Inspired Living: An Interview w/ Tara Mohr, Personal Growth Coach & Writer

Hola everyone!  Hope you’re having an awesome week so far!  The days have been glorious lately with all of the sunshine, singing birds, and flower buds bursting through the earth just in time for Spring.  A renewed spirit and an open heart beckons on today’s blog.  I am so so happy to introduce to you Tara Mohr; a phenomenal person who has inspired so many individuals (myself included) to live an authentic passion-filled lifestyle.  She focuses on teaching personal growth through her writing and coaching.  Tara is a regular blogger for The Huffington Post and on her own blog Wise Living.   And now she is launching an incredible leadership program called Playing Big, which I am so excited to be participating in.  I recently interviewed Tara for my Inspired Living series and I was truly enlightened by her insight.   She shed light on dealing with our fears and doubts, the importance of letting our ideas and passions flow, and what it means to Play Big. All, I give you Tara Mohr…!! Me:  Please give a brief overview of who you are and what you do. Tara: I’m a writer and coach, and my work focuses on helping women fulfill their full potential in life and work – to lead and create more boldly, to show up more authentically in their lives. I bring a unique background to this work – I have an MBA from Stanford and a background in leadership and organizational change – and combine that a lifelong passion for spirituality and personal growth work, as well as training as a coach. The women that connect with my work really appreciate the blend of mind and heart, spirituality and practicality, inner transformation and outer impact. Me:  In a recent article you wrote for the Huffington Post, you spoke about the phrase “Playing Big”.  Could you elaborate on that idea? Tara: Several months ago, I wrote an article called 10 Rules for Brilliant Women. It was about how I coach so many brilliant women – women with tremendous creative gifts and incredible ideas that could change the world. The problem? They don’t recognize their brilliance, or own it in the world. Playing Big is really about leaving all that behind, and moving into a new way of being where we trust our creative impulses more fully, put ourselves and our work on the world’s stage, and stand behind our ideas more tenaciously and bravely. It’s about letting our voices flow freely from us – instead of stopping them up with self-doubt. I sometimes think about how on the average Saturday morning walk with my girlfriends, I hear so many ideas and insights that could change the world – and I hear them from ethical, smart, creative women who we’d all benefit from having in positions of leadership. Playing Big is about those ideas being at the tables that matter, and those women having more power to change our world. I think that women need inner work – around self-doubt and trusting their voices to Play Big, but they also need “outer work” training in specific skills and connection to resources – in order to have a big impact in the world. Me: Sometimes we give in to doubting our own abilities and talents, which can lead to more paralyzing negative thoughts.  Why do you think so many of us get stuck in this train of thought, and what can be done to break free of it? Tara: It’s a great question. There are a few reasons “why” we get stuck here. We are all wired to avoid potential failure, humiliation, or rejection. Self-doubt is actually a way we can stay safe from those outcomes – because self-doubt keeps us from taking the leaps that might lead to criticism or failure.  On top of that, there are cultural factors that contribute to self-doubt for women. And then there are negative individual experiences we’ve had that can get stuck in us like a broken record, and contribute to self-doubt.  But the “why” is a lot less important than the question of what can be done about self-doubt. It turns out that there are simple tools and practices we can use to significantly lessen self-doubt, and much of the work I do with women is about teaching them those tools. The first thing I recommend is to start recognizing your inner critic when it shows up. You’ll know your inner critic because it’s repetitive, irrational, and it’s voice usually has a kind of anxious, chattering tone to it. Sit down with your journal and just inventory the things your critic says, or keep notes over a few days. What does it say about your appearance? Your capabilities? Then, imagine: if this voice were a person, what kind of person would it be: male, female, old, young? Create a character for this voice. For example, I’ve had clients whose inner critic was a stern professor or anxious, worrying old woman. Then give your critic a name. The name could be a regular name like Lucy, or a word (one of my inner critic voices is called “perfectionista”). Start naming your critic when he/she shows up, just like ths: “Hi Lucy. Thanks for sharing your input.” This brings a lightness and humor to the whole inner critic thing and most importantly, it allows you to separate yourself from that voice. We tend to conflate our own best thinking with that voice, but really, it’s very separate from who we really are. In the separation from it, we have choice: do I want to listen to this voice or not? Does it help me or hinder me? Do I have any evidence that what it is saying is true? Me: You’re launching a new woman’s leadership and professional development program called Playing Big.  Can you talk a little bit more about the program and what led you to create it? Yes. I’m so excited about this! It came out of the reality that so many creative, talented women are playing small. They know it, and they want to change it. But how do we do that? How do we start playing big? I believe we need a mix, a recipe so to speak, of several components. We need a supportive community of like-minded women. We need practices to overcome self-doubt and fear, and let go of our attachment to praise and people-pleasing. We need tools to help us clarify our purpose or calling in the world. That’s the inner work. But we also need “outer work” -- practical skills training – in negotiation, pitching/self-promoting, public speaking/communication, getting media attention – what I call “critical skills for world-changing.” The program includes all of those components. We also have an incredible host of outside experts sharing their wisdom in the program – women like #1 NY Times bestselling author Gretchen Rubin, Kiva.org founder Jessica Jackley, Shutter Sisters founder Tracey Clark, best-selling author Jennifer Louden, and many others. The program ends with each woman leaping into action and doing a “playing big” project, with the support of the other women in the program. I want to thank Tara for warmly sharing her thoughts with us.  If you have any questions for Tara or want to share your thoughts on what was said on today’s interview; please feel free to comment below. Receive cool freebies when you register for the Playing Big program today!  This is a perfect opportunity to those of you who are pursuing your passions or need help sharing your ideas or creativity with the world.  For more information on the program, I encourage you to check it out and sign up here! Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please share on TwitterFacebook. See Beauty… Ariane Note:  This interview ran a bit a long so we had to cut it short.  But to see more of the interview, please free to click here.
