Tara Mohr’s book affected me so much that I almost want to pretend I didn’t read it. I recognized myself so many times. “Chapter 1: The Inner Critic” ought to offer you a hint. Playing Big is about all the many ways that we let fear hold us back, especially when it comes to the most important things, such as finding our true calling and contributing at the highest level of which we are capable. This is one of the best of the genre.
There were several stand-out concepts for me in this book. One of the biggest was learning to identify two types of fear, based on two separate Hebrew words. Pachad fear “is the fear of projected or imagined things.” The other is called yirah fear, and this is how Mohr describes it. “1. It is the feeling that overcomes us when we inhabit a larger space than we are used to. 2. It is the feeling we experience when we suddenly come into possession of considerably more energy than we had before. 3. It is what we feel in the presence of the divine.”
What if we’re scaring ourselves with the sheer and stunning enormousness of our destiny? What if what we’re feeling is closer to awe than anxiety?
I always feel so keyed up the night before a foot race that I can’t sleep. On the morning of my first 5k, I was so “out of it” that I managed to put my underwear on sideways. I’ve felt the same way before leaving for long trips. Even though it’s something I really want to do, something I’ve planned and researched, even when I know I’m as prepared as I’ll ever be, I still feel anxious. Now I understand that this is a different type of anxiety from the “bad things might happen” worrywart kind. (As I was typing “bad things might,” I automatically typed “happy.” Interesting).
Another section that really made me think was the chapter about “Unhooking from Praise and Criticism.” I had never considered the two in the same context before. Many of us have a tendency to want to get the A+ and ask for extra credit. We’ll do whatever it is that looks like the way to earning positive feedback, even if that has nothing much to do with our calling or our priorities. It’s much harder for us to feel like we are venturing into the unknown or making our own rules.
(Here is your permission to go and do whatever you want without asking for permission).
Playing Big is a fascinating, thought-provoking book. It would be a fantastic choice for a book club. There are visualizing and journaling exercises in each chapter, and they are worth careful consideration. The topic of why we downplay our natural talents, hold ourselves back, and stop before playing big, is one that deserves examination on a societal level. How we can start Playing Big is the most interesting question of all.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.