Females are taking the lead with their self-help books titled with empowering mantras. Sheryl Sandburg wants us to start Leaning In. Louis P Frankel lets us know that Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office. And Tara Mohr suggests that the women of the world start Playing Big.
An expert on women’s leadership and wellbeing, Tara Mohr has written this book to provide practical tools to help women quiet self-doubt, find their voice, identify their talents and pursue their dreams, taking bold action to achieve them in the face of social or personal pressures.
The ten step plan is communicated in an easily digestible format, with provocative questions encouraging contemplation and self-awareness, and clear tasks designed to stimulate action and results. The personal improvement shelves of the bookstores have seen their weight grow in recent years, and at this goal setting and resolution making time of year, there are many similar books available.
Unlike many of these, it does not encourage a change in self or radical life revolutions, but encourages women to embrace who they are and fulfil the opportunities available to them – the them that they already are but may not be living as. This may be due to fear, learned behaviours, or expectations – but whatever the cause, it inhibits women and prevents them growing to be all that they can.
Mohr tells us how there are two words for fear in the Old Testament. The first is pachad, the fear of imagined things and phantoms. This fear is protective of us, and wants us to move away from the dangerous entity. The second, the positive fear, and the one I liken to first date nerves is yirrah. This is the feeling evoked when coming into the possession of more energy or space than one is used to. This is the kind of fear, or anticipation, to work with, and embracing it can help us move in a very positive direction.
Becoming the best version of yourself is not a check box process, but an experience. Rather than focusing on external pressures, life should be lived according to our own inner mentor, the older and wiser self that lives within us all. The lessons that we have learned through our educational, social and workplace experiences have unfortunately left many women feeling hooked on criticism, hiding behind false assumptions, and doubting their own ability.
The tasks and talk in this book encourage a questioning of these limiting moulds, to support women to reorient ate the way they go through life. They feel realistic and achievable, imbuing the reader with a sense of capability.
Much of it is about viewpoint and vocabulary. Mohr does not have the answers for a perfect life. But she does have some suggestions on how to live a life that is more rewarding and gratifying, aligned with our inner sense of self and purpose. It is about goals, yes, but seeing those goals in a different light. By setting gift goals with a positive intention, and compassionately exploring the process of achieving them, through a paradigm of transformation and self-actualisation, we can all play big.

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