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Inspired Living: An Interview w/ Valia Glytsis: Personal & Executive Coach, Motivational Speaker

This is the first of what I hope to be an ongoing series of inspiring interviews from people who have a desire to help others by sharing their personal stories of what it means to find your passion.  This is a topic that is so very close to my heart and I believe that everyone should be motivated in their journey to live with purpose.  In this first installment, I am so pleased to introduce Valia Glytsis.  You may remember her from a photo session I did with her back in November.  I am so glad we crossed paths because I found her to be such a positive inspiring person as she had found what she was meant to do with her life.  I hope that her story and perspective can help inspire you in your journey. Please welcome Valia. Me: Please just give a brief introduction of who you are, where you’re from, and what you do. Valia:   Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my story. My name is Valia Glytsis and I am on an incredible journey right now. Looking back, I had a very happy childhood filled with opportunity, education, and exposure to different cultures and ideas. This openness fueled a natural curiosity within me to search for meaning underneath the surface. I like to think of it as finding a road less traveled – my road. I was born in New York City and raised in Northern New Jersey. After graduating Georgetown, I started my career in marketing where I learned so much about the dynamics of interpersonal communication between both people and brands. Several years later, I earned my Executive MBA from Columbia University to enhance my business and management skills. Since then, I have been immersed in management and marketing consulting for various companies and brands. I currently live in New York City with my husband and am pursuing my passion as a Life & Leadership coach for individuals, Executives, groups, and beyond. Me:  You’ve spent nearly ten years in a successful career but decided to give it up to pursue a new venture as a Personal and Executive Life, Leadership, and Empowerment Coach.  What made you decide it was time to finally take the risk and go after your dreams and live your passions? Valia:   It’s funny – becoming a Life & Leadership coach wasn’t very much of a decision at all. On the contrary, it was something much more subtle (yet powerfully profound). Throughout my entire life, I have known that I’m meant to help others in some way. This voice has been within me since I was a little girl (we all have this voice but it’s often blocked by the “shoulds” and “musts” that society engrains in us). One day, I was so incredibly frustrated with work because I felt that I was not offering any true value (beyond the business scope) – I wasn’t making the world a better place. The frustration turned into a panic and then sadness. I lost my fire, drive and energy and actually starting feeling numb. Without any other choice, I began to listen. And then the magic started. The moment I just sat still and actually listened to my heart and intuition, everything shifted. The direction was not obvious at first, but there was a sense of calm and knowingness that guided my every move. I knew that if I were true to what was inside of me, I could not fall. Looking back, becoming a coach was not a decision at all. It was a very effortless progression of coming back to my true self who had been buried under layers and layers of what I thought was the “right” thing to do. Me:   I think a lot of us out there worry that we will never find our passion or once we reach a certain age it’s pointless to even keep looking for it.  At what age did you realize what you were meant to do? Was your passion something you actively searched for or did it just kind of happen? Valia:   I think my journey started exactly at that point where we start to worry that we’ll never find our calling or our true North Star. In the past, this worry would turn into action and I would just start doing things – literally: making lists, going back to school, volunteering for more work projects, and so on. I fooled myself into thinking that by keeping busy and constantly working, I would fast-forward to the passion and fulfillment. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It was when I was brave enough to just BE for a few moments a day that I was able to access the incredible power of my heart, my knowingness, my sense of abundance and trust. And let me be clear, this did not happen from one day to the next – again, it was very subtle. However, I felt different – a bit calmer and an ounce happier. I have been blessed to experience this early in my life but I don’t think our heart’s calling judges time or space. Anyone can start tuning in and listening at ANY point in his or her life. While I might be thrilled to find my passion and make it a career, someone else might just be searching for more time for a hobby or a chance to mend a broken relationship. Everyone’s story is an individual journey – but the key to finding the road is quite simply, to look inside. And then start listening. Me:   We all deal with inner voices that talk us out of going after our hopes and dreams.  