“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” ~ Lao-Tze
This week in Juicy Bites, we discover:
The case for getting creative when meeting women and girls
A writer who won’t change her words for the patriarchy
3 language habits that take power away from our words, according to Tara Sophia Mohr
The importance of bringing awareness to self-talk
A visual aid to make sure your body language backs up the power of your words
At the end of this post, we encourage you to join us for a conversation. This week’s Juicy Bites question for you, dear emerging women, is:
1. How to Talk to a Woman Without Saying, “Great Boots”: A Guide for Women via Slate
When meeting women or girls for the first time, what are you likely to ask them? The easy go-to is often a compliment about their appearance. We women have great style, it’s true, but there’s a lot more substance to us than our spectacular shoes. This article invites us to get creative when striking up conversations with our fellow females, and outlines why it’s so important to make the effort.
[‘Great boots!’] is a scourge not just because of what it says to girls about what we value about them, but also because girls absorb this mode of interaction and use it for the rest of their lives.”
2. I Am, I Am, I Am: Writing While Black and Female via The Toast
Has anyone ever suggested that you water down your words in order to appear more marketable or to appeal to a larger (younger, whiter, etc.) audience? Writer Vanessa Willoughby takes inspiration from bell hooks and refuses to write small.
“Why should I back down? Why should I be made to feel ashamed for pursuing a writer’s life that speaks to my experiences?”
Tara Sophia Mohr, expert on women’s leadership and well-being, identifies common communication mistakes that keep women from “playing big.” She also offers insight into the motivations behind these mistakes and suggests new, stronger language habits we can form instead.
“Our words are our opportunity. That opportunity is bigger than ever before because women are more literate than ever before and have access to technology — from laptops to email — that amplify our communication.”
It’s not only the words we say that have power, but also the words we think. Self-love advocate Dayelle Deanna Schwartz addresses the problem of negative self-talk and the power of a simple word substitution to shift our self-perception.
“While this incident didn’t stop my habit of immediately berating myself for a mistake, it did raise my consciousness to begin a new habit — using gentler words when I did something I didn’t like.”
5. 10 Body Language Tips Every Speaker Must Know (Infographic) via Entrepreneur.com
We’ve touched on the language of our speech, writing, and thoughts, but what about the language of our bodies? If actions speak louder than words, we might all want to take a look at this infographic to make sure we’re sending the signals we’re intending.
“Your words may give the audience one message while your body sends quite another.”
This is a transcript from my conversation, “Playing Big,” with the wonderful and talented Tara Mohr.
Tara is an expert on women’s leadership and well-being. Her work helps women play bigger in their work and in their lives. With an MBA from Stanford University and an undergraduate degree in English Literature from Yale, Tara takes a unique approach that blends inner work with practical skills training, and weaves together both intellectual and intuitive wisdom. Tara has also been a speaker and workshop leader at multiple Emerging Women Live Conferences.
Tara Mohr at Emerging Women Live 2013
Chantal Pierrat: 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.
Tara Mohr: 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, my mom picking 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 it. So I would say that was one track that I was on from very early in life.
“I grew up with 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 it.”
And yet, at the same time, my parents were 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 distinct, and I felt, often, like an outsider in both. In one I felt too sensitive and too spiritual, and in one I felt like I was sometimes saying, “Come on guys, let’s do a reality check,” or “Let’s bring a little more intellectual rigor to this.” And it’s really only in my adult life that I have begun to find a way to advocate for the message that these worlds do not have to be separate. And it’s where I can have the joy of people like you saying, “Hey, this is actually something special about you and wonderful that you combine these two things,” instead of them feeling like two different languages, where I was often trying to interpret or translate but that that was really hard.
CP: Yes, that’s why I put the emphasis on “overt,” because I was surprised to see how much you really do—that’s part of your work, that you’re combining both. And it seems like you have a lot of receptivity in the audience that you work with to this particular mix.
TM:Yes. And one thing I’ve found—and I know you have a lot of entrepreneurs listening, so this might be particularly interesting to them from the angle of their entrepreneur hat as well—is that what we tend to think of these different audiences—the spiritual audience, the secular audience, the creative, the corporate people. I even came into my business with some of that, and sometimes I would get caught up in, “Well, who am I talking to? Am I talking to the woman who has a holistic massage therapy business? Or am I talking to the woman who is a professor? Am I talking to the woman who works in the corporation?” And I had assumptions for each of those groups and how “spiritual” I could get with the content.
