What Stinks About Mommy?

05/06/2015 05:50 pm ET | Updated May 06, 2016
Sam Edwards via Getty Images

Everybody has a few pesky personality traits, whether they know them or not. Bossy, short-tempered, melancholic, fake-nice, judgmental... these traits don't just hide in a box under your bed. They follow you everywhere you go, at work and at home, tripping you up along the way until you deal with them and shut them down for good.

Whether you're the head of your company or the head of your family (or both, like me), you need to keep those traits on a leash so you can lead your people effectively. How? By being willing to confront your stinky side.

Get Off the Pedestal

My own mom thought of herself as The Boss.

And like many bosses, she thought the last thing she had to deal with was her own stuff. That's the perk of being The Boss. It was her house, her rules. Her job was dealing with my crap, not hers. But as I know from coaching moms, and CEO's and CEO's who are moms or dads, that kind of thinking isn't going to make you a great leader, or a great parent.

To be really great, you've got to be brave enough to climb down off that pedestal and listen to some honest feedback. You need to create a context where it's cool for your kids, or your employees, to speak their truth about how it feels to have you in charge.

We don't ask what stinks about us because we're afraid that whatever we hear is going to HURT our heart.

But here's the thing: If you're like me and truly committed to being the best version of yourself, that kind of feedback is GOLD. If we were in a movie, it would be the code we decipher to activate our superpowers, so we could save the world. It's the answer we're all looking for but can't seem to find. Because most of us don't have the balls to ask.

Give It To Me Straight

Yes, really. It's time to submit to a performance review. And I promise, if you follow the framework, you will discover how to get feedback that will not only make you a better mother, but also a better spouse, a better friend, a better human.

I know because I'm also an executive coach and the President of the HG Corporate Division, and I've used this same technique with hundreds of clients who have transformed their relationships with their families, friends and employees.

And I've used it in my own life, with my own daughter.

By the time my daughter Max was about 9, I had become a divorced single mom. Needless to say, that took some getting used to. One day while riding in the car, I asked Max to give it to me straight: "What stinks about mommy?" And I got my answer.

"Mommy, you're no fun!"

Ouch. That hurt because I knew she was right. Her dad was the fun one -- always willing to run around with her and be adventurous. He was GREAT at it. Not me. At the beach while Max splashed around in the water, I'd be chilling out in my chair, snuggled up in a book, checking email on my phone. I wasn't there to get in the water. Not my thing. It was enough that I brought us here, right?


Max continued, "It makes me feel like you don't want to play with me, and that you care more about your work than me." Ouch again. I often felt that way about my own mom, and that wasn't OK. I was committed to evolving, and I wanted to do better. So instead of making excuses ("I'm not your father, I'm doing my best"), I made Max a promise. From then on, I would ask her to rate our time together on a scale of 1 to 10. And if I got below an 8 on the Fun Scale, I owed her $10.

Suddenly, I found myself doing stuff I had NEVER EVER DONE. I promoted myself to President of Fun. Instead of lazing around, I'm swimming out to the pier and back, jumping off the docks, taking her to the carnival, playing the games that I had never bothered with before, winning her those giant stuffed animals. And loving it! I was IN. I never got below an 8. My daughter felt loved and I knew I had evolved myself, and our relationship.

And I'll never stop. Evolving yourself is a lifelong practice. I'm not perfect, but today I'm a way better mom and a better Beth than I've ever been. And that's a whole lot sweeter.



P.S. Want to be the best version of yourself? If you're ready to commit to an honest evaluation and incredible evolution in your own life, check out more information on my 12 Week Design Your Life Tele-Course.