up to, and a fantasy of a new pursuit takes hold.

If you recognize yourself here, I invite you to make moment-to-moment resonance a low priority for a while, just as an experiment.

Commit to being a fabulous steward of the time and energy you’ve already invested, the direction you’ve already chosen to pursue.

Make the most of that, rather than beginning again. Stick with it even though you feel resistance.

That’s what Kim did. She dug back in, fear and resistance and icky I-want-to-run-the-other direction feelings and all, and she finished the album she’d invested in. And you know what? Once she walked through the fear, she had a blast sharing it in the world, performing concerts, meeting her listeners, and stepping into the new identity of being a successful musician – not a musician dreaming of a hoped-for success.

Work through the fear rather than chasing the fantasy. Get to know the part of yourself that is not the creator of something new, but the excellent manager and amplifier and optimizer of what you’ve already created.

In other words, yes, stick with it. See it through.

Love you,



photo credit: John Price

Join the discussion 49 Comments

  • valerie says:

    Love this, Tara. Even amidst working toward the most inspiring dreams, I think we can sometimes forget that the hard work we know is required to get there can at times feel like uninspired drudgery. Then we might convince ourselves it must not be right. A great message on follow-through.

  • This was so well-timed, Tara – Thank you! After launching a successful Leadership Coaching Practice, my husband and I decided to take a year-long “service Sabbatical” and move to the Middle East where we’ve been volunteering as teachers in local schools. I’ve found myself feeling frustrated at times when my resonance is off in an area that I intentionally CHOSE, on top of working most nights to maintain my coaching clientele. Your post shed a new light on these feelings and is a good reminder to keep going and scaling what’s ahead.

  • Glenyse says:

    I see myself all over this article. I’m am so ready to give up on my “fledgling, and slightly failing” jewelry business, and blob, but mostly because I’m not seeing all the rewards yet. I keep at it, step back. With each step back, life interrupts. I needed this eye opening article today. Thank you for inspiring not to change paths and thank you Tara for writing it.

  • Oh, Tara, did I need this! The last six months has been a whirlwind. The book is published and getting great reviews. The website is up and running and more are subscribing every day. I am right at that place of reaping the rewards (two times through Playing Big did its job with me!) and now I want to run. I want to give it all up and go in a totally different direction or no direction at all. I’m printing this post of yours out and re-reading it often. I want to enjoy this period of reaping the rewards. I DO want to see where it leads. Thank you, Dear One, for the reminder.

  • ruth says:

    YEY Tara! This is such a well needed shake up posting
    Thank you. So often I/we self sabotage and let fear get in the way of what had lead and called me/us in the first place.
    Great to hear you. Hope all is growthful your end and you are enjoying the blessings of mama hood?
    With love

  • Rosi says:

    Tara, I love you!!! Thanks you so much for sharing your wisdom that resonates so powerfuly in me.
    May the lord of creativity keeps you well and sharing your insights and your experiences with your followers.
    How is the baby?

  • This is beautiful, Tara — thank you! It’s a great reminder that our Inner Guidance is always pulling us towards a greater expression of ourselves and more potent impact. It’s always inviting us to step into creator-of-beauty mode…a new identity. And, of course, that’s uncomfortable. So, we resist and tell ourselves silly stories like, “That amazing idea of mine just doesn’t resonate anymore.” Thanks for the reality check this morning!! 🙂

  • Fiona says:

    Yes, this resonates 😉 I sometimes think I spend too on the q ‘does it feel good’. I think it’s always good to pay attention to that but there’s something cool about allowing yourself to ride the tide of a project vs. getting stuck in the choppy changeability of the surface waves.

  • Tara, I soooo needed to hear this today – just as I am about to start writing and putting my new! better energy into my next book (and next) without putting some energy into properly realising (o scale) what I have already done and published…

    much love SuzetteX

  • Christy says:

    Sweet! I have often struggled with the resonance trap. As a creative entrepreneur, it’s easy and exciting to start new projects, and it can be difficult to stay with them when the going gets tough. This is a great reminder of the joy and value of seeing things through, even when our monkey minds start chattering about ‘jumping ship’, imagining riper bananas on the other shore.

  • SO wise. Thank you, Tara!!

  • Margaret says:

    You are a gift! Thank you!



  • Anna says:

    Thank you SO much, Tara! I am really grateful for your wisdom and for sharing it. I’ve been struggling with this not-resonating-anymore issue for years, having plenty of projects half-baked…

  • Maura says:

    thank you, tara
    a chronic sower
    with not enough reaping
    and timely
    because this summer i have a personal project
    and a space for a garden (in the city!)
    both sowed
    now to invest in enjoying and owning the work.

