Mothers are the best leaders
Before I had my children, I had a job as a project finance lawyer in the city. I had an amazing salary, was working for one of the top 15 London law firms and had numerous legal qualifications under my belt. Was I happy? No. I had a huge disconnection from my work, my environment and my colleagues. I felt like a zombie going through the motions of something. I felt depressed and anxious. I could not work out how I had managed to get this far into my legal career without realising, I was never meant to be a lawyer. I was lost.
Fate stepped in and on a sabbatical trip between qualifying as a solicitor and starting my new role, I went to Peru and got pregnant! Not in my husband’s or my plans but a happy accident nevertheless. From the moment I was pregnant, I literally knew that this was the greatest gift I would ever receive and that I was going to love being a mother despite having no experience of children at all. I had my daughter and at the same time the biggest transformation of my life. In becoming a mother, it felt like I was coming home. I felt excited, joyful and grateful all the time. I literally could not believe how lucky I was and even though my daughter had severe colic and sleep and rest were scarce, I had never been happier. I discovered baby massage by going to a class with Emily and the rest is history. I fell even more deeply in love with her and with the power of nurturing touch and loving connection. I wanted all new mothers to feel like this and so I left my job and started Blossom & Berry to share my experience with as many mothers as I could. I was also blessed with my two boys within 3.5 years so life was busy but also blissful. I loved the simplicity of my life with my children. I completely reinvented myself through them and by connecting with my purpose and passion.
Now 17 years later, Blossom & Berry is a global success with over 600 teachers in almost every continent, charitable projects and a incredible community. I was reflecting on how this all happened and I realised that in connecting with myself and my true purpose in becoming a mother, I dropped the fear and started doing what I really wanted. I stepped up into being a role model and a leader for my family and for my business.
I believe that mothers share the same qualities as effective leaders and it is these skills that grow loving families and businesses. After all, as a mother, you are leading your most amazing team and tribe who will be journeying with you for the rest of your life. You are your baby’s ultimate teacher and leader. You need to be open and self reflective in all you do. You need to listen and love and learn.
The more I think about the qualities I possess as a mother, the more I realise that these are the ones that have allowed me to create my business and grow it to become so successful.These values are also what makes me love my business so much. Every teacher I have is part of the family. I think that mothers are natural leaders and entrepreneurs and 95% of my teachers are mothers balancing their business and their babies. Mothers are amazing multi taskers; there are no defined roles in parenting and sadly often no regular supportive team coming in to save the day. There is no quick way to pick up skills as a mother or a leader; it’s about empathy, understanding, communication and patience.
So what can businesses’ learn about success and growth from mothers;
- Connection– In order for babies to thrive and grow, they need to have a secure attachment with their care giver. It is love and connection that enables healthy brain development. Without connection, studies have should that babies can develop anxiety, fear and a lack of attachment can effect their overall outcomes in life in every area from health to education. Connection is everything. Mothers know that babies need to feel this connection. Babies need to know that they are important, accepted, respected and valued. I have used these principles with my own children and in my business. I want my teachers to feel safe and secure and connected to me and the community. Everyone needs to feel secure and safe to flourish and expand. I believe connection is the ultimate key to happiness and the more this is cultivated in the family unit and in the business sector, the more happiness and success we will see for everyone.
- Presence– Babies need mothers to be present. Babies need to know they are heard by their mothers. Seen, listened to. Babies need to have the attention of their mothers, so that their needs are met. The same can be said for employees. Staff need to be heard and listened to. They need to know that if they have a need, it will be met or recognised. Leaders need to be present in their business and aware of their team’s needs as much as possible. Connection cannot be made if there is no presence. If needs are not met, there can be a disconnect which means that growth together is slowed, trust is undermined and emotional connection can be lost. This undermines the strength of relationships, growth and happiness.
- Communication– Babies and mothers are learning about each other everyday. As babies can’t speak for the first year of life, much of this communication is non verbal, based on tuning in and trying to understanding what is being said. Only through good communication can we really understand each other and create healthy relationships. How much do leaders really tune into what their team is saying on a non verbal and verbal level? I think communication is crucial to all successful relationships. Mothers are pros at understanding what their babies need.
- Patience and empathy-Having a baby can feel disempowering and frustrating as a mother. Leading a team can also feel like this. Again patience, empathy and understanding is so important to make the relationship work. This sometimes means compromising your beliefs by listening to your baby (or staff) and letting go of big picture ideas that you are both not yet ready for. You can’t rush babies and you can’t rush staff to learn and develop. The best growth comes from within and is self directed and reflective. This is how mothers love; giving babies the space to learn, absorb and relate to experiences. This is what I offer my teachers too.
- Love-This has come last on the list but really it should be first. What mothers do in a nutshell is love. They offer support and security. They offer emotional availability and regulation for babies feelings. Love makes things grow. It allows healthy wiring of babies brains and it gives confidence and independence. The more you love a baby, the more he understands the world is a loving place and goes on to act with love. Love creates love. If we really want to have a happier, healthier family, community and workplace, I believe love is the answer. Love is connection. It is trust. It is integrity. All these qualities only create growth and expansion. The power of love is limitless in what it can create.
I have used the same skills I value as a mother as a leader in my business and as a result my teachers feel like family. When you build strong foundations with love and connection, you have a tribe for life. When you know you are loved, its always safe to come back and ask for help and advice. You feel supported to grow.
Mothers are amazing leaders and these beautiful qualities are changing the world everyday. Lets learn from mothers, the ultimate creators of life, and use this intuitive qualities to make our families, businesses and communities grow and expand with love.