My mom is a supermom.
By the time she was my age (28ish) she had: both my sister and me, overcame several personal hardships, and quit her six figure job to start her own business. As I sip my latte in my quiet writing space with “producing an interview” as my day’s biggest responsibility, I feel overwhelmed just thinking about her life at my age.
…and so very grateful.
This is the woman who raised me. An ambitious, empowered, confident and purposeful woman who turns obstacles into opportunities. This is the woman I’ve been learning from for 28 years and counting.
In light of Mother’s Day, I want to openly thank her for teaching me these 7 empowered lessons:
1. Embrace your individuality.
My mom was considered “out of the box” in my cookie cutter community, perhaps because of her single and boss statuses. She also has a zesty, contagious energy, prompting her to do things like bust out cartwheels when my sister’s soccer team won.
When I was ten, this was embarrassing.
But now I’m thankful she taught me it’s okay to be my unique, authentic self despite what others think--even if this means expressing my excitement through cartwheels. Now when I make decisions, I feel less pressure to fit the mold.
2. Pursue your passion.
On a related note, I never felt pressure to pursue a certain type of career. My mom always encouraged me to pursue my passion and acknowledged it might be different from my family and friends'.
She was my #1 fan when I recited movie lines as a toddler, modeled for Kohl’s when I was nine, competed at Miss USA in college and went on to become a TV host, actress and #Empowerista as an adult.
3. You are worthy.
Despite being my #1 fan, she never made me feel like I was the trophy, crown or mic I possessed. My identity was rooted in something much deeper. She taught me I was a child of God and that was enough. Because of this, I deserved: to love and be loved, to forgive and be forgiven, and to respect and be respected.
4. Have courage.
My big dreams and high standards have taken me into new and sometimes scary territory. My mom has always been there to encourage me to take (safe) risks, not be afraid to fail and to face my fears and take action anyway. When I’m having a hump day slump and doubting my unconventional path, she’s there to remind me I can do this and to stay the course.
5. Speak up.
My mom taught me it’s okay to have boundaries, stand up for what I believe in and not be afraid to say “no” when a choice doesn’t align with my values or goals.
She taught me that it’s okay to ask for what I want.
A good example is when I was on the waitlist at my dream college, the University of Wisconsin. She encouraged me to show up at the admissions office and ask them face-to-face what I needed to do to get into this highly competitive college. I took her advice and learned if I got straight A’s that upcoming semester, I’d be admitted. That’s exactly what I did and ended up spending four glorious years at UW.
6. Make it fun.
My mom was born with the fun gene.
She knows the small stuff shouldn't be taken too seriously, and laughter and dancing make everything better. From running errands to her routine business meetings, she makes friends and keeps things light and playful wherever she goes.
The moments many would call mundane, she makes magical.
My favorite example is all the connections she's made at the grocery store. Almost every time we go to check out, she calls the cashier by their first name, asks them how their day is going and strikes up a light and fun conversation. Not only does it bring a huge smile to their face, it also brightens our day to turn a little grocery store stop into a meaningful and fun connection with a stranger.
7. Stay grounded in love.
My mom taught me to never lose sight of what’s most important: love. The love for my family, friends, God and myself. When we choose love, being integrous, kind, compassionate, honest, humble and happy becomes much easier.
Love is the foundation on which everything else is built.
So thank you, Mom, for helping me build my foundation, for loving me, and in return, teaching me to love myself.
And to you, Empoweristas, carry on with your empowered ways. There is no better way to empower someone else than to be an example of empowerment ourselves.