Thing Finding Thursday with Tara Sophia Mohr

Remember that beach vacation when you were a kid and your older sibling was off chasing boys (or girls) and you were on your own? And your parents, who were more interested in their sangria than managing your social life, distractedly waved you off to “go make a friend” and it seemed impossible in that moment until you saw HER and went over and said: “let’s be friends” and she said yes?

For me, that was Tara Sophia Mohr. We’ve been hanging out on the same beach for a while now and I’ve always been curious about her and her sandcastles (they always seem SO WELL put together). And do you recall the 2012 planning post wherein I declared my search for a publicist and I committed to “Ask my coaching colleagues/peers who they work with (by Dec 31, 2011)”?

That’s what I did. I asked the girl with the well constructed (and beautiful) sandcastle for a Skype chat and she said yes.

I knew she was wise. I knew she was wonderful. What I wasn’t prepared for was how WARM she is. (Frequent and regular Skype tea dates are in the works.)

If you don’t know her, here’s what she’s up to in this world. She’s an expert on women’s leadership and women’s wellbeing. She has created the wildly popular “10 Rules for Brilliant Women” and the 6-month Playing Big women’s leadership program (full disclosure: that there is an affiliate link), Tara’s work has been featured on The Today Show, ForbesWoman, USA Today, More Magazine and is regularly published in Huffington Post. She received her undergraduate degree from Yale University and her MBA from Stanford University. Tara is also the author of Your Other Names: Poems for Wise Living.

Cerebral and soulful stuff. Interested in hearing about her path? Me too.

What’s your thing?

Tara Sophia Mohr:  My thing is being Tara. These days (these years, really,) that generally looks like this:

  • bringing women’s voices into the world
  • helping women play bigger
  • speaking-writing-communicating to bring about the world I want to see. every day there is something new to say. I love saying it.
  • letting poems come through.
  • creating beauty. basking in beauty.
  • laughing in community, being with friends, being over the moon happy that you (and you, and you and you) exist and are right here, with me!
  • being silly and dancing around the apartment cracking up my husband.
  • compassion, compassion, compassion, because compassion is the natural expression of wisdom, the fruit of seeing things as they really are.

Note on the above: nothing in my life is linear. So please picture these words in a big swirling circle, not in a list.

Was finding your thing the result of a divine revelation, an insane invention, a culmination of insights…or something else?

Tara Sophia Mohr: It was a return. It was a return to my childhood dreams. I’m not someone who was fundamentally confused about what my thing was, though I spent many years saying “I don’t know what my thing is.” Translation: “My thing might be that thing I’ve been dreaming of since I was five, but frankly that thing seems too impractical and scary to go for, so I’ll ignore that and take some career assessment tests instead.”

I don’t think we all “find” our things. I did some combination of remember, recover, listen and experiment my way into my thing.

There was a time in my life about four years ago when I made a pretty radical shift toward living a more authentic life and career. I don’t know what caused that to happen on one day and not another, but the change felt precipitated by intensifying pain: the pain of the inauthentic way of living grew great enough that I was willing to face the discomfort involved in change.

When the old shoe really, really, really gets uncomfortable? That’s when I often start to make change. But what causes the shoe to get uncomfortable at a certain point? Something mysterious, something that has to do, I believe, with the timeline of our soul’s unfoldment.

Obstacles/fears/doubts – what were they, how’d you vanquish them?

Tara Sophia Mohr:  For me, life has often felt like trying to sew together two pieces of fabric: one piece is my authentic self. The things she loves. Her natural, confident, uninhibited, blissed-out self. Picture a happy five year old, totally unself-conscious, in her element, doing her thing. That’s piece of fabric #1.

The other piece of fabric is the world: the more competitive, judgmental landscape where that natural self was not always welcomed or safe or validated.

How to sew the two together? How to make them connected, so I can move across them easily? How to walk in the world as my authentic self comfortably and confidently – to say what I had to say – no matter how radical or how ridiculed?

