Stories of two strong women in my life – my mother and mother-in-law.

These stories have taught me life’s most important lessons and it’s amazing to see how those lessons are so relevant for leadership today.

  • Dreaming big at a tender age of 19! 

A young couple was sitting in a restaurant in a small town in India. A bunch of school girls came and sat on the table next to their table. The girls were busy talking and this young woman looked at those girls mesmerised, she was trying to understand what they were saying but couldn’t as they were talking in a language she didn’t understand – English. She looked at her husband and said “when we have kids I want them to be like these girls” (She wanted her kids to speak in English – which meant good education). Her husband smiled and nodded.  

Flashforward 45 years I am one the daughters of this “young lady”. My siblings and I are the result of my mother’s vision. 

Lesson: Motherhood teaches you to set “Big Vision” for yourself, for your family and for your community

As leaders this is the number one skill we need to have – setting the vision for ourselves, our teams and our organization

  • Facing tragedy at a young age of 34!

A mother of two small children losses her husband to sudden heart attack. She had been a homemaker so far and never worked before. Nothing had prepared her for this. She had a choice to go and stay with her parents (which is a common practice in India) or even remarry as she was only 34. But she made the tough choice of staying by herself and taking care of her kids. They had to make a huge change in their life style, they moved to a smaller house, sold the car that they couldn’t afford now, but she was determined to give her kids good education and a good life. She started studying further while doing a part time job, then eventually took a full-time job. All through this time she kept a strong façade and a smiling face so that her kids were not impacted. She went on to work for next 20 years and today she is a proud mother of two reasonably successful sons – one of them is my husband!

For my mother in law motherhood taught her resilience, it helped her to overcome the set back and look for possibilities in distressing times.

Lesson: Motherhood prepares you to overcome setbacks and helps you to pave way for new possibilities in times of disruption.

As leaders resilience is the need of the hour, we need to be prepared to face failures and constantly look for new possibilities/opportunities.