Mom’s mental health is my secret wealth

Entrepreneurial values emerge from many different pathways

I was asked to write a blog about how my mom’s influence brings out the best of my entrepreneurial spirit.

As far as guiding me with formal, entrepreneurial direction, it’s fair to say that my mom had a vast influence on that aspect of my personality.

She’s lovely, warm, sensible, and has a deep reservoir of empathy.

Are those the strongest attributes you’d normally associate with the cut-and-thrust world of business?

Not traditionally, I’d say.

Yet the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced I’m only seeing half the true picture of what her influence actually represents.

You see, my mom was a homemaker.

A homemaker with a rather debilitating mental illness.

Before she became a homemaker, she held down a variety of administrative and clerical jobs for large organizations in both the public and private sector.

Before that, she was an aspiring leader: she had big plans in high school to become a diplomat.

Many of her dreams were derailed by a diagnosis of bipolar disorder shortly after I was born.

Did that stop her from living a productive and full life, or acting as an inspiration to her children? Nope.

Challenges and setbacks, yes.

Uncertainty and fear, for sure.

A couple of difficult episodes along the way, definitely.

Yet for all of the periodic bouts of trauma and drama, my mom’s life story showed me how to be a tenacious survivor.

Now what does all of this have to do with the emerging entrepreneur in me?

Take a moment to absorb the meaning of some of the words I’ve used above.

Empathy. Challenges. Setbacks. Sensible. Uncertainty. Tenacious.

You might see where I’m going with this. I’ve seen those words come up again and again as I come into contact with more and more successful entrepreneurs.

My mom didn’t branch out into entrepreneurial ventures, that much is true. Yet soaking up the totality of her life experience blessed me with something far more valuable—she showed me how to pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep pushing on, even under the most trying of circumstances.

Words of wisdom for any entrepreneur, really.

Thanks for showing me that the road to success follows many unexpected paths, Mom.

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