with Leila
Creating YOUR Advantage 
How moms can be more effective at home  
How moms can be more effective at work
May, 2009
What's your definition of the word "Mother?"
I used to believe that we could only have one mother.
I was wrong.
That's because my definition of the word "mother" was based on it being a noun.  Four years ago when we adopted our daughter Leila from Russia, I realized that the word "mother" was actually a verb.
Once I realized this, I saw that in my life I had many mothers, not just my one biological mother. Several people, actively "mothered" me into who I am today.
Being a mother, like a leader, is more than just a role.  In fact too many leaders, like mothers, rely too heavily on the title and do little-to-none active, verb-like "mothering" at all. 

That's because mothering, like leadership, takes a lot of effort and time.  It is always easier to slip into an 'I said so", authoritative, noun-like stance that a role usually relies upon.
It is no surprise that when I became a late-in-life mother, I finally understood the true meaning of leadership.  Prior to that, I wasn't the best leader that I could have been.
Motherhood has taught me a ton about leadership and now through my book, The Connected and Committed Leader, I teach my lessons from home as a way to achieve better results at work and in life.  I see leadership as a life practice for success that is relevant in any realm of our lives.
I recently connected with Jamie Woolf, a terrific woman, mother and author of a book that also makes the connection between motherhood and leadership.  Her book, Mom in Chief helps take her lessons from the workplace and applies them back home.  You can say that our two books together create a full circle for women; from home to work and back to home. 
Mothering, the verb, is the ultimate leadership experience (along with fathering, but we will cover that in next month's issue). 
After all, as mothers we have to get results on a daily basis with often unwilling or unmotivated participants!  And, at the end of the day, we want our children to reach their highest potential with an empowered belief in themselves.  Sounds like the job of a leader, doesn't it? 
Yes.  No doubt.
Here are some tips for redefining both leadership and motherhood into active verbs and leaving the rigid, role-like nouns of these two terms behind:
1.  Practice active observation.
When we observe others, we are able to suspend judgment and be present with them.  We stop asserting our will onto them.  Being actively present for someone will make another person feel appreciated for who they are and is likely to want to give you their best. 
2.  Engage in actively receiving others.
When we receive others actively, it means that we give them room to be themselves.  Their ideas, their perspectives and their choices have room to grow and expand without ours being threatened.  This is especially difficult when we don't agree with their perspective.  However, when we are able to actively be receptive to others, they will grow to reach their full potential in our presence. 
3.  Actively guide others.
Guiding and teaching others requires time.  There is no such thing as lazy leading or mothering.  When it isn't active, you aren't doing it.  Every interaction is a leadership and teaching opportunity.  When you are passive, you often aren't guiding others.  You may be teaching the absolute opposite thing that you want to.  When you guide, you invest yourself and your time into the development of another person. 
So, what's your definition for the word "mother"?  Hopefully you will agree that it has a lot to do with inspiring you to be the best you can be.  Sounds like the role of a leader, doesn't it?
You bet. 
To the leader in you, Happy Mothers Day!


Laura is a sought-after keynote speaker, award-winning author of The Connected and Committed Leader, and business and life coach who has been featured on the Today Show and Fox News. In addition, her accomplishments have been highlighted in several business periodicals including Personal Excellence, The Long Beach Business Journal, The Houston Chronicle, Latina Magazine, and Central Valley Business Times. Her articles on management and leadership are regularly seen in Leadership Excellence. 
Laura can be contacted via her Web site at: http://www.laura-lopez.com.  
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All the best,
Laura Lopez
Laura Lopez & Company
(713) 868-5025
cell (713) 828-8829