Three Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Mom – by Dana Kuykendall

My mom has been a constant motivator for me to be a better person. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, but she was the hardest working person I knew. As children, my brother and I had chores that she kept us responsible for each day. She set the example for us, ensuring that we followed through with anything put in front of us. Whether is was school, sports, or taking care of our pets, she always pushed us to do our best.

1) Lesson 1: The first lesson was to take responsibility for your actions. My mom was great at letting us make our own mistakes. Making our own mistakes taught us that there is a lesson to be learned in every mistake, including how to make better choices, how to take responsibility for your actions, and the importance of never giving up. She wasn’t afraid to let us fail at something. Today, as a mom, I realize this is such a hard lesson to teach, but a very important one. As a leader, it is the same thing. You have to learn from your mistakes, but most importantly take responsibility for the decisions that you make.

2) Lesson 2: Be yourself. As a kid, you observe how your friends act with others. Some kids are “cooler,” more popular, funnier, smarter, whatever it is. My mom always praised us for being special for who we were. She did not try to make us do, be, or act like other kids. In fact, if my brother or I started behaving like someone in the neighborhood, watch out, she would call us out on it! My mom had confidence as a woman, a wife, and a mother, and this confidence was passed down to us as kids. As a leader, you have to have confidence in yourself and believe in yourself. There are times as a leader when there is no one else there to motivate and push you to be the best version of you, so you have to pull from within.

3) Lesson 3: The third lesson my mom taught me was to stand up for yourself and others. This was one of my favorite lessons. I was pretty reserved as a kid, certainly not a bully, but there were many of those growing up, just as many kids encounter today. There was one little girl on our street that was mean to everyone, any age, parents included. No one would stand up to her until one day my mom told me “I don’t want to hear you come in this house crying about her again. You stand up to her, you are strong.” That was all it took when the little girl bullied my younger friend that day, I turned and saw my mom’s face in the window. I turned back and stood up for my friend. The bully of our street did not know how to take that, it was her turn to run home crying, and she never bothered us again. We were only six years old, but that lesson has stayed with me my whole life. As I grew into leadership roles, I learned that all the hard work comes from my team and I cannot be a strong leader without supporting and standing up for them.

Being a mom is not always easy, but it is always fun and rewarding. I am grateful to my mom for instilling strong values and behaviors in my life to be the best version of me! Thank you, mom!

Thank you to all moms for sharing their valuable lessons and insights on what it means to be a leader.

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