Moments With Mom: She Helped Shape My Identity

I lost my Mom on March 26th. It was a Tuesday morning, early, when I got the call. It had been a four month battle with cancer, complicated by advanced Alzheimer’s.
"Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease. It takes your loved ones long before they’re gone.” That’s what Mom said when Grandma died of Alzheimer's. She was right - as usual. Truth be told, I lost my Mom a little at the time over the years due to the memory loss. And it’s not just memory loss - it’s a loss of mannerisms, logic, and ways of being. She changed little by little. But I choose not to focus on that.
I’d rather celebrate her life because she was an amazing woman, wife, mother, friend, and employee.
The essence of her was there right up until the end.
One day I was sitting by her bed reading so I could visit with her in between naps. During that visit I showed her my spiffy red suede boots complete with a buckle and a neatly shaped heel. “Cheek out the boots Chris gave me.” She looks, and in typical Carolyn fashion says “I’ll chase you down for those." Never mind that she was confined to her bed, too weak to get up on her own! That was my Mom.
Mom made an incredible, positive impact on my life. I want to share some of those key moments with you in this series, “Moments with Mom.” Seems appropriate to publish this series between my birthday and Mother’s Day. 🙂
The first moment I’d like to share with you demonstrates how you can play a vital role in shaping someone’s identity in a positive way.
Throughout elementary school, I would go back and forth between making good grades, earning a spot in the smart kids class, and then not applying myself and getting moved out of said smart kids class. 
This pattern lasted through my 7th grade year. It’s not that I made bad grades.  No, I made A’s, B’s and C’s. Totally average.
The summer between my 7th and 8th grade year in junior high, she planted a powerful identity seed in me.
I don’t remember what got this conversation started with Mom but I remember the meat of it like it was yesterday.
I had probably mumbled some BS limiting belief about not being smart enough.
She gives me “the look” and says “You are smart. You have the ability to make all A’s and B’s.” She went on to tell me I just needed to apply myself, to just decide to do it. And that she expected it from then on. [drop the mic.]
Talk about setting the bar! 
I remember thinking in my 13 year old brain “Oh. Okay then. That’s just the way it is.” If Mom says it - it’s true.
If you’re a Mom (or Dad, sibling, trusted friend, boss, coach, teacher, or any other influential person) stop and think of the power you have to shape those you influence with one comment.
The power of influence can be a weapon or a gift - make doggone sure it’s a gift.
And if you’re wondering - yes, I made predominantly A’s and B’s in school from that moment on. When I didn’t, it wasn’t because I didn’t apply myself. I made dean’s list more often than not in college, graduating with honors.
In my adult life/career, I passed many tough exams on the first pass: earning the Certified Marketing Director designation with the International Council of Shopping Centers, followed by the Certified Shopping Center Management designation from the same organization, and earning my real estate license. I did all of that on the first try.
Not only did I apply myself in school and testing, but in my career and everyday life.
I’m not sharing this to brag, but to share an example of how that one insight, given sincerely, changed how I saw myself…forever.
It changed my identity.
My habits and behaviors changed because my identity changed.
Our words matter. Let’s make them count.
With whom do you have influence? What insight/message could you share with him/her to help shape their identity in a positive way? How can you help him/her raise the bar for him/herself?

By the way - I'm putting together a package to help individuals, groups, and organizations better understand themselves, each other, and their clients and therefore communicate better, with less stress and tension. When we understand and communicate well with others, we achieve organizational goals faster.
If you're curious about identifying the strengths and soft spots of you, your team members, or potential team members, then email me directly ([email protected]) so we can talk about what would best serve you and your organization. 

P.S. -  

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