When Mother’s Day comes around, I like to reflect on the relationship I have with my mother and the lasting impact she has had on my life. Growing up, I was lucky enough to have a mother who was supportive of me, but also set the bar high and pushed me to excel. While I often did not understand it then, I fully appreciate it now.
I see my mother as a woman with a strong, perservering character—a hard worker, determined, and a woman who more often than not puts others before herself. I was her first child. Her “minnie me” experiment—and I say that because if you know either one of us, you know that I am truly a “minnie Pranati” whether I like it or not (and I like it most of the time, just don’t let her know that!). As her first child, she has always made sure that I could experience opportunities that were not afforded to her and that would help me grow into the woman I am today—dance lessons, gymnastics, cheerleading, violin lessons, art lessons, swimteam, basketball…I could really go on for days. She gave me options. No wonder why I am so artistically and creatively confused as to where my true talents lay—she pushed be to the best at all of them…and thanks to her, most of the time I was. =)
When I think back on all the important lessons she taught me through the years, it makes me smile because I realize how her advice has shaped my leadership style and influenced the values that I try to live in my life, as well as trying instill in others.
“Believe in Yourself”
First and foremost, my mother taught me to believe in myself and follow my passion. She is a phenomenal little Indian woman with the mindset and endearment of Napoleon. My mother embedded in me that anything is possible and there are no barriers—not race, not gender, not cast—not anything. She understands the importance of believing in yourself and working hard to achieve goals. She knew what I was capable of anything and everything I did, and nurtured my confidence in my own abilities.
Participating in competitive activities soon turned into a career for me—“follow your passion…do what makes you happy” were her words. And I did. I transplanted myself to Chicago auditioned for a dance company and for the Chicago Bulls dance team. I did that for a year and I loved it. But I wanted to do more. I decided to pursue a Masters degree, and when I was nervous about getting into graduate school because of my inexperience, she stressed that a lack of work experience could not stop me. And she was right. When I completed my graduate degree and decided to shift careers—she was there, cheering me on. And now that I’m finishing up my second Masters degree—she’s still here. Just as supportive as she was when I first told her four years ago that I as moving to Chicago.
In so many ways my mother was and is ahead of her time. Her words and inspiration helped guide me. I hope she is proud that at the age of 25, I hold a successful position at one of the top risk management firms today, I am the owner of my own consulting firm, and that I am on the verge of completeing three degrees. But I know my mother, and I know that she is likely more proud of the fact that I’m happy and that I live my life the right way and my own way.
“Trust Your Instincts”
My mother has great instincts about people and life in general. She is the one that taught me how important it is to trust your instincts, your gut—and that your heart is usually right. I am just now realizing how insightful this advice is and that it has influenced my success in life. EQ (Emotional Quotient) is often more important than IQ in many aspects …in your relationship with others and your work life for sure.
“Always Give Back”
My mother instilled in me strong values at a young age and believed that giving back was a privilege and the right thing to do. I passionately share this belief and I am so proud to have the opportunity and ability to give my to my community monetarily and through volunteering by time.
I have always loved volunteering my time to help others—it is what I have always been taught. It is what I know. When I moved to Chicago, I made sure to find ways that I could contribute my time and services to those who needed it most. In my time here, I’ve raised money for charity through my work, spent time tutoring children, and have volunteered weekly at one of Chicago’s many homeless shelters on Saturday mornings. And even with those dedicated activites, I still hope to do more by starting my own charity that will impact causes that I am most passionate about in a positive way. I want my work to be personal and truly embody what I stand for.
As I reflect on the many lessons that my mother instilled in me (these are only a few), I hope she is proud of how I am living today, both in work and in life. Being a mother is a special job. And if you are a mother already, unlike myself, it is you that helps shape the values and character of the next generation. I know I am proud to be the daughter of such a phenomenal woman. It is truly one of my greatest merits.