  • Mom on Hayward Fault says:

    I have always thought that people who quit doing what they were doing because it didn’t “resonate” any more were able to quit in part because they didn’t really need to earn a living. I’ve always thought it seemed a little precious and entitled. There’s so much of life that is about hard work, pushing through, getting it done.

  • Vanessa says:

    I have felt this exact same thing time and time in my life and never had a word for it. I’ve felt it recently and was preparing to look for a new direction to take even though I am finding success little by little. I’m so glad you wrote this and I read it! I’m printing it out to revisit whenever that feeling comes over me because you’re right, it’s the fear of success. I told myself I was lazy or just had a short attention span but I have been working over getting over a fear of success and this has blown open my awareness to finally connect the feeling with the behaviour. Knowledge is power. Thank you!

  • Deb says:

    Thank you for this reminder. I am putting the finishing touches on my seminar and about to bring it out into the world and all I can think about is running the other way. I know someone out there needs this info I have so I keep pushing through. At least now I know WHY I’m feeling this way!

  • Martina says:

    Thank you Tara. So little is written about business ‘in process’ versus what is written about starting a business – it is refreshing to read something helpful, that can be applied to the struggles we encounter when we are ‘in’ business. Excellent point about ‘never reaping’- most women are never really taught to be ‘closers’, and this can make a huge difference to our bottom line. Inspiration is easy – transformation is hard. Most of us want to run at that point – I very much appreciate these wise words.


  • Linda Burke says:

    This is exactly what I needed to hear. I have been procrastinating on completing my first book and getting it to the publisher, and now I see why! I am getting back on track and completing my work this week. Much love…

  • Charlotte says:

    Love this post – seems you have described a sneaky success shadow! Thanks 😉

  • chantal says:

    Thank you for this great reminder Tara!! So often we’re told to follow our bliss, that we think it means jumping ship when things get hard or uncomfortable. It takes time and perseverance to see the fruits of our work sometimes, and it’s worth seeing things through! Thanks for writing this great article.

  • Tara, this post could not have come at a better time for me.

    “Commit to being a fabulous steward of the time and energy you’ve already invested, the direction you’ve already chosen to pursue”

    That is the intention I will hold with me in the coming months. Thank you.

  • santalynda says:

    Spot on and timely regardless of what season in life on the journey.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Kirstin Hara says:

    Words from the heart straight to my heart! I think I will read this every time I feel like dropping the ball to go pick up another. See it through… yes, I will.

  • Lynne Lew says:

    Absolutely perfect timing and words. Thank you. I have done some of the hard work and now need to get more proficient at it but have felt stalled this past month. Now I will continue, renewed.

  • Sarah says:

    I’m busted…! I always thought of myself to be the set-up girl. I’m the one who comes up with the great idea, operationalizes it, gets all the pieces in place, launches it then hands it off. Sometimes it’s because life has gotten in the way and I’ve moved, or I’ve gotten laid-off and lost the support to continue. But I’ve always been aware and quite sensitive to the fact that I’ve brought my project to 90% then walked away often to see someone else reap the rewards! AGGH!

  • Thank you for this post, Tara! I hate to say it–but I resonate with it! Ha Ha.

    I know for myself my pattern is to work really hard at something for about a year–and then see the first bloom, and then get scared and go back into hiding. It is nearly impossible to build a dream this way. Because the time in between each burst is so long–and it takes a lot of time to build the momentum again. Sometimes we just have to do the work–it isn’t always pretty or fun, but it is towards something that matters.

  • Guilty!

    Thanks for the reminder.

  • I know it is cheeky so say this, but your post totally resonated with me! I have found in my own coaching and consulting work that it is incredibly important to stick with work after the initial honeymoon and excitement have waned. The work – and relationships – get deeper and more fulfilling, but it takes real energy to stay in the game. Thank you!

  • Gail says:

    Wow, Tara! I believe you’ve just shone a light on something I’ve been doing – and didn’t realize I was doing or, at least, WHY I was doing it!
    Insightful & enlightening.
    This is BIG – THANK YOU!!

  • deanette says:

    Thank you Tara for this week’s amazing post. It is exactly what I needed to read! This is what I have been doing for 10 years now! Seriously, it is time for me to step out and reep the rewards of what I have sown over the years. I will take you words to heart and move forward through the fear and come out the otherside to become the leader I know I can be. Thanks again for your guidance and support through this journey we all call life! Hug, Deanette

  • Elizabeth says:


    You are a brilliant teacher and leader. You have poetry even in your most succinct advice. Your humility in using your own life stories, trials and tribulations to effectively empower women, is noble and a blessing to humankind. Truly. Your poetry speaks to, no, stirs, the soul to awaken to new possibilities. You are so loved and appreciated by so many and I can only imagine the number of people benefitting from your teachings to multiply exponentially. Your baby picked an awesome momma! Peace and blessings to you and yours! Elizabeth

  • Yulia says:

    Oh, Tara — such perfect timing. Thank you!!

