87 Transcript: Playing Big and Living in Alignment (with Tara Mohr)

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J: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 87.

T: But the inner critic voice didn't go away. It was just that I understood why it was there and so I wasn't hoodwinked by it.


Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.

J: Hey, there I'm Jen Riday, host of the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, a mom of 6, and I help busy moms simplify their lives with practical, no-nonsense, easy systems to help you spend less time on mundane tasks and way more time pursuing your passions and living a life of meaning, purpose and happiness. I support women on their journeys of living simply and in alignment through the Vibrant Happy Women Academy, which you can learn more about at vibranthappywomenacademy.com. Welcome to today's show. Last week, I spoke with Jen Granneman all about the secret lives of introverts and she shared some great tips on how we can be more inclusive of those who have introverted tendencies. She threw a really unique kind of party, and if you have a listen to that, go back and do so. Today, I'll be talking with Tara Mohr, all about playing big and sharing our purpose in magnificent ways, not just playing small and letting our inner critic take over. This episode is full of great ideas on listening to your intuition overcoming fear and truly feeling like you're sharing your gifts with the world. So let's go ahead and dive right in.

Tara Mohr is an expert on women's leadership and well-being and an author educator and certified coach. Tara is the author of ‘Playing Big’, practical wisdom for women who want to speak up, create and lead. And her work has been featured on The Today Show and in publications ranging from the New York Times to Goop to Harvard Business Review more than 50,000 women from around the world follow Tara’s writing and wisdom. She lives in San Francisco and loves dance art and long walks with her family. Welcome to Vibrant Happy Women, Tara.

T: Thank you, thanks for having me, Jen.

J: Yeah, I'm so excited and let's start off with your personal favorite quote.

T: Mm-hmm. Well, this one has been a mantra for me and like a touchstone for me for a long time and it's really a intention or a prayer and it is, “May I be the representative of love.” And sometimes that's like, “May I be the representative of love in this situation. May I be an embodiment of love with my children.” It comes from Marianne Williamson, who some of your listeners may know and comes from ‘A Course in Miracles’. But I love it so much and I use it in personal and professional settings and have for over 20 years.

J: Hmm, I love it too. And so what do you think is the source of love for you? Where do you tap into that love so you have something to share?

T: Hmm. Well, to me, that love, you know, like when I say, “Okay…” and I can remember the first time I really used that was actually as a teenager when I was in high school and struggling with regular teenage stuff. And that idea of, “Okay, what if instead of just going into the, you know, craziness of a high school environment with trying to survive and be popular and feel okay, what if I focused on what I could give to others and service and emanating love?” and it kind of changed everything for me. And so I'm just using that as an example of kind of the love that that refers to for me.

J: Mm-hmm.

T: It's like a very non-personal, nonspecific love. And, to me, that's a spiritual thing. I don't get that from any relationship in my life in particular, I get that something energetic, something bigger than me that I feel like I can tap into that energy of love, and there's a lot of… that's just like, you know, a wellspring that never runs out. If I remember to ask to tap into it, it'll be there for me.

J: Mmm, that's great. And so take us back to your low point, maybe when you kind of had to learn to show more of that love or tap into that love or whatever else you might have learned there.

T: Yeah. Well, the low point story, I wanted to tell because of course we all have many of them. (Laughs). But the one I thought I would tell today is really what gave birth to the work that I've been doing for the past 10 years, the career trajectory I've been on, kind of the way I direct my life. And so this is from about 10 years ago, I was working in a job in a large philanthropic foundation. So I was doing good work, you know, work that I felt like was good for the world. I liked my colleagues, I felt, you know, relatively challenged by my job, I was happy in my marriage, and all of that at the same time as all of that, I was feeling like I was kind of dying inside.

J: Mm-hmm.

T: And feeling like, “What happened to my passion and my energy?” And while this job is fine and looks fine to everybody on the outside, I know this isn't what I wanted to do. Like, I didn't want to be writing white papers inside a large foundation, I wanted to be being creative and writing and being doing spiritual work and being connected to the worlds of psychology and personal growth. And, for me, because I had had a very like traditional education path and rigorous universities and, you know, prestigious schools, I had really been taught that all of that more creative more spiritual was fluffy. And I had, over time, you know, fluffy, woo-woo, stupid.