And what I have found is that those are total stereotypes. Every time I talk to my customers—I do a lot of just getting on the phone and doing one-on-one customer interviews on an ongoing basis because I like to stay in touch with who’s really listening. And every time I do that, and every time I read a bio of someone participating in my program, I find that there’s no stereotype that they match up with. There’s no demographic segment or psychographic segment we could even make up that they match up with. Most women are something we couldn’t predict. I just think about, in the past few weeks, talking to a woman is in my Playing Big program who is an emergency paramedic on an ambulance in a rural area, and wants to play bigger in sharing some of what she’s learned from that. That’s not someone I could ever predict that would be in my programs.
“There’s no demographic segment or psychographic segment we could even make up that they match up with. Most women are something we couldn’t predict.”
Or someone who said, on one of our first calls, “It’s my last day in the military, and tomorrow I’m going to be a civilian. Here’s what I want to play big with as I become a civilian and that’s why I’m here.” All the way from that to the life coaches and the holistic healers and the corporate people and the tech entrepreneurs.
And so many women, especially in our time, are embracing this hybrid where, “I’m a transportation engineer, but I do Native American art every weekend and that’s my passion.” Or, “I’m a college professor and physicist and I do angel card readings and I’d really like to do more of that.” I see so much of that. So I think, unfortunately, in the business world and the publishing world, there’s been an oversimplification of the audience that’s just not true to women today.
“I think, unfortunately, in the business world and the publishing world, there’s been an oversimplification of the audience that’s just not true to women today.”
CP: I so appreciate that, and I love how you’re really taking a stand and are unapologetic in an area like business that can be considered risky. I’m also curious if you’ve ever had people that said, “Well, I just want your Playing Big”—and we’re going to get into that—“I just want the business side of Playing Big. This other stuff makes me uncomfortable.”
TM: It may be that some of those people just click away from my site, and that is probably happening more than—I don’t hear about it too much. And I think people know, if they come to my site, that they’re not going to get pure secular business tactics.
For me, I don’t get excited about helping women develop those because I feel if we’re just helping people to play more effectively within a patriarchical system, that’s certainly not serving the mission I care about. I want women in touch with what they feel called to do at a soul level and to help them play bigger with that. That’s what’s going to change the world for the better. So I feel like there’s plenty of other experts out there who just help women skill up with a very neutral point of view about whatever their skills [are being used for, and] that’s fine. But I’m coming from a different place.
“I want women in touch with what they feel called to do at a soul level and to help them play bigger with that.”
CP: Tell us more about Playing Big and the essence of the work.
TM: Well, I’ll begin my sharing just how I started to use that term, “playing big,” in my work. I used to do a lot of one-on-one coaching with women. Now I do more large group programs, but when I was starting out and I was doing one-on-one, I was seeing a pattern again and again in the women that were showing up in my practice.
I always think about one of my first clients who worked in the social sector and was pretty young, early in her career, and had such incredible ideas about what needed to happen in her organization and her industry. She was on top of every journal and cutting edge conversation in the field. She was constantly reading and linking and thinking about interesting things. And nobody in her organization knew it, and nobody in her field knew it because she just couldn’t act on and speak for her ideas.
And I was so pained by seeing that, and then I started seeing the same thing in client after client. So many of the women I was seeing, in one way or another,had such brilliance to share, had something really important to share, and they didn’t see themselves as ready to share it. They didn’t see themselves as ready to take on a major leadership role. They didn’t think they were expert enough, they were being held back by their inner critic. And of course, part of the reason I was attracting that particular theme and noticing that theme was because I had certainly grappled with all of those issues myself and was still grappling with them.
Tara at Emerging Women Live 2013
So that kind of became a focus of my work. And as I mentioned, I’m always trying to be in touch with my customers. And at a certain point a few years ago, I was doing a survey of my blog readers, and in the survey I asked my readers “What is the biggest challenge you’re facing in your life?” That’s such a good market research question—you want to know what people are grappling with. It was a multiple choice question and I listed all the things that we typically think of as so hard in women’s lives: work/life balance, not enough time, stress, I don’t know what I want, financial constraints, unsupportive people—all this stuff. And I threw in, just on a whim, “I’m playing small” as one of the choices. And when the responses came back, that was the most popular choice.
CP: Oh my. Wow.
TM: [Laughs] And I was fascinated because it was so stunning to me that that was so widespread, but more so that people knew, all these women were walking around with the same feeling I was having, like, “I’m not even sure what I mean by that, but I know I’m playing small.”
TM: So out of that, I knew that I would then package the work I had already been doing with women on these issues under the term “playing big.” And what the work of that is, for me, the approach that I take, it begins with understanding what you feel called to do in your life right now. Because again, what we want to play big with is not our ego’s ambitions or the world’s ideas of success, but our true calling. So there’s a process of identifying what you’re called to now and accepting that, and then learning a variety of new ways of being that each allow you to stop holding back your voice.
“What we want to play big with is not our ego’s ambitions or the world’s ideas of success, but our true calling.”
