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3 Valuable Lessons My Mom Taught Me About Leadership

Deborah Sweeney
Deborah Sweeney

In honor of Mother's Day, this author recalls the leadership lessons taught by her mother.

One of my earliest memories when I was a little girl was watching and getting ready for the day every morning with my mom. My mother ran the Anesthesia Laboratory at UCLA and would get ready for her work day while simultaneously making breakfast and helping me get ready for school.

I always saw her as a real-life Wonder Woman through a child’s eyes then and as the CEO and mompreneur that I am now. My mom might not have owned a startup, but she taught me many valuable lessons about leadership that I still carry with me in my day-to-day as a business owner.

Be kind.

When it comes to business, leaders are often encouraged to be fierce and driven. They are taught to embrace the phrase "going to the mattresses" when dealing with their competition in order to stay on top.

My mom did not believe that maintaining a dog-eat-dog world mentality was a healthy approach. She taught me to always be kind when negotiating and building your business. Ultimately, it is kindness that leads to success, combining an optimistic attitude with hard work. I firmly believe that by being kind, I have been able to succeed as a CEO.

When the going gets tough, stay resilient.

All throughout my childhood and young adult life, I knew I wanted to be a hard-working career woman when I grew up. I was an attorney before I became a CEO and worked in industries that were demanding and high pressure. When I transitioned into small business, I learned that no two days are the same in entrepreneurship. You have your ups and downs and at the end of the day, everything falls on your shoulders. If you're not careful, you can easily feel overwhelmed and lost.

Roughing through the difficult spots was easier when I recalled the guidance my mother had given me about staying strong. I had my own business that I was deeply passionate about and would do anything to see it succeed. I let my can-do attitude help guide me forward and remained focused on working hard. As a result, I found myself growing as a businesswoman in ways I never imagined were possible.

Embrace the power of being present.

My mother’s job took up a lot of her time when I was a child. However, despite the constant hubbub at the hospital she dealt with, she still made time for my brother and me. She attended all of my cheerleading games and picked me up after school every day without fail. From the very beginning, she instilled in me the ability to make your schedule work for you and your family.

This was one of the guiding forces behind my switch from attorney to entrepreneur: the greater freedom that small business ownership afforded me. Now, I have complete flexibility. I am able to accomplish all of my business duties and be present with my family, taking my sons to soccer practice and having family dinners every night.

I don't see my work/life balance as a juggling act but as an act I have the ability to balance with grace. That's where my success all started: with my mom.

Image Credit: kikovic/Shutterstoc
Deborah Sweeney
Deborah Sweeney Member
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.