Have you ever delayed finishing a book because it’s so damn good? Then a fair warning, this may be the consequence for you if you decide to pick up this book by entrepreneur and expert on women’s leadership and well-being, Tara Mohr. Playing Big: A Practical Guide for Brilliant Women Like You is an empowering consultation of one’s fears, a practical guide in engaging with the danger of playing small and a kind friend in helping you shift gears into operating in the divinity of your greatness.

In a brief introduction, Tara defines that “Playing Big is about bridging the gap between what we see in you and what you know about yourself. It’s about you living with a sense of greater freedom to express your voice and pursue your aspirations. It’s about refocusing your attention on your longings and dreams, and playing big in going for them.”. Sounds easy, right? Well, if it was, I don’t believe this ten brilliantly chaptered book would have been written, coupled with a course.

In this review, I’ll unpack a few of the themes highlighted in the ten chapters in the hopes that my experience of the read will give an informed decision on whether to 1. Explore the concept of Playing Big and/or 2. Purchase the book and engage with the content and concepts influenced by the Playing Big Leadership Programme for Women and finally, 3. That if you’re already Playing Big, then pass this information along to someone who’s overstayed their position in playing small.

This book is for women, tailored exclusively for us who have those constant dress rehearsals of playing big but the imposter syndrome veils our efforts. For those of us who collide with the opportunity to shift from a place of purpose and calling, and then fall short because systematically we’ve been coddled to not have too much ambition or aspirations – you know, for a girl. It’s for the crazy woman who’s crazy enough to dream big and with every muscle wants to play big, but there’s always something holding you back. Mohr unpacks a couple of themes in the book, and mentioning them all would be giving the whole plot away, so I’ll discuss a few that resonated with me:

Deciding with Discerning Fear

In the book, Tara details the two different types of fear as per Hebrew teachings, and that is Yirah and Pachad. The one that I want to focus on is Yirah, which is a fear that we recognise when we are inhabiting a larger space than we are used to – you know, that one that you honour for a few seconds when you speak into your dreams and power, and then abandon because it becomes overwhelming? That is the one. What’s comforting about this type of fear, is that it’s a kind of fear that operates on the council of your inner mentor when worked with wisely. How common of a relationship do you have with this fear, and how often do you honour it?

Being Kind to Yourself

I’ve mentioned it briefly above, and so does the author many a times in the book, and that is the power of the inner mentor. We’ve heard of the inner critic and let it protect us so many a times, that we shun the brave ideas that keep us from playing big because the risk was too high. In this chapter of Inner Wisdom, not only does Mohr introduce the concept of the inner mentor but she also calls for the introspection of the character development and nurturing of one’s inner critic. You’re going to love it!

Changing Your Language – Let it be Powerful!

With this particular theme, undermining speech habits used in networking environments and meetings or via email are analysed. Terms such as “Just”, “Kind of …” and disclaimers are a few of the ones that really hit home, and does no one any justice in delivering inarticulate messages. Are there any of these hedges or apologies sounding familiar? Then I’d recommend that you explore chapter 8, it’s the one for you.


One thing that this book is not, and upon the transparency of Tara, is a quick fix, so if you’re looking for one, then this book is not for you. It’s also not a motivational book (I honestly cannot stand those) that you put away once you’ve closed the last chapter. It’s a continuous and patient guide that only works unless you do, one day at a time and one powerful conversations with self at a time which then action into you playing big.

 Wishing you all the best as you enter into your Yirah and collide with your destiny, and feel empowered to Play Big – you deserve it!





Read 2769 times Last modified on Tuesday, 26 February 2019 00:21

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Vuyolwethu Dubese is a multiple award-nominated professional in impact and inclusive development, and innovation strategy. Over the past five years, she's served as a Startup Partnerships Lead for Africa for global intelligence firm, Thomson Reuters and as an Impact Acceleration Associate at investment and advisory firm, Impact Amplifier and served on boards. During this period, she has also worked with organisations like Foundervine, World Bank Group, Standard Bank, UCT Graduate School of Business, UNDP Africa and Accenture, Seedstars World, Redbull and Global Startup Awards to mention a few through her expertise. As a moderator, she's graced the stage at multiple high-level engagements in and outside of South Africa including the USAID Global Entrepreneurship Week, and the Timeless Women's Conference and Gala Dinner in Rwanda to mention a few.


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