So we do a lot of work around mastering our awareness of self-doubt and the inner critic, and beginning to separate that from the other voices within, and connect more strongly with what I call the inner mentor, which is your older, wiser self. We look at unhooking from praise and criticism, so becoming less sensitive to what other people think. And a number of other tools like that, all of which support women in playing bigger.
And then there’s a little bit of tactical work—where I bring back that left brain side and my MBA side—where after we have that foundation of inner work, there’s some training in things like negotiation and communication and pitching your work to the media. Because those things are great. It’s just that if we only get that tactical training, and we don’t change the inner dynamics of our playing small, we can’t even use the skills we learned because our fears will get in the way.
Liking what you see? Give your ears a treat. Listen to the recorded version of this interview HERE.
Chelsea has over 15 years of experience in administrative and executive support. After her years of working in the legal and oil and gas industry, Chelsea has made it her passion to fill her life with creativity and incorporates that into everything she does. Her position at Emerging Women allows her to expand on that creativity and assist with empowering women around the world. She is a native of Colorado and enjoys spending time with her husband, her son, bonus son, family, and friends. In her free time she loves camping, painting, and all things creative.
Online Business Manager
Michelle studied Marketing and received her degree from Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her passion for marketing, combined with great attention to detail, and over 7 years of experience in the tech-world makes her a valuable asset to the team! In addition to Emerging Women, she is also a solopreneur and works with a number of different clients in the online business realm. She is an experienced Online Business Manager and Virtual Assistant who specializes in marketing operations, project management and online course launch management. She is a Colorado native, mother of two dogs, a cat, and a turtle, and step-mother to an amazing little girl. In her spare time she enjoys live music, good food, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family.
Power Circle Administrator
Jen comes to Emerging Women with over 25 years of experience in event operations and volunteer management. She has worked various types of events as a Volunteer Manager for Integral Life conferences and as an Event Coordinator for various large arts and sports festivals throughout Colorado. Alongside her passion for creating and producing events, she worked as a hospital administrator for over a decade in one of Denver’s largest hospitals helping make care affordable to hundreds of patients. Jen was born in Lima, Peru but has spent most of her life in Colorado. In 2016, a year sabbatical morphed into a life living abroad. Jen has been living in Cusco, Peru for the past four years and cherishes her life in the Andes mountains. In her spare time she enjoys exploring the world, playing capoeira, and deepening her yoga and meditation practices.
Director of Power Circles
For over 13 years, Nicole has been a producer and connector in the field of personal and professional growth and transformation, creating diverse content, life-changing curriculum, and exquisite live and online experiences. She loves to unite and facilitate people in their work to live more good, true, and beautiful lives. She’s honored to bring this diverse expertise to Emerging Women. For the past two years she has been the lead producer for Emerging Women Live, and now is bringing her extensive production, coaching and facilitation skills to EW’s Power Circles. Nicole works in private practice as a Certified Integral Master Coach™, through her company, Unabashedly You, and has worked with hundreds of women (and men) individually and as a group facilitator. She also creates programs and interviews fascinating teachers and wellness experts in her role as U.S. Content Producer for Conscious Life. She is the co-founder of Core Integral, an educational company offering a comprehensive and accessible approach to learning integral theory. Prior to this work, she owned a large and lively restaurant and brewery in Pennsylvania. She has studied extensively and worked alongside Ken Wilber (Integral Theory), Daniel Brown, PhD (Tibetan Buddhism, Self-Development, Attachment, and Positive Psychology), and Sofia Diaz (Hatha Yoga and Feminine Embodiment). She holds a Masters Degree from Lehigh University. She regularly delights in the sunshine and mountains of Colorado with her two dogs and her partner Clint, and is a new mama to her daughter Truly Golden.
Founder & CEO
Chantal’s mission is to increase women’s leadership across the globe. After earning an MBA from the University of Colorado, Chantal left a career in medical device manufacturing in search of work that would align her dedication to transformative leadership with her passion for living an inspired, impactful life. In September 2012, she founded Emerging Women, a global leadership and media platform that serves over 70,000 women worldwide and has advanced women’s leadership within Fortune 500 companies such as HP, Oracle and more. Chantal’s ultimate vision is to weave feminine leadership and authenticity into businesses, and to create a world where women have a strong voice in the shaping of our future. Prior to Emerging Women, for over a decade, Chantal served on the executive team as the VP of Sales and Marketing for Sounds True, a multimedia publishing company focused on spirituality, personal growth, and holistic living. Chantal is a sought after speaker delivering keynotes at The Grace Hopper Celebration, Wisdom 2.0, and many other stages where women’s leadership is critical to the conversation. When she is not dancing or working to empower women around the world, Chantal enjoys family time with her husband and two sons in Boulder, CO.