The one thing I would change about me...because I don't want to pass it onto my daughter

*We're thrilled today to feature a post by Mandy Hickling, our amazing Chief Program Officer who develops the impactful programs that are the hallmark of Moms as Mentors®.*

As Chief Program Officer at Moms as Mentors®, one of the the things I love is that the tools and the opportunities we give moms to be mentors in their daughters' daily lives come both from research and a passion for uncovering better ways to be moms. 

Recently in my quest to be a better mom (as well as develop content for our “Moms Only” series), I’ve been reflecting on my role in my daughter’s life (age 10), both as her role model and mentor. 

I've asked myself specifically, what is the one thing I would change about me because I don’t want to pass it onto my daughter? 

My answer may surprise some people who know me - I would change my fear of failure. I have a deep fear of messing up. More often than not I am scared that I will do or say the wrong thing (and sound completely stupid).  This is especially the case when I think I will be judged by other people (and this has stopped me doing things from skiing to speaking up in a meeting to asking for a better table at a restaurant….)

Writing this blog post is therefore scary to me!! I haven’t written a post before--and I wonder what if no one likes it or shares it? I’m guessing that most people who know me (at least a little) would not think I am the kind of person who is that worried about messing up. After all I regularly travel alone to Africa; I stand up and speak in public; I facilitate programs in front of moms and daughters and I am known to share my (many) opinions. 

I can keep my fear of failure hidden from many people around me but I can’t hide it from my family and importantly from my daughter.  She looks to me for ‘how to be’ in the world - and I’ve started to notice how she takes a step back when she's in a group, how she uses negative ‘self talk’ when doing something new (my speciality - assume the worst, that way you can’t be disappointed), and how she criticizes her own efforts (and dwells on criticism more than praise). 

How is it so easy to pass on our own insecurities? This is the reality of motherhood, who we are at our core will be passed onto our daughters - we can’t hide our expressions, our reactions, fears and insecurities. But what I know from my work with Moms as Mentors is we can start with ourselves and make simple changes in the things we say, the way we react and the messages we convey. 

So since taking on my role as Chief Program Officer at Moms as Mentors I have been making a commitment to take risks and to show my daughter that I am doing what I think is right, even if I fail (even in front of everyone) - because in the end, that’s what I’d want her to do. I want her to see me be confident about new things, to see me try something and be ok if it doesn’t work and I’d like her to do the same - to try, to make mistakes, to pick up the pieces and to try again, knowing it is in the willingness to fail that our best ideas and our biggest achievements come our way. 

By trying to be a better mentor to my daughter, like many other moms out there, I am facing my own fears, taking risks and enjoying more of my achievements. One of the biggest of those achievements was when a mom that came to one of our programs openly shared that the program taught her benefit of ‘tweaking.’ That you can make mistakes, take a look at what went wrong and ‘tweak’ things to make improvements. 

That’s what I want my daughter to learn from me-that failure is no big deal…it is part of learning and growing and succeeding!


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Leslie Coles