Have a determined and growth mindset. Always look for opportunities to grow and evolved. Don’t let anything stand in your way. When you have a determined spirit, you become unstoppable. You find strength that you don’t know you have and realize that you can make it through just about anything. It doesn’t mean it won’t be hard, but you will realize that nothing is impossible and as long as you keep pushing, learning, and evolving you will do just fine.
In this interview series, we are exploring the subject of resilience among successful business leaders. Resilience is one characteristic that many successful leaders share in common, and in many cases it is the most important trait necessary to survive and thrive in today’s complex market.
I had the pleasure of interviewing LaWann Moses.
LaWann Moses is a Productivity and Success Strategist who helps moms master their mindset and own their time so they can make money moves. LaWann is the Creator and Host of the More Than A Mother podcast where she empowers moms to own their identity outside of motherhood. At More Than A Mother, we believe you can pursue your dreams and be a great mom at the same time.
LaWann equips her clients with tools needed to strengthen their sense of self and reclaim their power so they can take ownership over their lives and find the freedom to do more of the things they love and enjoy. She believes love is the greatest gift of all and she strives to do everything in love.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
Business is full of interesting stories, especially when first starting out. I learned early on the importance of having a clear message and a target audience. Failing to do so will not only confuse your audience, but it will also leave you feeling all over the place and lacking clarity in business. I made the mistake of a generic message and trying to reach too many people at once which caused me to be stuck and stagnant in my business for way too long. The main lesson and takeaway is: Narrow down your audience and have a clear brand message. By trying to serve everyone, you end up not serving anyone.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I feel my company stands out because I serve mothers, but I serve them as women not just mothers. All mothers started as individuals before they ever became someone’s parent, partner, caregiver, etc. Yet for some reason, moms tend to attach our identity to our roles. I am big on helping moms to remember and own their identity outside of motherhood. This is unique because many blogs, podcasts, groups that you encounter for moms often focus on the role of motherhood and parenting with topics centered around families and children. In my company, I highly value the role of a mother, but I empower moms to go beyond that and truly reconnect with themselves on an individual level so they can show up as their best self in all areas of life.
This focus on individual identity came from a time in my life where I was so consumed by my roles that I lost myself in motherhood. I lost sight of who I was and the things I liked to do which left me feeling miserable, resentful and eventually I reached burnout. Not only that, I realized that because I felt unfulfilled in my life I was putting unnecessary pressure on those around me to give my this sense of purpose and fulfillment. Failing to realize that I was the only one that could truly give myself what I needed, I eventually made everyone else around me miserable.
Then one day, it hit me that I was LaWann, an individual before I ever was someone’s mom and wife and that I needed to get back to the things I love and enjoy so I could feel complete and satisfied inside. Therefore, this led me to build my business focusing on the individual first and then the roles will fall in place behind individual needs, wants and desires.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
It is so incredibly hard for me to just pick one particular person. Looking back over my life, I am grateful for the love and support of my parents and partner over the years. I would not be who I am today without the love and support of my parents and partner. I have so many stories I can share, but I will say they have been the foundation for my success. No matter the choices I made, the crazy things I did, all of them were there to support me along the way. My parents are the epitome of unconditional love and support. My partner who worked (and continues to work) countless to help support my and my dreams. No matter, what ideas I have, he is always in my corner, supporting in any way he can.
Over the years, I have had had an entire village of support which I call my “support squad”. Whether I needed a babysitter while I attended school or transportation to and from events, my support squad was there. This extended beyond my parents and partner; however, they have been my foundation throughout the years. They are always there to support and help me on my journey towards success and achieving each and every goal set forth.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
To me, resilience is the ability to adapt, adjust and keep moving no matter what challenges or obstacles you counter. I believe resilient people are those who have learned that you have to work hard for anything you want in life. It is not always easy, but in the end it is worth it.
Resilient people are determined people. They have a growth mindset. They are full of optimism and hope even when things aren’t necessarily going well. Resilient people have realistic expectations and they have learned to trust, handle and control themselves in the hardest of situations. Resilient people know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and they just have to weather the storm and bide their time for eventually the roller coaster of life will start going up again.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
When I think of resilience, honestly, I think of myself. Years ago, I had a pastor friend of mine speak to me about a dream he had of me. In this dream, I was an elephant that kept getting knocked down, pushed over, etc. but no matter how many times I fell down, I always got back up. He spoke to me at that time about the spirit of resiliency and buoyancy he saw within me and it has stuck with me ever since.