That has been my primary challenge. What has helped me has been in part outer: having powerful support people in my life –community, teachers, friends – who gave me tools and championed my dreams when I was just getting started in listening to them and acknowledging them. But inner work has been equally important, particularly work around 1) clarifying my vision 2) understanding what the inner critic is and how it operates and 3) getting wise about how to deal with fear.

The programs I lead are very informed by what has most helped me – and what most helps the other women I work with.

What questions did you ask yourself to trigger your a-ha moments…and what signs and milestones should others be looking for in their journeys?

Tara Sophia Mohr: Some of my favorite questions:

What is my message to share in this situation, my unique truth? (Note: if no one else sees what you are saying or is talking about what you are thinking, that makes your perspective more needed, not less; more valuable not less).

What does my heart need in order to follow itself? (In any situation to ask your heart, “Dear heart: what do you need right now, to follow yourself?”)

How can I be a representative of love in this situation? (This question has saved me a hundred times. Saved me from pettiness, fear-based responses, aggression and brought me right back into love. You be surprised how well it works in business environments too.)

***

I’m appreciating the notion of the two fabrics. I’m appreciating her powerful questions. I’m appreciating the power of support systems. And I’m appreciating the worn shoe metaphor. I’m appreciating it all.

What are you appreciating?

Please share in the comments or let’s talk about this on Facebook OR go ahead and spread her wisdom with your people on Twitter.

Tweetworthy Tara Sophia Mohr-isms (for your sharing pleasure)

  • compassion is the natural expression of wisdom - @tarasophia to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8iXlq #TFThurs
  • Meet challenge with powerful support systems and inner work.- @tarasophia to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8iXlq #TFThurs
  • finding yur thing may be more like remembering, recovering, listening + experimenting your way in. – @tarasophia http://ow.ly/8iXlq #TFThurs
  • In challenge, ask: How can I be a representative of love in this situation? – @tarasophia to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8iXlq #TFThurs 
  • In any situation, ask your heart: What do you need right now, to follow yourself? - @tarasophia to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8iXlq #TFThurs
  • Along yur path, ask: What is my message to share in this sit’n, my unique truth? @tarasophia to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8iXlq #TFThurs

——–

You can find Tara Sophia Mohr at her site; or on Twitter.

 

 

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18 Responses to Thing Finding Thursday with Tara Sophia Mohr

  1. Pingback: Tara Sophia Mohr | wise living » Three Conversations

  2. Lindsey says:

    Tanya, I adore this series … and I’m a big Tara fan. So in general I’m just very happy reading all of these words. I too resonate with the image of the fabrics, and am engaged in that very sewing challenge now myself. Both of you are inspirations to and lights on the path for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you. xox

  3. Teresa Deak says:

    Thank you both for this! I don’t know if Tara knows that she is the mirror of my heart, my soul doppelganger. I am at once smitten and feel a deep personal knowing. I hope that doesn’t seem too stalker-ish.

    And I am on the cusp of sharing my Thing. Of being able to describe it in a way that someone new may understand. And the richness of it gives me goosebumps and the possibilities make me giddy!

    Thank you, Tanya, for this series – it has been enlightening and juicy and delicious! Thank you, Tara, for being Tara so very fully! Lush and rich and beautiful!

    Hugs and butterflies,
    ~Teresa~

  4. This is a perfect description of the journey I’m on at the moment. I love the idea of “remember, recover, listen, and experiment.” That sums up what I’m doing each and every day – bit by bit. I feel a little like the caterpillar who is still mid-metamorphisis, but will (hopefully!) soon emerge in a new form … one that enables me to bring more flight and color and sparkle into my life and the lives of those around me.

    Thank you for acknowledging the way we have to stitch all the disparate pieces together. Too many writers out there make readers feel like it should change should just be smooth and instantaneous … but it takes time and effort and intention to cobble together the life we want, and then continue refining and adding and refining and adding until we’ve built ourselves the castle of our dreams (or, maybe it’s a stone cottage on a mountainside …)

    Anyway, thank you. Always enjoy your work.

