Mothers always know best! My mother set the stage in early childhood to ensure that I had the essentials for significant success in my life. Not only did she give me a safe environment to grow into the person I am today, my mother led by example. All parents are leaders of their children – teaching the way forward through their actions and words.

While I may never be able to fully repay all the unconditional love, support and unending patience (particularly when I was a teenager), I honor my mother every way I can. Because of critical skills my mother taught me: I can share with you the 7 essentials for significant success.

1. Follow Your Dreams

I could have wanted to be anything from a ballerina to an astronaut. Not only would my mother have taken me seriously, she would help me develop an action plan to make it happen! There’s nothing quite like knowing that your Mom has your back. By believing in me: my Mom helped me believe in myself. That laid a strong foundation that enabled me to strike out and achieve my goals.

2. Have a Plan

No dream is achieved without a plan. My mother maintains that I’ve been project managing since I was born. But, I had to get those planning skills from somewhere! One of the most valuable pieces of knowledge my mother gave me was the ability to create a plan. She taught me how to think through a problem and understand the key steps towards obtaining results. Problem-solving expertise will tear down almost any barriers between you and your dreams.

3. Accountability

I’m deeply disturbed by the increasing tendency in our society to push off ownership of ‘blame’ onto others. My mother made sure that I understand that I am the only person that can take responsibility for my actions. She helped me absorb the hard fact that there are consequences for what you do. Instead of mindlessly reacting: my mother taught me to think first, consider options, other perspectives, and potential outcomes before acting.

4. Independence

As a single parent, my mother instilled a thriving sense of independence in me. I watched her take ownership of raising a daughter (me), finish her college education and work hard to provide for a happy household. My mother was never a helicopter parent, she is a partner in my development. She helped me learn from failure and gave me the confidence to tackle life on my own terms. She taught me to have the grit I need to succeed and steer my life where I want to go.

5. Appreciation

Even as an only child and spoiled with love – I didn’t get all the ‘things’ I may have clamored for. My mother always took the time to explain why I couldn’t have whatever-it-was and stuck to her guns (thank goodness). She helped me learn to appreciate my life, particularly the simple pleasures. Curling up with a good book by the fire on a cold winter evening. Or, spending time during breezy summer evenings on the porch with my grandparents, hearing stories. A warm delicious meal, playing silly board games or a scenic Sunday drive. My mother taught me to appreciate my life and view every day with wonder.

6. Invest in Knowledge

My family wasn’t ever wealthy. Regardless, even my great-grandfather went to college. My mother, even though she had a 6-year-old at home, invested in herself to finish her college education. She made it work and allowed me to see the value of knowledge. My family has books – tons of them! I was reading by the time I could hold a book. I loved to learn which has propelled me forward in my career.

7. Continuous Improvement

Hand in hand with investing in knowledge is the ability to apply that knowledge – particularly to improve yourself or help others. Rather than sit back and throw up your hands in apathy, my mother ingrained a sense of continual improvement in my personality. She taught me to never accept ‘status quo’ or follow the herd into popular thinking. My mother taught me that practice does indeed make perfect and to always be curious about what else you can achieve.

There are many more than just 7 essentials for significant success that my mother taught me growing up! These are the top key characteristics that spring to mind when I think back with gratitude on the wisdom my mother gave me as a young person. It’s important to me that I share these with you to help you on your journey.

If you are blessed with children or grandchildren – keep in mind that what you say and do is a model for them in their success. It’s a tough and terrific responsibility to rear a child. Choose your words with care. Tell them stories about real life, not just fantasy tales. Don’t be afraid to be less than perfect but always be their biggest fan. My mother’s unwavering support (and realistic point of view) is the reason I am able to live my dreams and help others achieve success!

Originally published at