I think becoming a teen mom taught me resilience early on in life. Going from a child to someone’s parent seemingly overnight definitely taught me some much-needed survival skills. It was during my years as a teen/young parent that I developed a determined mindset and refused to let anything get in the way of my dreams and goals. That has stuck with me, now no matter what hardship, illness or challenge I encounter, I may feel the feelings, but I always look for the bright side or the way out of the situation.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
Most definitely. As I just mentioned I was a teen mom, and it is automatically assumed that because you become a mom at a young age you will be a statistic, live in poverty etc. Many doubted that I would still reach my dreams and goals once I became a teen mom, but like I said I was determined to make it. I went on to college and although it took me an extended time, I still got my degree.
Now thinking back to when I was in my mid-20’s and I just had my second child. At that time, I was working for one of my state government offices and receiving public assistance and I had just been assigned a new caseworker. For some reason, this new caseworker had an unwelcoming presence and gave me a hard time about everything. I will never forget the one day I had a conversation with her and somehow the topic of school came up. I let her know I was currently enrolled in a master’s level program and her words to me were “Why do you need a master’s degree? The state only requires a bachelor’s degree, I have a bachelor’s degree”. Her job was a state job also and it was as if she was saying to me “how dare I try and get an education higher than hers”.
Needless to say, she gave me an even harder time after that to the point where I voluntarily walked away from public assistance. I didn’t have a plan and I didn’t know what would happen, but I knew I would make it. When I let her know I was closing my case and no longer needed benefits, she was nonetheless shocked and couldn’t believe that I chose to take back power over my life instead of jump through all the unnecessary hoops she created for me. And in spite of it all, I went on and complete my master’s degree program.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
One of my greatest setbacks came recently. About a year ago, I started experiencing dizzy spells for one week straight and they became increasingly worse as the week went along. I went to see my doctor and she performed an evaluation and couldn’t really find anything wrong. She gave me some meds typically used for vertigo and gave me a couple days off work. The next day, which happened to be Halloween, I had been in bed most of the day. I awoke from a nap and it was time to get my daughter from the bus stop. I went to run down the steps to get her, however I noticed my left leg wasn’t coming with me, so I grabbed onto the rail to catch my balance. As I continued down the steps, I noticed a delay in my left leg moving. I went to get my daughter from the bus stop and when we returned, I went to go up the steps and fell. Placing both my hands down, I tried to get my left foot up the step and kept hitting into the steps. At that time, I had my daughter get my partner and let him know that something was wrong. He called the ambulance and at that time they thought I was having a stroke. I was rushed to the hospital and I noticed that my left side was getting increasingly worse with movement and feeling.
After a series of evaluations, the ER doctors decided to call it a stroke alert and rushed me into this room where all of these people start poking, pricking and hooking me up to all types of machines. A neurologist came in and started asking me all kinds of questions and it was at that time; I remembered an issue I had with losing sight in one eye a few years and being diagnosed with Optic Neuritis. It was then, he came the conclusion that I most likely had Multiple Sclerosis and what I was experiencing was a relapse. I was hospitalized for 5 days. I had a couple seizures while there. My left side was noticeably weaker, and I had to go home walking with a cane, unable to drive and unable to do anything. Lights bothered my eyes. I couldn’t stand up and walk for too long without getting dizzy or getting a migraine. It was truly a difficult time in my life.
However, during this time my brand and podcast, More Than A Mother, was birthed. During this time, I was forced to just be me and it helped me see that all these years through all the work I was doing with my personal development business that this is the core of the message I needed to deliver. Being in my weakest spot, brought about my greatest success. I have been able to build a successful podcast, blog and consulting business because this moment in my life forced me to be me, truly learn what I wanted to do and go at it without letting anything stand in my way.
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
As I mentioned earlier, I was a teen mom. Becoming a mom at a young age truly contributed to building my resilience. I shared some of my story earlier, but I will say that being a teen mom, really established my character and made me who I am today.
As a teenage girl with plans to go to college, I found my college dreams thwarted by this unplanned pregnancy. While my friends were preparing to go to college, I was preparing for motherhood. I had to grow up, get a job, and overnight I went from being a child with no responsibilities to someone’s mother.