J: Mm-hmm. (Laughs)

T: And so, over time, I had been just become less and less connected to it. And so, for me, that low point was realizing like life has really lost its vitality for me and I have lost my vitality, and if I continue on this path, I am going to end up feeling like I really wasted this opportunity of a life; like I didn't do what I'm here to do.

J: Mm-hmm.

T: And, you know, I think part of what made that a low point is that, I didn't know how to make the shift at first, and so it felt like very, very daunting to even think about how to begin to make change.

J: Mm, mm-hmm. Well, so you hit this point and you feel like you're kind of lost control of things, how do you even begin to figure that out and find your purpose and meaning?

T: Yeah. Well, I guess in hindsight, there's a few pieces that I think were really helpful for me. One was just to listen to my own pain. And I think you all have to listen to our own pain. And in our culture, sometimes we think, you know, we need to numb the pain or we need to kind of make the pain mean there's something wrong with us, like we're not adapting to life or adulthood or something, instead of seeing it as an indicator. And years later, I wrote something that I've just been reflecting on again lately, which was that I know, in my own life, the amount of pain I feel is exactly proportional to how out of alignment I am with my soul.

J: Mmm.

T: And that's actually… for me, that was a profound realization because it said, “No, you know, the amount of pain you feel isn't really based on what's going on in the external circumstances in your life, if something really, you know, challenging is happening or not. It's really about how aligned are you with what is true to your soul, what nurtures your soul, and the perspectives and the ideas that feel true from a soul alignment place.” And when I'm in a lot of pain, whether there's challenging things are not, it's because that part is out of balance. And that was, you know, really going on at the time. So listening to the pain and taking it seriously is telling me something valuable, not just as like, “I have to take care of this, you know, inconvenience of not feeling good in my life.”

J: Yeah.

T: So that was one. Another was getting some help. And so I started to work with a coach for the first time in my life then. And the loving presence of that other person and presence, you know, in this case, was just on the phone so it didn't, for me, even have to be a person who had no agenda for me, was not attached to any particular identity that I had, and really could just hold space for me to figure out, you know, what I really wanted; those were really important pieces. And then the third thing I would say is not trying to see the whole path and figure out the whole trajectory, but just listen to my intuition or what was emerging in those coaching sessions, in my journaling, you know, in prayer, like the little wisps and whispers, like that would kind of say, “Okay, just go in that direction. Just pick up that book. Just, you know, start that one piece. Like, you know, just find a dance class,” like dance was one of my long-lost loves or, you know, “Just do a little writing when you can.” And one of the whispers was, “You can just go get trained as a coach. Who knows what you'll do with it? You probably won't exactly become a coach, but it'll kind of get you back in that personal growth spiritual place that you're missing.” And so, you know, it's kind of that walking forward in blindness where you can only see like half of the cobblestones step in front of you, you don't see the whole step, you don't see the step in front of that, you don't see the path; that was really important too.

J: Yeah. Well so you talked about those whispers, what do those feel like for you? A lot of people say, “I want to follow my intuition, but how do I know what's really my intuition and not just random thoughts?” What's your answer for that one?

T: Yeah. Well, my experience now, you know, talking to so many women about that is, a lot of times, we're kind of pretending we don't know what our intuition is saying and we might even ask that question. But what we really mean by that is like, “Damn! I don't like what my intuition is saying because it is so convenient to my life,” right.

J: (Laughs). Yeah.

T: It means I'm going to have to have a difficult conversation. It means I'm going to say something and that person might be mad at me. It means I have to upend my life. It means I have to do something that my parents and my neighbors aren't going to understand. You know, it means I have to do something that I feel is scary. So then we kind of go, “I don't know, is that my intuition?” So that's my first answer; it's like 99% of the time, you know, we know.

J: Uh-huh.

