Interview with Tara Mohr: Internationally-Acclaimed Expert on Women’s Leadership and Well-being and Author of ‘Playing Big’
Tara Mohr is an internationally-acclaimed expert on women’s leadership and well-being. She helps women make the journey from playing small—being held back by fear and self-doubt—to playing big, taking bold action to pursue what they see as their callings. Tara is the author of Playing Big: A practical guide for brilliant women like youand creator of the global Playing Big program for women.
Her book is a must-read for all women, offering you the actionable tools to pursue the life you want.
Tara lives in San Francisco and loves dance, art, and long walks with her beloved husband and son.
For more tools and resources from Tara, visit her popular blog at www.taramohr.com.
I’m like many creative entrepreneurs in that there’s not very much of a typical day! I usually wake up around 7:30 when my son says, “Mommy….are you awake?!” We play for a while, and then he transitions to his daily activities and my husband and I to work. Depending on that day, that might look like working from my home office and writing and teaching my courses, which are all taught by video/online.
Or, it might look like heading across the Golden Gate Bridge to a beautiful women’s coworking space I’m part of, The Hivery. Or, it might look like heading downtown to a company to do a speaking engagement or training for women there. Late afternoon, my husband and I wrap up our work and come home for family time which usually involves hanging around the house or the backyard, or taking a walk to a cafe or park in our neighborhood.
2. What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
That’s such a great question for prompting reflection about what’s most important to us. I’m very proud of running a business that is mission-driven, high integrity and also profitable and successful. I’m proud of employing wonderful women and supporting their livelihoods, their financial independence, their families, and their ability to do meaningful work.
I’m proud of having created a methodology – in the forms of my book and courses – that so many women say is genuinely changing their lives.
In the realm of mothering, I definitely have my weak areas (wow, is parenting humbling) but would say I’m most proud of the patience and compassion for whatever my child is going through that I’ve brought to my parenting. I really try to always look at things through his perspective and not make him wrong.
And on the personal side, I’m proud of living a life and choosing a career that feels true to the authentic me.
3. What’s in your handbag?
Too much! I am grabbing my handbag now so I can answer this honestly. The staples – earbuds, wallet, phone, makeup bag. Then lots of other stuff – some of which has been buried down there for a while, so thank you for helping me rediscover it! Cell phone batteries – some charged, some not. Lipsticks. Change. Receipts. Earrings that I took off at airport security a while ago. I’m not too organized with the physical details of my life and I’ve learned to be 100% okay with that!
4. What are your ambitions in life?
To be an inspiring and available mother – available emotionally and physically. To love my children fiercely and also know how and when to let go so they can be themselves and walk their own paths. To do creative work that brings me joy, to stay on my own edge of growth and risk-taking with my creative work.
To continue to be financially independent and financially thriving. To support my life partner, having a thriving relationship, and give him the experience of being loved – an experience he has given so fully to me.
Most important: To live in a constant, intimate dialogue with my intuition and inner wisdom.To live in such a way that when I’m at the end of my life, I feel I lived fully, and made the most of the many blessings and opportunities I’ve been given in this life.
5. What advice would you give your pre-baby self, that you now know?
Sleep now! Vacation now! Stay out late and party now! I say that, but of course you can’t really appreciate what you have with those things pre-baby. But overall, I think I would encourage that younger woman to fully enjoy the autonomy and self-focus that comes with that pre-baby phase of life. I did that in my own life, but I’d want her to do it even more.
I’d also want her to know how strong she is. The demands and hard parts of pregnancy, labor and early motherhood really taught me how strong I was – emotionally but even more so physically – which was not a concept I’d held about myself before.
6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I think honestly more of what I’m doing now – writing, teaching, speaking – supporting women to live their best lives and create the careers they long for. In five years I hope the scale and scope of what I’m doing has continued to grow, so that we can reach more women and continue building our incredible team.
I see myself continuing to live that balance of mothering, self-care, being a partner, and doing work I’m passionate about.
7. What advice would you give a budding author?
Oh gosh I have lots to say about this! A couple things –
1. Remember that feedback never tells you ANYTHING about your ability as a writer. It just gives you information about the people giving the feedback – about their preferences and priorities and sensibilities. You can take feedback seriously, but not as a verdict on your talent, just as insight into how key people in your field think about work and what they are looking for.
2. Ultimately, there is no one your book will matter to more than you. I am fortunate to get so many letters from women about how Playing Big has changed their lives, and I take that in. It’s so meaningful to hear. But I also know that the person whose life journey the book has impacted the most, is me.
We write the books we write because of our soul’s questions, our dilemmas, the topics we are drawn to in our hearts. I would argue we paint and design and start businesses for the same reason.
Because that’s the case, I think there is nothing more important in writing than being honest with yourself, pushing your own edges, staying faithful to your own muse and ideas,and doing the process is a way that helps you answer your own big life questions. In the end, at a cosmic level, that is a huge part of what the book is really for.
3. Lastly, I would say that great writing comes out of the combination of two opposite things: 1) writing consistently – daily or close to daily and 2) stepping away from the desk and living your life. This is such an interesting combination. We need the consistent writing to practice, to get nimble with words, and to write enough that we become less attached to any one thing we produce – able to discard, cut, and edit freely.
Yet what we do at the desk is only part of the equation. The gold of emotion, insight and truth- telling that makes writing great comes from 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 took in from another artist, the time we took to pursue our own thinking about a topic.
We have to live conscious lives to have material to write about, and we have to write regularly to be able to articulate that material well.
8. Finally, happiness is…
Cozy times with family. Conversations with a great team doing great work together. The opportunity to put an idea down on paper and create something where there was nothing before. Beauty – in my home, in the natural world around me. Looking at my child and taking in the awesome shock that they are here – and they are so much bigger than they used to be!