Taking that leap

Tara Mohr meets Chuck Sandy
Tara Mohr meets Chuck Sandy

I finally took the leap. I took the leap from playing small and took some steps towards playing big. (click here to tweet) You see, since I began training teachers, I’ve dreamed of facilitating sessions on the concept of compassionate communication, where I’d ask the teachers in our program to delve more deeply into empathy for the self and others. But instead of doing this, I listened to my inner critic. My inner critic’s favourite story has been that I am not qualified enough to do such a thing, and that the teachers probably wouldn’t want to participate. And, who am I to push this concept on them anyway? Then walks in Tara Mohr. I first heard her speak with Tami Simon on the Insights at the Edge podcast about how common it is for women to stay small mostly due to the voice of this inner critic. Playing big, as Tara explains in her book, is about:

“learning how to use your voice to change those systems. It’s not about “opting in” or “opting out” according to our society’s current thinking (…) It’s about turning away from those labels, refocusing your attention and longings and dreams, and playing big in going for them.”

One way she suggests doing this is by taking a leap. What she said got my psyched, so guess what I did? Below are six criteria that Tara suggests for taking a leap. I’ll explain my leap while looking back on what happened in relation to these six.

1. It gets you playing bigger now, according to what playing bigger means to you.

Playing big for me means helping teachers deal with teacher burnout via healing strategies such as of self-compassion, and empathic listening within a community.

2. It can be finished within one to two weeks.

The discussion group ended in less than five months. But to be fair, our meetings were quite spread out. We met a total of 5 times over 5 months.

3. It’s simple: an action that you could describe in a short phrase.

My phrase was – to facilitate a bi-weekly discussion group.

4. It gets your adrenaline flowing because a leap stretches you out of your comfort zone.

Yes! Although I was comfortable with facilitating a group of this nature, I was going out of my comfort zone offering this idea to the teachers in our program. I started out by giving an introduction to everyone in the course (16 in-service teachers) about the concept of compassionate communication — basically helping them develop their literacy of feelings and needs. I also lead a session where we read the article on teacher burnout and self-compassion. With this basic foundation, I felt comfortable about telling them about my ideas of starting a discussion group. 10 teachers volunteered, and about 8 stayed until the end. My adrenaline has definitely been flowing.

5. A leap puts you in contact with the audience you want to reach or influence.

I have learned so much from these teachers: about how my approach has influenced them and could also influence them in the future. I have recorded each session and I am currently waiting for individual feedback. But that being said, I already received the best feedback I could ever ask for during our last session. On the last day our group met (December 23, 2014), I asked the teachers to share what needs were fulfilled by their final discussion. I’ll save the details for another post, but let me just say I felt incredibly touched and connected. At the end session, I gave each teacher one of these magnets below, and encouraged them to use it as a reminder to not to give up on themselves. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. I feel pretty confident there’s no playing small anymore. don't give up #redthumbforlove *Cynthia Gray is the artist behind the “Don’t Give Up” magnet project. *I also want to thank Chuck Sandy who inspired me to take my first leap at the beginning of this year. Chuck inspired me in creating the #redthumbforlove Self-Compassion for Teachers project. This first leap gave me great strength to try this new leap.  This is what Chuck does. He inspires people into faith (a nod to the picture at the top of this post), and I am ever grateful to him for helping me find faith in myself. My inner critic will forever be annoyed with this little glitch in its storyline. ;)

18 thoughts on “Taking that leap

  1. Josette, you inspired me to “Take the Leap”! I’ve launched the Reflective Practice Group I’ve been thinking and talking about for so long! Thank you for modeling “playing big” for me!


  2. Its good to know the thoughts of a teacher. My teaching transformed me from a teacher mindset to that of a learner ~ only then did I feel truly rewarded. Thank you and wish you a lovely New Year.


    1. Thank you so much for your comment and apologies for replying so late. I connect to your ideas regarding the teacher as learner mindset. The more we learn the more we realize we know nothing. :) Happy new year to you as well!


  3. Yeah for another step into your Greatness, Josette…was left anxiously wanting to know the details of the teacher’s experience with compassionate communication! Thanks for “passing forward” what has been given to you!


  4. I just wanted to let you know that once again I found us to be connected by some invisible substance. I opened my mailbox the other day and saw this notification from WP that you’d just blogged. And there was this picture of Chuck’s FB post showing. And the most recent picture in my phone at that point was the screenshot of this picture of Chuck’s FB post. The day before I’d just been convinced by that very post that I can take that leap of faith, for what I need it.

    Whatever it is we are thinking about, however far apart these things could be, I always feel connected on some level. That is all! =)

    And I’m very happy to hear of your experience and how it turned out for you. I’m sure there’s more ahead.


    1. As you may know, I love stories about synchronistic moments, and so this means that I love this comment. :) Thank you so much for sharing this sequence of realizations here. Actually, the picture I posted at the top of this page was also such a moment. I was reading chapter 7 and happened to read a comment on Chuck’s post, and when I looked up, this what I saw. Perfection.

      Yay for connection! I feel the same my dear. Thank you as always for your support. Big hugs and happy new year!


  5. Thanks for this post, Josette. I’d like to tell you that I strongly believe in leaps. I mean, we consciously take small steps towards our goals but now and then, without actually putting in too much effort, we manage to take a leap. This is like a gift, a miracle, and a reward for our perseverance and patience. Leaps encourage us to carry on believing and taking small steps. I really love the idea of self-compassion you promote so passionately. The inner critic can be terribly irritating and it’s good to know that it’s important to love and forgive oneself before one can do something big for others…


    1. And thank YOU for commenting Hana! Your words always make me smile. It’s as if all your words come from your heart and go straight into mine. Actually, it’s not “as if”; it is so. I love the idea that leaps are like gifts. They are nourishing as you say. It seems like being able to articulate that I am taking a leap makes the experience more meaningful and more memorable. More intentional maybe. Perhaps instead of using the term “goal” from now on I use “leap”. There is something magical about that.

      And thank you for supporting my passion, and also articulating it’s value so beautifully. self-forgiveness is key to care for others indeed. I also thank you for generously sharing your #redthumbforlove http://redthumbforlove.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/redthumbforlove-in-the-czech-republic/



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