T: And then I think, you know, for me, there's a certain felt sense in the body and there's different ones for me. Like there's…you know, like I have a certain category of intuition that is a very strong like sometimes it just is like, “This is what is going to happen next like,” you know, “This is the project. This is the job. This is the school that… you know, the schooling,” and it just… and there's a felt physical sense that comes with it. And when that… when I get that, that's always like my favorite kind because it's very clear and I know from my life experience when I have that feeling, it's always what is going to happen. But a lot of the ones are more… that's kind of like a rare special like, you know…

J: Yeah.

T: … jackpot intuition for me. (Laughs)

J: Right, right.

T: You know, but then there's like the times you just get a little bit, you know? (Laughs). It's funny, I'm like picturing a slot machine, you know, that’s like, “Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!” like super clear like…

J: “Yes! I got good intuition! Woo-hoo!” (Laughs)

T: Yeah. It’s like, “We’re having that! Now I know exactly what's going to happen!” And I can go, you know, 100%.

J: Yay!

T: But a lot of times, it is a little more gray and subtle and more just like a feeling. And intuition for me shows up a lot too with like the uneasiness about what's not the right path, you know?

J: Uh-huh.

T: Like I feel it a lot there, right, like where my brains going, “But everyone says this is the best pediatrician in the town,” or like my brains going, “You know, but everyone is doing these kinds of Facebook ads with their business,” and then on an energetic level it's like, “No, absolutely not; not for you. Danger, not your path,” you know, whatever those different messages.

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

T: So that helps me a lot too.

J: Oh, that's really good. Well, so what about those people..? You've met those people, they'll be like, “Oh, I know I'm supposed to do this,” and they like quit their job, they're like leaping off the cliff and there's nothing there that ever catches them. And then… (Laughs)

T: Right.

J: $50,000 in debt later, you're like, “Ah, was that really your intuition?” (Laughs)

T: Right. Okay, so one of my favorite, favorite lines ever which I learned in my coaching training is, “Our intuition is always right, but sometimes we interpret it wrong.”

J: Oh yeah.

T: Right. So in that case, what I would say is, there was something correct and aligned that those individuals were feeling, which might be like, “That's my future path. That's my passion. That's, you know, what makes my soul come alive. I need to move in that direction.”

J: Mm-hmm.

T: Like, right, that magnetic resonance with whatever the thing they were being pulled toward; or some aspect of the thing they were being pulled toward. But then there's an interpretation, and the interpretation might be, “Therefore, I should quit my job. Therefore, I should go into debt. Therefore, I…” and that can be a misinterpretation of the intuition; it can be a way that self-sabotage comes in. Because what I see with a lot of people is, you know, it's actually… it's very vulnerable and scary to do the thing that uses your gifts and do the thing that maybe is your particular playing bigger. And so a lot of times we can quickly self-sabotage ourselves because of that, and one of the ways we self-sabotage is by making it really dramatic and high-stakes financially for ourselves.

J: (Laughs). Yes.

T: So we aren't setting it up in a sustainable way.

J: Oh yeah. Oh, that's so interesting; I hadn't thought about that, yeah.

T: Yeah, or we're doing it in a way like another way that self sabot… or the fear comes in is, let's say, you know,, you know, you suddenly… someone decides they want to, you know, quit their corporate job and go freelance, they're going to be a freelance graphic designer.

J: Mm-hmm.

T: Okay, so to do that successfully, you need to offer your services in a way and at a price point that's going to work for other people.

J: Mm-hmm.

T: And to figure out what that way is that works for your market, you need to test out a lot of things and fail and get feedback and go talk to your customers and your potential customers. A lot of people, that's scary and intimidating to us, and so we go into kind of, what I call, (and this is a Silicon Valley term from where I live) designing at the whiteboard, meaning we're in our office by ourself, coming up with our whole big vision and then we take a big leap and we execute it and we've never tested it with anyone who it needs to work with because that part feels too uncomfortable and it's more comfortable to do it on our own. So that's another reason we can do that. So, yeah, but a lot of times in the situation you're talking about, I think the intuition about what the soul is pulled to there is correct, but people don't have the tactical side to end like…

J: Yeah.

T: “How do I do this in a staged, safe way?”

