Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message

 Tara Mohr

  1. 269 pp. Gotham Books, New York.


How talented do you think you are? I would bet, as does Tara, that you have much more talent going for you then you think. Most women down-play or simply are unaware of their brilliance,  creativity, uniqueness and inner beauty, Tara is writing for each and every one of us so that we can bridge the gap between what people know about you ad what you know about yourself. As Tara writes this book is a “practical guide to moving past self-doubt and creating what you most want to create. It’s not about the old-school notion of playing big – more money, more prestigious title, a bigger empire, or fame It’s about you living with a sense of greater freedom to express your voice and pursue your aspiration” (x).

Tara shares many wisdoms, insights, ideas and tools. It is done with a warm, guiding sense of affirmation and encouragement. Tara obviously is authentic in her desire to equip women to overcome a tendency to downplay their desires and instead focus on what you long for or dream and then set about going for them.

Tara specifically targets several vulnerabilities, such as the inner critic. Many of us take our inner critic, that self-doubt that it gives rise to, to lessen who we are. But Tara invites us not to be held back by it, instead, learn to hear that critic but choose not to take direction from it. Tara outlines the many ways that our inner critic show up, often in harsh, rude, even hysterical ways. It has a purpose, to remove us from emotional risk, but our inner critic is often unreasonable, and we need to accept it as one voice not the ultimate authority. By doing this, we remove its power to hold us back, to put us down. Questions to guide our journaling of our thoughts are throughout the book and specifically focus on each of the areas that Tara dwells deeply into.

An excellent chapter on our inner wisdom debunks the common notion that help is ‘out there’. To support us in being in touch with our inner wisdom, Tara offers ways in which to reveal that to ourselves within the book and as an audio you can download via a website link she has provided. I found both to be terrific resources.

I couldn’t quite get into the terms of ‘pachad’ and ‘yirah’ at first, but as they became more familiar, and supported with relevant case studies (which are throughout the book) I could grasp the significant difference and the terms were useful in labelling those differences with regard to fear. Pachad is that over-reacted, irrational fear that can show up. Yirah on the other hand is the fear where we extend beyond our known comfort zone. It is truly alive when we play big. The distinction between these fears was really thoughtful, deep and provocative. We need to manage pachad and Tara guides us how to do that.

Insightfully Tara puts it to us that is we want to play big then we must unhook ourselves from the need for praise and what others think of us. We also need to unhook from criticism and how we take on that we are not good enough. This is not necessarily easy for some, but again, Tara dives deeply into how it can be addressed.

I believe that this is a valuable book and for those that want a gentle, loving guide to tackle how to go about growing, learning, and expanding beyond where they are currently at, then this book will help you to play big.