Tara Mohr, author of Playing Big, wants us all to reach for that promotion.
A leadership expert, Mohr began to see a pattern emerging in her work. Often hugely talented women – just like you – wouldn’t put themselves forward for a promotion, because they didn’t recognise their own brilliance.
So, she wrote ‘Playing Big’ – a step-by-step guide to achieving success by changing the way we think. The plan is based on the techniques she has honed over the last five years in her career workshops. Fast becoming a bestseller, her book is the career manual every woman should own.
Follow her top tips and say hello to a shiny new job title…
You’re thinking: I’m not good enough
Self-doubt is one of those niggling feelings that’s hard to shake, but take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone in thinking this way.
‘All women grapple with this voice of self-doubt in one way or another’, she explains. ‘For some women it is most prominent around their professional lives. For others, it comes up around their sense of competence as mothers or partners, appearance [or] creative dreams like writing.’
In ‘Playing Big’, Mohr recalls talking to a successful female entrepreneur who wanted to get more experience in public speaking. When she offered to put her in touch with the right people, the woman shied away from taking the next step because of her ‘inner critic’.
‘The costs of women’s self-doubts are enormous’, she says. ‘Think of all the ideas unshared, businesses not started, important questions not raised.’
So, how do you tame that annoying inner chatter? Try two of Mohr’s tried and tested techniques:
1. ‘Imagine you can simply turn down the volume on the critic’s voice. See an ‘inner critic volume dial’ in your mind’s eye and turn the volume way down.’
2. ‘Create a character that personifies your inner critic. When you create a character with a name and visual image, you help yourself remember that the critic is not the core of you, it’s one voice with its own personality.’
You’re thinking: I’m not qualified enough
Often not the case, says Mohr.
‘Talented women with a dream often believe they need another degree, training or certification because they are not enough as they are,’ she says.
This is what she calls a ‘hiding strategy’ – a way of excusing ourselves from taking the next step, while convincing ourselves we’re still moving forward.
‘Often brilliant women seek out more education for another reason: because getting the next training or degree is within our psychological comfort zone, and leaping in to playing big right now is not.’
Change your mindset by sharing what you already know, instead of following traditional routes.
You’re thinking: I’ll regret putting myself forward
Imagine if you could see into the future, wouldn’t making difficult decisions be so much easier? Well, Mohr thinks we can with a technique called ‘future-self visualisation’.
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Try this tonight. Dim the lights, close your eyes, take some deep breaths and relax. Then imagine you’re travelling 20 years into the future to meet your future self at their home. Mentally note down where they live and what they look like when they open the door. After a few minutes, ask them ‘What do I need to do to get where you are?’
Open your eyes and note down their response, along with what you saw. Now think about what she said – did she offer another solution or viewpoint that you hadn’t thought of? Mohr calls this your ‘inner mentor’.
‘There is a voice in all of us that is unburdened by fear and untouched by insecurity, that has utter calm and knows exactly who we would be if we were brave enough to show up as our true selves’, Mohr says.
‘The “inner mentor” is a way of accessing that part of us, a tool to tap into…You can think of her as a vision of the woman you’re growing into.’
Don’t be put off if the technique doesn’t work first time – Mohr says she struggled when she initially attempted it. Keep at it!
You’re thinking: I’m scared
Fear of the unknown is a completely natural feeling, but letting it take over will stop you achieving your dreams.
Mohr believes there are two types of fear, called Pachad and Yirah. Being able to tell the difference between them will help you to make that leap.
‘Pachad is the fear of projected or imagined things’, she says. For example, maybe you worry about what will happen in the future, if you were to put yourself forward and don’t do a good job.
‘Yirah is the feeling that we have when we inhabit a larger space than we’re used to or come in to possession of more energy than we’re used to.’ An example of this might be deciding what you really want to do. Suddenly you feel overwhelmed by the task ahead.
‘For many women, playing big – whether we’re just considering an action or in the midst of one – evokes both pachad and yirah’, she says. ‘Our work with yirah is to notice it and welcome it for what it is.’
‘Our work with pachad is to quiet it and manage it, because pachad-type fear often misleads us.’
So, next time you feel the fear, ignore the pachad, embrace the yirah and go for it!
Find even more career-boosting tips from Tara Mohr, buy ‘Playing Big’ (£8.99; Random House)
It’s not too late to get tickets for our 2016 MC@Work Live event on 23 April 2016, with inspiring speakers, tutorials and workshops.