J: Yeah. You have to bring the left brain back into the process and have some logic and follow that. (Laughs). Yeah, I'm hearing that. Well, you mentioned scary and uncomfortable tell us more… you know, if people are going to pull in the left brain and I know what they need to do, but there's still massive fear in the way. How can they play big and get to the other side of that fear and any thoughts on that?

T: Yeah. Well, in the ‘Playing Big’ book and in the course, I talked about a way of thinking of fear that I find really helpful and that now, you know, so many women that have adopted it find really helpful too. And it actually comes from 2 ancient Hebrew terms that are used in the Old Testament. So I kind of… in the book, I call this chapter ‘A New, Very Old Way Of Looking At Fear’. (Laughs)

J: Hmm, nice!

T: So in the Old Testament stories, there's 2 different words that are used for fear, and one of them is pachad. And pachad, the definition of pachad is, it's the fear of projected things or imagined things. So when we imagine what could happen, when we project the movie of the worst-case scenario that might occur, right, that's pod. And most of us are familiar with that kind of fear, and what we know about that, you know, speaking of the left brain, what we know from the neuroscience on fear and what we understand about physiology and fear is that that kind of fear tends to be over reactive, not based in reality, and very, very misleading for us, also gets in the way of our ability to think clearly when we're feeling it. So when we're feeling that kind of fear, we want to shift out of it and there's a lot of different ways we can do that; mindfulness to visualization to being the representative of love, right, energetically in just some small moments, we can start being more conscious about moving out of it; so that's pachad. The other word that's used in the Old Testament stories is this really interesting term yirah. And it has 3 different kinds of uses. It's the term that's used to describe when someone is inhabiting a larger space than they're used to, this is what they feel. So… an imagine in your own life like, when have you come into a larger space? You're… maybe you're speaking on a larger stage, you're doing something that feels very exposed. Maybe you have… if you're in a traditional job listening, you have, you know, suddenly a bigger position.

J: Mm-hmm.

T: Coming into a larger space in some way, and this is the feeling we feel. It's also, secondly, what we feel when we suddenly come into possession of more energy than we normally have. So whatever in your life really infuses you with energy it can bring this kind of feeling. And then, three, it's what we feel in the presence of this sacred.

J: Mmm.

T: So when Moses is at the burning bush, this is actually the term that's used to describe what he's feeling. So it's this interesting like exhilaration thrill, awe, fear kind of feeling. And it's very helpful I think to distinguish that from that imagined worst-case scenario type of fear. Because with yirah, we really want to welcome it and breathe into it and get comfortable with it and not sort of just treat it as everyday fear; it's a different kind of sacred fear that we kind of want to, if not just embrace, we also want to seek out what brings us that feeling.

J: Yeah, it's almost awe with… you know, you mentioned the higher power with Moses, but awe for ourselves as we move into that bigger space, like, “Whoa…

T: Yeah.

J: ”Who is that? Who is that?” yeah. Ooh, that's good.

T: Right. And… yes, and when we're moving into that bigger space, right, the self that we're feeling off for isn't just the small self. Because, right, when we're using our gifts or living our purpose as you teach people to do, we're connecting with the bigger self, right, like a transcendent self. And so there's an awe that comes just when we touched that sacred thing in ourselves.

J: Mm-hmm. Ooh, I love this. Well so how did that look for you as you've personally up leveled in your life? You know, have you have you made it through….

T: Yeah.

J: … each phase? I mean, was there a trick?


T: I don’t think there’s a… well…

J: A trick.


T: You know, lots of pachad for me all along the way. You know, every time, for me then, that whole journey to go back to that low point story, you know, that whole journey of, okay, getting in touch with, “I want to be working in the personal growth world. I'm getting a very strong inner message like it's time to write,” even though, you know, I hadn't written at that point really and like creatively in about 10 years, you know, “It's time to change what my home looks and feels like.”

J: Mm-hmm.

