Motherhood and Leadership have a lot in common. My 3 top tips to remember in both roles.
Happy Mother’s Day! I hope all the mums had a fabulous day yesterday. I had a great day which started with brunch down here at Paradise Point on the Gold Coast. Usually the kids make me breakfast which don’t get me wrong is very thoughtful, but I’m usually left with soggy toast, burnt eggs, weak tea and a kitchen mess to clean up, so this year I suggested we go out!
In honour of Mother’s Day, I wanted to share with you what I consider to be the 3 essential things that both mothers and leaders need to keep front of mind:
1. People do things for their reasons and not yours.
As a mother and as a leader, you influence others but in the end after everything is said and done, your children and your team members are going to do what they want to do. And they are going to do it for their own reasons, some of which you may never understand. You maybe left scratching your head sometimes at the choices others make around you but of course everyone sees the world differently. Everyone wears a different pair of prescription glasses and this lens through which we see the world, impacts our behaviours, what we do, what we say and the choices we make.
I’m always amazed when I sit around our dining table and listen and observe my three kids. They have all been raised in the same household with the same experiences, but all see the world differently. They’ve been impacted by my leadership as their mum, my values and beliefs but they’re all independent thinkers and have their own way of being in the world. That’s what we want for our children. And for our people. We want them to flourish and contribute in their own unique way.
As a mum and a leader, you have to value these differences. Let them try and fail, knowing that you’re always there if they need you.
2. Embrace the unknown.
In leadership and motherhood, there are often times when you’re not sure what the hell you’re doing. I remember reading everything I could get my hands on before my first son, Tommy, was born but nothing quite prepares you for the real thing; when they hand you this little person who is now your responsibility. I remember that drive home from hospital being quite nerve-racking. “What now?” I thought. The same goes for leadership. You can read every leadership theory but it’s not until you’re in charge of a group of people that you fully appreciate what the role involves, and you start to think to yourself “why did I take this promotion?”
You question your decisions and you’re unsure whether you’re doing the right thing. Self-doubt starts to creep in, and you start comparing yourself to others. You feel way out of your comfort zone and the old imposter syndrome can sneak up on you.
In motherhood and leadership, you need to embrace the unknown territory. It’s about acknowledging that you don’t know everything, that you will make mistakes and guess what? That’s perfectly ok. When you’re learning, you’re growing and that’s a good thing. You won’t be the first mum or the first leader to stuff things up! You have to have the courage to continue and push through the uncertainty and fear. What’s the best way to do this? Well, that leads me to my final point…….
3. It takes a village.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “It takes a village to raise a child.” As a mum, I’ve so grateful for the tribe that is helping me raise my children, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, teachers, mentors. These people of course are there for my kids but are also there for me. We can compare notes, tell our stories, give and receive advice, sometimes cry but mostly laugh at the craziness of raising children. It’s about sharing our common experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly. I know that I feel absolutely lost without them.
Just a few days ago, I was at my beauty therapist and we were talking about our teenage sons, comparing stories, offering support and encouragement and having a good laugh. It’s exactly what you need to feel ‘normal’; to feel like you’re not alone.
It’s the same with leadership. Being in a leadership position can be isolating and lonely. You’re now ‘the boss’ and seen differently. You feel the weight of responsibility.
As a leader, it’s important to create a village; a network of people (both inside and outside of your organisation and possibly even your industry) who can learn from one another, offer guidance and encouragement and make each other laugh. Share your leadership stories and find comfort from those experiencing the same thing.
Both motherhood and leadership can bring a mix of emotions and experiences. One minute you’re feeling proud and on top of the world and the next doubtful and ready to throw in the towel. Tough but rewarding. I hope these 3 reminders help you to navigate the difficult times, appreciate the great times and celebrate the amazing role that you play!