Has this ever happened to you and if so how did you overcome it? Valia:   I’d be shocked to find a person who didn’t experience these inner voices that mask our trust and intuition. I like to call them gremlins because once we can personify them and actually look them in the eye, their power over us subsides and even evaporates at times. My personal gremlin is “control” – I feel that if I can control a situation, it will all work out on my terms, the way I plan, and so on. Of course my gremlin is sadly mistaken because at the end of the day, we are humans on a journey and control is one thing that we absolutely do not have. By acknowledging this gremlin and searching back in the past to see where I’ve given it permission to thrive, I’ve been able to cut it at the root and observe it for what it ultimately is – fear and insecurity. There is something incredibly powerful about being able to concretely identify your worries and self-doubts. Ironically, by letting go of these false senses of control, you gain the ultimate control – the control over your thoughts, actions, and way of being. Me:   Sometimes we can be our own worst enemies by thinking of a thousand excuses of why we shouldn’t pursue our passions i.e family obligations, money, not being good enough. What was your personal experience with this like and what do you think is the best way to overcome this way of thinking? Valia:  I couldn’t agree more – we really are the only ones that can ultimately stand in our way. I remember sitting in a finance class while getting my MBA and wondering what on earth I was doing there – they might as well have been speaking in Chinese to me. Everything felt so hard and nearly impossible. Why? Because I was there for the “right” reasons according to everyone else but myself. I have a very simple philosophy on this, which has helped me through so much the past few years: When something feels hard (your emotions, experiences, energy), it’s very likely wrong for you. When something feels easy and effortless, you are on the right track so it’s your clue to keep going. This may sound too simplistic, but I believe that herein lies the answer to silencing these voices and ultimately coming back to our inner truths. When we are in flow and life is unfolding effortlessly, we are on our way to living our passions and dreams. Me:   Having a great support system from family and friends is such a precious thing to have when searching for your passion or embarking on a new life adventure.  Is this something you’ve always had or did you need to actively seek out support from people who shared your vision? Valia:   I have been very blessed to grow up believing in limitless possibilities. Of course as we get older, this ideal image of the world and our capabilities get clouded with judgments, peer pressure, societal norms, and more. In that respect, I feel that my constant search for meaning has isolated me at times. Not everyone reaches a place where they’re ready to dive into a journey of self-exploration. There have been many times that I’ve wanted to talk about these puzzling ideas and feelings and it has felt lonely, particularly because I knew I was on the right track so couldn’t look back. In this seeming isolation, I learned one of my greatest lessons: never underestimate the power of YOU in supporting yourself. This might mean taking time to write or meditate, practice yoga or go for a long walk. The power of self-healing and self-comfort is truly profound because no matter what, you know in your heart that you will always be OK. Ironically enough, once you’re able to truly BE with yourself, you will simply attract more support from those around you, organizations, other like-minded people, and so on. But the first step on that journey towards support and nurturing is to look inside, rather than outside. The external support from those around you will quickly follow once you’re ready for it. Me:   Now that you’re on this new journey in your life, if you could go back in time about ten years ago to your former self, what wisdom do you have now that you didn’t back then? Valia:   What a great question – a true coaching question! Throughout this journey, I have begun to tap into my spiritual side. Even though I’ve only explored the tip of the iceberg, it has really felt like a sort of awakening. No matter what your personal beliefs on religion, spirituality is much more discrete. It’s about your place in the universe and how you connect to everything around you – people, nature, experiences, feelings. By tapping into spirituality, I have discovered the feeling and essence of knowingness. Some would call it trust or faith – I call it knowingness. It’s the feeling in the bottom of your heart and the center of your being that just KNOWS you’re exactly where you’re meant to be in the world right now. Of course looking back in hindsight is always 20/20, but I would love to give the gift of knowingness to myself 10 years ago. Another coach shared some thoughts with me on knowing that I find transformative: “Prosperity is a true, absolute and unshakable knowing; a knowing that we have everything we need, we are being taken care of and all of our needs are met in Divine and perfect time, in every area of our lives, always and effortlessly.” If you knew that everything would end up just perfectly for you, what would you do today? What passion would you pursue? What fears would you set aside? Behind the answers to these questions lies the key to your journey and coaching is the vehicle to get you there. Open yourself to the possibilities… what if happiness were only the beginning? I want to thank Valia for sharing her story with all of us.  Doing this interview with her certainly opened my eyes to a lot of things and I hope it did for you as well.  I welcome your thoughts and feedback on what was said on today's interview; please feel free to share your stories as well. Valia is offering a complimentary session to any of my readers who would like to learn more about her coaching services.  This is a perfect opportunity to those of you who are pursuing your passions or discovering your personal journey.  For more details, feel free to reach out to her: Valia Glytsis Personal & Executive Leadership Coach, Motivational Speaker Phone: (646) 820-2520 Email: valia.glytsis@gmail.com See Beauty... Ariane Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please share on TwitterFacebook.
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