T: I changed my personal appearance in certain ways. I have been, you know, started… I got trained as a coach. I started a small coaching practice on the side of my job and then eventually left my job and really had followed that kind of vision to create the life and career that I have now. And so of course, all along the way with that, there was a lot of both kinds of fear. And pachad, each time I was, you know, exposing myself to failure or criticism in new ways and also, you know, I had to do a lot of work with the inner critic; and that's a big part of the work that we do in the playing big model is helping women understand what is the inner critic how do you move past it, you know, and how do you move past it in any given situation. Because I believe we never stopped having that inner critic and we're not…

J: Mm-hmm.

T: I'm not… you know, when I'm writing for a new outlet or going on national, TV I don't feel confident and I don't expect myself to feel confident. But what was a big shift for me was realizing I'm not even supposed to feel confident, I don't need to feel confident. I just need to know… I need to have some savvy about the self doubts and what to do when they're coming up, but I'm not trying to get them to go away. And I certainly will not wait for them to go away because they come up when we're doing the things that feel emotionally risky.

J: Is it asking too much? You know, I don't know if you want to reveal your secrets, but what do you do when the self doubts come up?

T: No, I'm happy to because this is… I mean, this is a big part of what I teach and so I certainly practice it as well. So I'll tell a story here because it's a good example. When my book was coming out about a… 6 weeks before the book was coming out, my publisher emailed and said, “Tara, great news. We've piqued the interest of the New York Times Sunday op-ed editors and they would like you to write an essay based on chapter 6 of the book for the Sunday review section,” and, you know, they needed it by Friday, whatever. And my very first thought, my very first response, was, “Oh no, this is terrible. All this is like going to be such a waste of time because I have to like do my real book launch here, and now I'm going to have to spend like this critical week trying to put together this piece because I like owe my publisher, you know, an attempt. But obviously it's never going to be published because people who write for the Sunday up at New York Times, you know, sound a certain way when they write; very articulate and grown-up. And, Tara, you don’t sound that way.”

J: Uh-huh.

T: So it took me about 3 or 4 days before. The very first time, I literally thought, you know, “Maybe that is not true; maybe that is my inner critic,” even though I had just written a book that was largely about the inner critic. Because when our own inner critic is speaking, it sounds really true to us, especially if it's right showing up in a new situation. But then I could take what I know about the inner critic and what I share and teach, which is, one, that is not the voice of truth, that is a voice that is always there because our safety instinct feels that there is some emotional risk in the situation that it doesn't like and they're just trying to get us to not take that emotional risk, and the way it's trying to get us to not take that emotional risk is by hurling these insults at us from the inner critic.

J: Mm-hmm.

T: So then I asked myself a question that I always recommend for women to ask; whenever you're hearing the voice of self-doubt, ask, “What does your safety instinct not like about the situation?”


J: Mm-hmm.

T: And when I asked that, I could see, “Oh my gosh, this is basically the worst possible nightmare on earth…”


T: “… for my safety instinct,” right? Like, “I care about my writing, I care about what people think of my writing and I don't want to be rejected by the New York Times. I don't want…” you know, there were so many fears; fear that my editor at the publisher was going to not like what I wrote, here that I couldn't do it, fear that the New York Times was going to be like, “Oh, nice try,” you know, “never mind,” or fear that it would get published. And then, you know, we as women know what happens, right, if we write something on the public sphere in a venue like a New York Times op-ed page, like some people will probably drive with it, lots of people will disagree with it, and there will be criticism and nobody harsh comments and all of that.

J: Mm-hmm.

T: So my safety instinct was like, “Absolutely not.” And how is it going to get me to not do that, you know, when I also of course… there were lots of parts of me that found that to be an exciting opportunity? Well, it was going to try and tell me there was no way. So then I could understand, “Okay, there's some very reasonable fears here, but not the fears that I want to have to be in charge.”

J: Mm-hmm.

T: And then the next thing I like to do is choose, “What is a personal value that I want to have be leading me here instead?” And so, in this case, it was a couple things. It was my value of self-expression, it was kind of a value of like taking a seat at the table; you know, to me, that op-ed page it was like an important table in our society…

J: Mm-hmm.

