With a professional background entirely in the academic and voluntary sectors (aside from retail work in college), I (Dr. Hinson) have joined the team at Abbey Research with a gap of knowledge about the business world and language. In part to share my perspective with you, while building my own capacity in C-suite knowledge, I will be continuing to review books which offer advice to businesswomen in a variety of fields.
Having already shared with you that 'leaning in' is not my favorite boardroom lexicon, today I am reviewing Tara Mohr's book about Playing Big. Tara Mohr is a life coach who has made it her work’s mission to help women realize their full potential by showing them how they can ‘play big.’ She is careful not to define playing big by the outdated notion of wealth and power, she states that she wants women who read this book to be able to figure out what ‘playing big’ really means to them, though using her stories, tools, and ideas.
So what does playing big mean, in practical terms? Mohr outlines her approach through building capacity within the individual. Through following her steps (complete with provoking journal questions), in each chapter Mohr unpacks some of the biggest obstacles facing women. What I appreciated about her approach was that she addressed a broad scope of issues, and gave a breadth of options for her readers to choose from. Never claiming that her leadership program is a fix all for everyone, I found her writing style and practicality very engaging.
Whether you are battling with (rather than accepting) your inner critic, finding it difficult to play big because of your working habits, or fear of exposure, each chapter provides relatable examples and succinct applications.
When I reflect on my own behavior in professional environments, what resonated most with me was how tough I can be on myself (the inner critic) and how I limit myself through my language (communicating with power). It can be daunting at times to consider making a number of changes to your professional approach, but Mohr ensures her tools are concise and structured. The best personal/professional improvement books are accessible, but also the ones that prompt us to reflect on our past experiences and what kinds of changes we want to make in order to achieve our goals.
So, if you are considering changing your email approach, or following your calling, Mohr has advice on it all, and addresses her readers from a voice of empathy and empowerment, two qualities which are essential for providing encouraging spaces for women to grow and change.