  5. Tamisha says:

    I highly respect Tara & loved reading about her “thing.” Thank you for bringing these wonderful convos to us, Tanya. The one thing that resonated for me louder than anything else I read was “how can I be a representative of love in this situation?” You know when you read something and your eyes keep popping back to it, even though you’re trying really hard to move on? Yeah, that happened. I think it happened because it’s hardddddd to do! It is not easy. Sometimes choosing love isn’t something we even ask ourselves to do. I think it’s essential to choose pausing and we would choose love more often. Then…maybe it would grow easier. More pauses….more consideration….more love.

    • Tanya says:

      You are soooo about love, Dear Tamisha! In fact, I make up it’s likely one of your top values along with connection, compassion (and independence I am thinking). Your capacity for appreciation amazes me when I see you around “the space”. xo

  6. Hello, hello!

    This is my first time commenting here and I just want to thank you for what you do and the way you do it. You mentioned Tara’s warmth, and it’s obvious she is an absolutely beautiful soul – this interview was so illuminating and the part about the 3 questions was the clincher for me. You did such a wonderful job of bringing her wisdom out.

    Tanya, you too are spreading this insane warmth + energy around the interwebs so thank you for lifting me up. What you’re doing is so important.

    Mad gratitude… and keep it comin’
    Rach xx

    PS: how awesome are your commenters? I feel like I’ve come home. Kinda want to hang and play here all day.

    • Tanya says:

      Aren’t they just, Rach? My ritual for replying to commenters is to make sure I have a full cup of tea and a clear mind. I want to soak up their loveliness.

      And WELCOME! What a generous howdy-do from you. Off to go find out all about YOU and what has YOU so delightfully radiant. xo

  7. Grace Dewey says:

    Hi Tanya!
    I’ve recently discovered both Tara’s and your work and I’m very inspired by you both! As I try to return to my true, beautiful self and start my own business as a holistic health, self-love, and empowerment coach I’ve found such support and comfort in the work of you two beautiful ladies. I loved the metaphor of the two pieces of fabric – this is entirely how I feel and I’ve often felt that I was meant to be born in another time and place. My deep passion for my work is in part fueled by my desire to reshape the world we live in into a place where my true self, and I believe the true self of all people, feels more at home – a word of love and compassion and fearless self-love and self expression.

    I also LOVE the question: what does my heart need in order to follow itself? I’m working on this one for sure! I’ve spent my teen years mostly fighting and ignoring the messages of my heart and now I’m trying to become intimately connected with them again.

    So thank you for this article, and thank you for all the work that you women do! I look forward to reading more.
    xx

    • Tanya says:

      Oh Grace! Am so appreciating how you’re bringing it! I love the feeling that your journey is well in service of you (natch) AND your people. It’s like Tara said: “The programs I lead are very informed by what has most helped me – and what most helps the other women I work with.” And “programs” can be swapped out for “products I create”, “art I make”, “the coaching I do”. Go on with your fine self. Your peeps are waiting. xo

  8. Thank you for this dose of Tara! I met her in Taos. She is a truly grace-ful combination of warmth and wisdom.

  9. Emma says:

    What am I appreciating? This post!! So much of what Tara shared rang loud and clear with me – but she has put it so much more eloquently! She’s a great inspiration. Thank you for sharing! x

  10. Summer says:

    When I read your posts, I feel as though I am curled up on the couch across from an old friend. I was wearing those lovely…yet worn out shoes for a long time! I loved and appreciated them so much, but the pain forced me to “find my thing” after so long. My thing is finding balance between having my own business all the while remaining a faithful rock n roll mommy and wife. To be fearless again! Your posts are such an inspiration! Thank you Tanya!

  11. Pingback: Thing Finding Thursday – What’s YOUR Thing? | Tanya Geisler - Step into Your Starring Role

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