From there I was thrust into the world of teenage motherhood, lack, and poverty and soon depression took over my life. I lost all motivation for everything and found myself emotionally unavailable to my son and withdrawing from life altogether. One day I decided I was going to end my life, however through what I call “divine intervention”, my life did not end that day.
Instead that day became the beginning of my transformational journey which led me to where I am today. It wasn’t easy and I encountered many setbacks over the years, but that day I became determined to live and achieve success no matter the odds.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Know your purpose and never forget it. Life is full of distractions and these distractions often come in the form of problems. It is up to you to not get caught up in your problems or let your problems take control over your life.
- Recognize that change happens and be okay with it. We can have the best laid plans and then “BOOM” life happens. No better example than that is the current pandemic we are in. No one would have ever thought a pandemic would come and completely shut everything down. It is up to you to learn to be flexible and adapt to change so that you don’t get stuck. While you can’t control the pandemic there are many things in your life that you do have control over. Trust the process and do what you can.
- Look for the good in every situation. It is so easy to get bogged down by a negative mindset and by the “bad” things that happen to us. However, I challenge you that instead of focusing on the “bad” or on the problem, start to switch your mindset and instead look for the good in every situation. I believe experience is life’s greatest teacher. Take notes on the experience, learn the lessons you can, and then move on. Don’t get stuck.
- Realize that life is full of highs and lows, peaks and valleys. It is natural for you to experience some of your best moments, followed by some of you lowest moments. While we all would love for life to be good to us all the time, that is not the case. Life happens and there is nothing you can do about. Stay aware. Stay alert and realize that this too shall pass and there is light at the end of tunnel.
- Have a determined and growth mindset. Always look for opportunities to grow and evolved. Don’t let anything stand in your way. When you have a determined spirit, you become unstoppable. You find strength that you don’t know you have and realize that you can make it through just about anything. It doesn’t mean it won’t be hard, but you will realize that nothing is impossible and as long as you keep pushing, learning, and evolving you will do just fine.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I have a podcast called “More Than A Mother” where we believe moms can pursue their dreams and be great moms at the same time. Through this I hope to start a motherhood movement. I hope to empower moms to flip the script on motherhood. For too long, moms have sacrificed everything for their families and loved ones. Moms seem to lose their identity in motherhood and roles and feel guilty when we take steps to do things outside of mothering and caretaking. However, the More Than A Mother movement is saying goodbye to mom guilt and hello to our dreams and goals. No longer does motherhood mean losing oneself.
When I last checked, there are 2 billion mothers in the world (85.4 million in the US). Imagine how impactful such a move would be. I hope to inspire nations of mothers to rise up, reclaim their power, and proudly say “I am more than a mother”. They can proclaim, “I have dreams, goals and I’m going after everything I want and more. That doesn’t make me any less of a mother or take anything away from my other roles. I was a woman before I was a mother, and I have every right to have joy and be content in all areas of life”. We give accolades and pay homage to our moms and those that came before us. We understand they did what worked for them, however, now is our time moms, and we can have it all.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
I would love to have a private breakfast/lunch with Sarah Jakes Roberts, who is the daughter of Bishop T.D. Jakes. She is a very prominent leader right especially in the church and I would love to sit down and talk with her about her journey as a teen mom who overcame obstacles and challenges while in the public eye. Both of us grew up in a two-parent household, in church all our lives and while I didn’t a parent that was a pastor (at the time, my mom is a pastor now), I was heavily involved in many church activities and ministries. And as God girls, “church” girls we both got pregnant and became teen mothers.
I cannot begin to imagine what it was like for her especially when her dad was/is in the public eye. All the battles I faced were behind closed doors only witnessed by a small amount of people. But her life was on public display so every challenge she encountered, every move she made was in the public eye and often times heavily criticized especially by those in the church. I believe she has such an inspirational story, which like myself, she detailed in her books and I think the two of us would have a dynamic conversation and perhaps even find a way to bring our greatness together to impact the lives of mothers, women and young ladies all around the world.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can connect with me on Facebook: https://facebook.com/LaWannMoses, Instagram: https://Instagram.com/LaWannMoses, LinkedIn: https://Linkedin.com/in/LaWannMoses and Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaWannMoses.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!