T: … that I felt like, “Okay, I believe in women and alternative voices taking a seat here and… and I'm going to do that.” And so focusing on those values allowed me to keep writing the piece. But the inner critic voice didn't go away, it was just that I understood why it was there and so I wasn't hoodwinked by it; but it was still there. And so there's still that flutter in the chest and there's some pachad and yirah through the whole writing process and the publication process. And, you know, my inner critic was totally wrong, you know? (Laughs)

J: Yeah.

T: Not only did they take the piece, it became… it was the number one most emailed piece of the week, you know, for that whole period.

J: Nice.

T: And so it was a great lesson to me of just how off-base, right, our inner critics can be. Again, we all learned that all the time, but it was… you know, we all need to relearn it all the time.

J: Ooh, that's fantastic. And if people want to learn more about your book or your course, where should they go?

T: Yeah, so you can go to taramohr.com. And it's a little bit of a unique spelling; it's Tara, t a r a, but Mohr is m o h r.com.

J: Yeah.

T: Or you can Google, ‘Playing Big’ is the name of the book and you can get it wherever you like to get books. And audio too; a lot of people these days are seem to be enjoying audio book, especially moms with how our lives are, right?

J: Yeah, yeah, right. Well let's take a quick break for our sponsor and then we'll come back and talk about some of your favorite things.

T: Great.

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(Interview resumes) [27:26]

J: Welcome back. And, Tara, let's talk about a few of your favorite things, starting with a habit that contributes to your success.

T: Hmm. Well, exercise. (Laughs)

J: Mm-hmm! Yes! (Laughs)

T: And, you know, we haven't talked a lot about motherhood, but… and I, in general, actually don't share that much about my motherhood life in my work, but I will share that, for me, I had a realization like not maybe 6 months ago of just that I am doing the most physical job I will ever do in my life right now.

J: Mm-hmm.

T: Nothing I've ever done has been so physically demanding and that, if I was doing any other job that was so physically demanding, like I would train for it and support my body to do it. So that's been really big because I… it requires a lot of physical strength to do my life right now.

J: Yeah, so exercise helps you with that, you'd say?

T: It does, yeah, yeah.

J: Mood and every… yeah. I like that. Yes, yes, and your kids are 3 and 8 months, is that right… ten months?

T: 3 and 10 months, yeah.

J: Yeah, you're in the thick of it. (Laughs)

T: I totally am.

J: Okay, so I’ll…


T: It is very thick.


J: Okay, this is going to be fun. So we talked a lot about routines in the world these days, what works for you right now with 2 young children? And be real, be real, because we know you're nursing and it doesn't look like a non nursing moms routine probably.

T: Yeah, and even, you know, as much as people say routine, routine, routine with kids, when you have kids this young, they’re… you know, things shifts so quickly that routine, it kind of changes the meaning of routine. But what I will say, you know, in terms of routine, some things that, you know, exercise and getting… and having that on my calendar so it's a non-negotiable meeting is big. I'm very committed to having my breakfast and my green tea in the morning no matter what else is going on. And there are a lot of days where it's like, “Hmm, this is going to be tricky. Like how am I going to cook eggs, you know, right now with whoever needs to be held at the moment or whatever?”

J: (Laughs). Uh-huh.

T: But I just find that the physical… like the foundation of not being hungry and, you know, my body's used to having that little bit of caffeine from the green tea at a certain amount, a certain time, and it is interesting how, if you're committed, you kind of work things around it and you make it happen. So just breakfast is like a fundamental routine for me.

J: Yeah, yeah. I love it.

T: And then another one that's been really big it's just like, I call my friends a lot, you know? And like I have a lot of long-distance girlfriends and so phone is primarily how we connect. And that's an important piece of my routine is like having the check-ins with them and just being able to look at our lives with humor and process what's happening and all of that.

J: Oh, that's really great. And I often don't hear people mentioning friends. I feel like, when we're moms, we let those friendships go more often than not; that's so sad.

T: Yeah, yeah. And, you know, I think it's interesting like the distinction between, you know, the 10 moms that you might be seeing at school drop off…

J: Yeah. (Laughs)

T: … versus… right, where you feel like, “Oh, I'm talking to my peer,” you know, versus like who are your dearest friends who you can really be real with and making sure you have time for that too.

