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It’s time to start playing big

  • Published
  • By Capt. Milagros Gargurevich and Capt. Andrea Krunnfusz
  • 88th Air Base Wing Medical Operations Squadron
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — We’re all familiar with self-doubt. It’s that pesky inner voice that holds us back, the voice that tells us we aren’t ready for whatever action it is that we want to take. It’s the voice that keeps us small, the voice that doesn’t want us to play big. This voice is what Tara Mohr, author of “Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead,” calls the Inner Critic.

Playing Big is a nationally recognized leadership program for women, developed by Tara Mohr, which focuses on empowering women to recognize and overcome the self-doubt that hinders their advancement both personally and professionally. They are aspiring executive coaches and psychology residents at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and have developed a workshop series inspired by this leadership model.

The four-part series, which will be offered as a lunch and learn, helps participants unlock their leadership potential by identifying internal barriers, such as the Inner Critic that keep people playing small, as well as the many ways that they can start playing big in their own lives.

“Playing big” looks different for everybody. The open discussion and use of visualization exercises used by the co-facilitators are powerful tools to help participants identify their Inner Critic and the role it plays in their lives.

There are three interesting facts about the Inner Critic: everyone has one, it comes up whenever we want to step out of our comfort zone, and we don’t talk about it, so we don’t hear counterarguments.

Your Inner Critic isn’t concerned with your growth and development. Your Inner Critic wants to keep you safe from the perceived potential to experience embarrassment, uncertainty, or failure.

One of the key points of the workshop is learning that the Inner Critic is here to stay and that it serves a purpose. The goal of the first workshop in the series is not to teach participants to eradicate their Inner Critic, but rather to change their relationship with it. By learning to identify and understand their Inner Critic, participants are able to live with their Inner Critic while staying focused on reaching their goals.

In addition to the Inner Critic, Playing Big introduces the concept of the Inner Mentor, which is the voice of forward movement and empowerment. Like the Inner Critic, the Inner Mentor is universal and serves an important purpose. However unlike the Inner Critic, which works to keep you from leaving your comfort zone, the Inner Mentor guides and empowers you to play big.

As part of the Playing Big series, participants learn to quiet their Inner Critic, connect with their Inner Mentor, and apply simple tools in order to create meaningful and positive changes in their everyday lives.

Though the leadership model was developed for women, the practical lessons presented in the workshop transcend gender, rank, and position. In fact, many men who’ve attended the workshop easily related to the material and offered unique insights. This workshop is for everyone. When everyone plays big, we all win - as individuals and as an organization.

Though participants benefit from attending the workshop in its entirety, each session covers new topics and new tools. Participants are encouraged to come to one or all sessions as they are able. The workshops frequently take place as a Lunch and Learn in an effort to maximize participant availability. The co-facilitators are also available to tailor the series to small groups and work centers for those interested.

For more information on this workshop or to schedule your own series, please email Captains Milagros Gargurevich,, and Andrea Krunnfusz,, clinical psychology residents, and include “Playing Big” in the subject line.