  • Alicia says:

    Oh boy just like others who have posted I’m feeling this one. I’ve written a book and it will launch soon. I am terrified and afraid it will a) fail miserably or b) succeed. I am in that uncomfortable place but there is no where to hide. I’m trying to be good to myself these days as I move through the process with the publisher. I keep telling myself I am worthy of success (even if I’m not sure.. ). Thank you for the nudge to keep doing!!

  • Donna says:

    Thank you for these words today. I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear them!
    It’s as if you were speaking about me, and now that I see what I was doing, I feel better equipped to finish my book.
    Thanks, again!

  • Glenda says:

    This is just so true. I find my excitement of projects often wanes just when I get to the point of following it through. But really it’s fear more than anything of putting myself and my creation out there. Afraid of the criticism, and afraid of failure. But not putting it out there is failure in itself. Now I need to be sure of completing the hard work and getting it out there, because I wouldn’t have started on a project if it didn’t resonate with me in the first place. Thanks for this helpful post.

  • Chrissy says:

    Tara, I swear you know the right things to say when I need to hear them. I have worked SO HARD to get to this point in my dream career, but the final steps are a little tough and I found myself the other day thinking about how easy it would be to just go back to what I was doing before after all this. THANK YOU for your words of encouragement!

  • Olivia says:

    This couldn’t have come into my inbox at a better moment! Such an important and wise idea, to be careful of the impulse to throw investment and ideas away in uncomfortable moments. I definitely see this pattern looking back. Thank you, Tara.

  • Lisa Zahn says:

    This post is so timely for me and I can relate to it SO much! I’m one year into my new coaching business, a year filled with training and launching and great success with enrolling clients, and I hit burn-out, big time. As soon as the exhaustion hit I went right to the saboteur voices. “There’s something wrong with me” and “I don’t have this in me” and “I need to quit!” And the worst one, “I always quit anyway”. Thankfully, I have a wonderful mentor this time who called it what it was–burnout–and advised me to take a good long break. So I have been doing that, and just last week I had this revelatory moment that now I just might get to experience some EASE in my business without always feeling the need to build something new, create a new project for myself, etc. I realized that yes, indeed, I’m afraid of this next level–success. And at the same time, I can work through that fear (with support this time) and instead of quitting, mellow into the next phase. Enjoy it. Keep doing what I love. Reap the fruits of my labor of the past year building and launching. Whew! What a revelation. Thanks for re-affirming this, and letting me know I’m not alone.

  • Wonderful article, very well said! I recognise this so much and have spent way too long just hopping on to the next project before the last one comes to fruition.
    Thank you for the reminder to “work through the fear rather than chasing the fantasy” ~ excellent!

  • Karen Bongiorno says:

    Hi Tara, no pun intended, but your post completely resonated with me! Thank you. Karen

  • […] It depends on your willingness to see it through. […]

  • Genevieve VenJohnson says:

    You are wonderful. 😉 Thank you for this — the timing couldn’t be better.

  • […] changes are happening behind the scenes with my business; Tara Sophia Mohr’s piece about seeing it through came at just the right time. “This is usually exactly when brilliant women sabotage […]

  • about is running home to make art and write. Just today in the midst of my exhaustion I declared I would write 3 eBooks this weekend on top of my other creative projects in progress including a new blog I launched yesterday (www.humpdayhug.com). When my dear friend and colleague side-eyed me and said “I think you’re trying to squeeze too much into your weekend and besides you need to focus on that first unfinished e-book right?” I cringed a little.

    I say all that to say, I am so GRATEFUL for you and your words Tara…it was a nice loving kick in the pants telling me to follow-through and water my garden instead of sowing more seeds out of fear and anxiety. This darling is GOLD–> “A part of us that is comfortable playing small wants to reinvent the wheel again so that we never actually have to step into success. Fear blocks our passion for whatever we are up to, and a fantasy of a new pursuit takes hold. ”
    I can’t thank you enough.”

    I’ll be carrying your words with until I am finished 😉

  • Very valuable perspective and definitely puts things in a different light. Thank you, Tara. I’m really digging your blog! It really speaks to me.

  • Janine says:

    Ahh, great post! I did exactly this with my blog – Just as it felt on the brink, I started to doubt the branding and decided it just didn’t feel ‘like me’ anymore. Meanwhile the new project I want to start… I just have no idea where to even go with it. Thanks for the great article!

  • […] take action anyway, get messy, and keep taking action over and over. It also explains why so many women give up right before a big success, which I believe is an epidemic in the realm of creative […]

  • […] changes are happening behind the scenes with my business; Tara Sophia Mohr’s piece about seeing it through came at just the right time. “This is usually exactly when brilliant women sabotage […]

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