If you want to know anything about me, ask me about my son. You will learn everything you need to know. You will understand how I think, how I process information, and how I see the world. You’ll gain insight on how I address conflict, how I prioritize my life, and how I love. Just about every time I’m asked to share my thoughts or philosophies on something, I find myself relating it to parenting. Not intentionally, although I realize 22 years ago that being a parent has such a powerful impact on who I am in the world. Professional and personal decisions come with different levels of investment, risk, and reward. However, the approaches in leadership also have similarities. The assignment in parenting for me is about creating parameters throughout every step of development that offer our children the space to learn who they are, enjoy successes and navigate failures within guidelines of reasonable risk. Professional leadership is about creating similar parameters for team members intended to empower their own leadership development and growth. All of which are intended for those who look to us for guidance to one day grow beyond our support and become the next generation of leaders. Our children are beautiful teachers just by unconsciously inviting us into their perspective on everything from remembering to marvel at the sunrise when you witness them recognizing it for the first time, to seeing them process consequences and using the tools down the road. At a young age they look to us for guidance without asking. How we respond to mistakes and offer helpful tools can help determine when and if they come to us for guidance as they get older. Every experience they have with us growing up lays the foundation for the level of trust they will have with us as the decisions and risks in life become more complex. It can feel like a daunting responsibility, but for me, I chose to look at it as an invitation to be my best self. This hasn’t always been true for me. As a child I was reactive, emotional, and impulsive. As a teen and young adult, I was consumed with myself, what I (and only I) wanted, and thought very little about tomorrow, which turns out is both a blessing and a curse depending on the balance. Before I became a mom, I had only scratched the surface of what I am capable of. It was the moment I knew I was going to be a mom that I somehow instinctively allowed the wisdom of my soul to guide my life. As I grew as a parent, I began listening more intentionally to what people are most passionate about, and what they need. Today I am more deeply aware of every word that comes out of my mouth, and how I say what I say. I am more aware. And I am grateful.