– 2: Playing Big – The Work of Our Time with Tara Sophia Mohr

This episode's guest is the formidable Tara Sophia Mohr, an expert on women’s leadership and well-being. Download now to hear Tara and I discuss:

Weaving spirituality practice in business
How we keep ourselves small and the importance of “Playing Big”
How to deal with criticism when stepping out and Playing Big
The words: Pahad and Yirah and how they can help us understand our fear
The value of mentorship

Tune in to listen to my conversation “Playing Big” with Tara Sophia Mohr.

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Chantal Pierrat: Well, Tara, welcome, and thank you for being here today.

Tara Mohr: Thank you, thank you so much for having me. 

CP: I’m so excited to have you today—half an hour or 45 minutes all to myself. I think I discovered you about a year ago or a year and a half ago. I’ve been getting your blogs and I read your poetry. And the thing that struck me the most was here was a woman who was diving into business, clearly very, very articulate and wise in the business world, but who was overtly—and I’m putting some emphasis on that because it’s unusual—spiritual. And I’m just so excited because it’s such a rare combination, and I would love to dig in a little bit more about your background and how that came to be and how you came to combine these two worlds that seemingly are very separate. So maybe we could just jump in there.

TM: Yes. I’d love to begin there. That’s certainly been a big part of my journey. I was raised in a fairly unique way, hopefully a way that’s becoming less unique. My mom was very much a spiritual seeker, and had a huge passion for psychology.

So our house was full of books from all different religious traditions, from the mystical side of all different religious traditions, and she was always busy reading them. She was up at 5 a.m. writing about spiritual topics, really just for her own journey. She raised me, every morning, at the breakfast table, asking me what did I dream the night before, and having me diagram my dreams out, the Jungian interpretation, on a yellow pad while I was having my oatmeal or my Cheerios or whatever it was at the time.

And truly, I can remember incidents like being teased on the playground in kindergarten and coming home, getting into the car [when] my mom picked me up and saying, “Mom, so-and-so teased me, and I really hate him.” And she would always say one of two things in that scenario. She would say, “Well, what do you think is going on for that person at home that would make them tease another kid?” Or she would say, “How do you think God looks at that person?”

So this was the milieu I was raised in, and it was particularly remarkable because it wasn’t attached to any organized religion. I grew up with this access to inner life and to spiritual concepts that I think children are ready for and can understand, but we often underestimate how much and how early they can understand [them]. So I would say that was one track that I was on from very early in life.

And yet, at the same time, my parents were [a] middle class, professional, Jewish family who really valued education, and [they] were saying to me, “You’re bright and you have a lot of potential and we expect you to work hard in school and do well in school.” And school was a world that felt like the opposite of all that stuff I was just talking about. Because, of course, at school, nobody was asking what God thought about any of the other kids. [Laughs] Nobody was thinking about what dreams meant.

School felt very hierarchical. I was always aware [of], “Oh, you can get a good grade or a bad grade.” And yet, my mom was saying every child was divine and special. So those things were at odds. In school, we would learn about, “This war happened because this country disagreed with this guy,” and no one was looking at the inner side of anything.

So for much of [my] life, I would say these two different domains felt very distin…