Motherhood is a special journey– there’s no right path to follow, and sometimes that’s the beauty of the experience. From teaching strong life values to uplifting through humor and encouragement, mothers and essential female figures play a big role in shaping us into the people we are today. As we celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, here’s a look at how a few successful figures found inspiration and joy through the most important women in their lives. 

Former President Barack Obama on his mother, Ann Dunham 

Photo credit: Barack Obama/ Facebook 

“I will always be grateful to my mom for instilling in me a sense that I could do anything if I worked for it–even become the President of the United States.” 

Kevin Durant on his mother, Wanda Durant

Photo credit: Ezra Shaw/ Getty Images

“You made us believe. You kept us off the street. You put clothes on our backs, food on the table. When you didn’t eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You [are] the real MVP.”

Arianna Huffington on her mother, Elli Stassinopoulos

Photo credit: Arianna Huffington

“One of my mother’s gifts was to be in a constant state of wonder at the world around her. Whether she was washing dishes or feeding seagulls at the beach or reprimanding overworking businessmen, she maintained her sense of wonder at life. And whenever I’d complain or was upset about something in my own life, my mother had the same advice: ‘Darling, just change the channel. You are in control of the clicker. Don’t replay the bad, scary movie.’”

Satya Nadella on his mother, Prabhavati Yugandhar

Photo credit: Satya Nadella/ LinkedIn

“While there is much I learned from my father, including intellectual curiosity and a love of history, I was always my mother’s son. She cared deeply about my being happy, confident, and living in the moment without regrets. She worked hard both at home and in the college classroom where she taught the ancient language, literature, and philosophy of India. And she created a home full of joy…”

Tom Brady on his mother, Galynn Brady

Photo credit: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

“You are the kindest, gentlest, most loving mother a son could ever ask for. You have taught us what strength really means.”

Halle Berry on her mother, Judith Ann Hawkins

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“I want to thank my mom who has given me the strength to fight every single day to be who I want to be and to give me the courage to dream, that this dream might be happening and possible for me. I love you, Mom, so much.”

Jimmy Fallon on his mother, Gloria Fallon

Photo credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

She was the best audience. She was the one I was always trying to make laugh. She was such a fan of the show, and everything I did.”

Former President George W. Bush on his mother, Barbara Bush

Photo credit: George W. Bush/ Facebook

“Barbara Bush was a fabulous First Lady and a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love, and literacy to millions. To us, she was so much more. Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end.”

Richard Branson on his mother, Eve Branson

Photo credit: Greg Doherty/Getty Images

“My mother has always been my biggest source of inspiration. Ever since I was a child, she’s encouraged me to dream big and motivated me to do things others deemed impossible. She gave me my wings to fly.

Mindy Kaling on her mother, Swati Roysircar

 Photo credit: Lawrence K. Ho/Getty Images

“My mom was incredibly fierce and so devoted to us, just loved us and really wanted us to be happy no matter what we did.”

Oprah on her grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee

Photo credit: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

“It is the reason why I am where I am today because my grandmother gave me the foundation for success that I was allowed to continue to build upon. My grandmother taught me to read, and that opened the door to all kinds of possibilities for me. And had I not been with my grandmother… I probably would not have had the foundation that I had.”

How have you been influenced by your mother or another essential woman in your life? Let us know on Twitter by tweeting at us via @Thrive