J: Right, right. Well tell us about your favorite book.

T: Hmm. I definitely could never ever boil down to one, but I will recommend one that I recently read that has been just so thought-provoking. It's called ‘The Chalice and The Blade’.

J: Uh-huh.

T: It was published in the mid 80s, the author is Riane Eisler. And it is sort of a mix of anthropology and history, looking at societies throughout history and from all over the world and looking at a lot of archaeological evidence about the societies as, you know, either partnership based or domination based.

J: Really?

T: More egalitarian or more hierarchical. It's super fascinating and it's also quite fascinating in light of our contemporary political situation, and it has a big feminist bent; so I highly, highly recommend it to everybody.

J: Would you say our current society is more hierarchical based or it's more like that's being replaced and they're resisting, you know what I'm saying?

T: Yeah, yeah. So, first of all, every society is somewhere on that continuum, so… and on that spectrum. So it's not so much either/or but, you know, a highly dominator society would be extremely hierarchical and that includes within the family. And so part of that is like our family structure’s highly patriarchal where there's, you know, father above mother and parents above children and society also being structured that way. More partnership society is more egalitarian both in… you know, in business and in the structure of the government and… and within the family. And so I think she would, you know, say, “We're definitely not all the way on the end of the dominator continuum, especially with all the social change that's happened over the past 30 years,” but she does talk about these kind of… that there are waves of regressions into a more dominator end of the spectrum where we start kind of going back into a very hierarchical way of looking at groups and family structures and so on. And I think you could say some of what's happening is, you know, movement in that direction.

J: Yeah. Oh, that makes great sense. I'm going to read that for sure.

T: It's a really fascinating book.

J: Well, I know it's a trend in the workplace have more horizontal leadership instead of that vertical.

T: Right.

J: So I think we must be shifting…

T: Yeah.

J: Slowly. (Laughs)

T: Yeah.

J: What is the best advice you've ever received?

T: Hmm. The best advice I've ever received is from my own inner mentor. (Laughs)

J: Uh-huh.

T: And if… so in ‘Playing Big’ we talked a lot about this thing we call the inner mentor, which is like you're older, wiser self, then you sort of learn to ask her for advice instead of other people. And the advice I got from her very consistently when I was in that very lost place in my life was one word and it was ‘write’.

J: (Gasps) Ooh!

T: And she just kept telling me to write. And kind of everything that happened in my life and work came out of writing, so that was the best advice, and a little frustratingly succinct at the time it was given, right?

J: Wow. (Laughs)

T: But it was the right one to follow, yeah.

J: And what does it mean for you to be a vibrant happy woman?

T: Hmm. I'll go back to that, you know, idea of, it means I am living in alignment with my soul and that the things that make my soul feel alive and grateful and vital are being… I am spending time and energy to have those things in my life.

J: Okay, great. And, finally, a challenge to our listeners and then we'll say goodbye.

T: My challenge would be that something that you thought you needed to feel confident to do, instead of thinking of it as you need to be confident or wanting to be confident, think about, “If you had a new kind of relationship to yourself doubt, if you were aware of it but not letting it be in charge, what would you do?” and to go do something, even as your inner critic is talking about it really loudly.

J: Ooh, courage; that's courage right there. Do something, even if your inner critic is screaming at you.

T: Yes.

J: Awesome. Well, I'll remind our listeners they can find links to everything that you've shared at jenriday.com/87; our show notes page. And thank you so much for being on the show, Tara.

T: Thanks for hosting me, Jen. Great to talk with you, and thanks to everyone who is listening today.

J: I love that interview with Tara and I hope you did too. Be sure to join me next week when I'm talking with Candace Payne, ‘Chewbacca mom’. Now, if you don't know what I'm talking about, here's a little clip for you.


J: I could listen to that laugh all day, and I cannot wait for you to hear the interview with her next week. Until then start, laughing because you've got to be ready for this. And I’ll see you next time. Take care.

Intro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.

J: Should we have a blooper reel? We totally need a blooper reel.

Blooper: Hey, that’s what I’m talking about!