Finding Happiness
as a Mother

At Wright, we like to focus on the age-old saying, “If mama isn’t happy, nobody’s happy!”

Can motherhood bring joy? Learn to find happiness as a mother.


 

When I was a graduate student at Wright Graduate University, I wrote my dissertation on Expanding Mothering: Raising a Woman’s Awareness of the Opportunities for Personal and Psychosocial Growth and Development in Mothering—A Curriculum Evaluation Study.

A mother of two daughters myself, to say the program and my EdD journey was a profound personal exploration would be an understatement. The program and my studies deepened my relationship with my daughters, as well as my sense of self.

As a coach for sixteen years, I’ve seen time and again the way parenting can both halt and expand personal growth, particularly motherhood. (Although fatherhood isn’t without its own set of growth opportunities.) Mothers, as caretakers, are often balancing what Dr. Judith Wright refers to as the Trifecta of Mothering—mothering children, mothering career and interests, and mothering yourself.

It’s not hard to guess which area is often avoided, put on the back burner, or hidden away during our years as young mothers.

For myself personally, this was the case—I found that I avoided my own emotions, needs and yearnings, often deferring to the needs of my children and my clients, rather than caring for myself and doing my own personal growth work.

Through my doctoral studies at Wright, my coaches, advisors and allies were able to help me reawaken this sense of myself and stir within me the strong desire to help fellow mothers and women in my life stop delaying their own yearnings.

The Parenting Program at Wright

The parenting program at Wright takes foundational work…and brings it to focus in the arena of parenting.

In this program, students engage in coaching and training that are deeply rooted in proven theories and methodologies—most particularly Adlerian psychology and methodology.

Dr. Bob Wright has designed parent and child weekend training programs that are laboratories for parents and their children to live the Wright Integrative Model. These fun, structured weekends give a safe place to really strengthen parent connections and apply insights to parenting skills.

On these weekends, parents are challenged to look at what they are satisfied with, or not, in their role as a parent. Mothers receive training and learn skills on how to engage with their children so they are satisfied and have the opportunity to practice those skills immediately on that weekend with the support of other mothers and facilitators.

Wright parenting also includes family system analysis, which fosters deep understanding of the current family system and coaching to bring out the best in each member of the system. Everyone has a different role within the family unit, and it’s important to understand how these roles play out and where they can lead.

The Wright parenting model uses the rare approach of focusing always on the mother’s own self-improvement and having her practice at the task of mothering. In doing so, the Wright model is a framework based on mutuality, focusing on the mother-child dyad and specifically on the mother’s growth and learning in the process.

It charges the mother with becoming aware of her own emotional manifestations and to focus on her own satisfaction, all the while clearing the limiting beliefs that underlie less than optimal thought, feeling, and behavior patterns.

In this new model of raising children, the mother is engaged in her own growth and development as she also nurtures the development of her child. This personal growth focus empowers her to “grow up” with her child(ren)—what the transactional analysis theorists refer to as re-parenting herself.

SOFIA Women’s Program

Founded in 1990 by Judith Wright, SOFIA – the Society of Femininity in Action – is the Wright Foundation’s program for women. Members of SOFIA are trained in feminine leadership harnessing the power of values based in feminine principles such as caring, beauty, cooperation, and feelings at the same time honoring masculine principles as the support to get things done.

In the trainings and curriculum of SOFIA women are exposed to the following concepts: the state of feminine values in our world, the way we as women get in our own way of valuing feminine gifts, an exploration of the limiting behaviors that keep us from becoming who we were meant to be, inspiring examples of women who have broken through the mold to create lives of meaning and purpose, and context about emotional charges and responsible expression.

For a woman who is engaged in personal growth and transformation, it is critical she aligns with her feminine values as they are the medium for a deeper connection with her most genuine self. This is incredibly challenging in our culture that values masculine principles over feminine. SOFIA does not propose one is better than the other, rather it shares with women a vision of the two forces working powerfully together for fulfilling and productive outcomes.

It is through the women’s training and curriculum developed by Dr. Wright that a woman is exposed to new ways of thinking of herself in the world.

One concept, in particular, that was introduced to women at the seminar was that because they are women they are already mothers. A woman does not have to birth a child to be a mother when mothering is seen as a feminine quality and something all women share.

A woman can best manifest herself in her full feminine when she uses masculine values to accomplish her deeper desire. Wright calls it, “using the masculine in service of the feminine.” A simple example would be where a woman is in touch with her feminine value of beauty and she uses the masculine value of results and orders flowers to be delivered monthly to her office.

Embracing Our Role as Women

Many times women might feel their status of “motherhood” IS their identity. While motherhood of self, career or children (or a combination) is a powerful role, it’s only a part of who we really are at our core. Our potential goes beyond simply nurturing and caring for others.

As we explore our relationships with others and ourselves, it’s important to look both internally and externally—to gain inspiration and engage with our children, but not to live through them; to be examples of women leading fuller and more expressive and engaged lives; to be leaders and find strength within our femininity.

Doing your own personal growth work and exploration is fundamental to uncovering our full potential. If you’re seeking a deeper fulfillment, a stronger connection with those around you, or even to find the power within your role as a mother and nurturer, the Wright parenting program is unparalleled.


If you’re ready to explore these themes, please contact us at Wright. You can work with a life coach to help discover your path and articulate your vision. For more information, please visit us at wrightliving.com.


About the Author

Gertrude Lyons

Gertrude Lyons is a human emergence coach and adjunct faculty member at Wright Graduate University. Her academic career spans from a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Accounting, a master’s in psychology from Antioch University, and a newly completed doctoral degree from WGU. Gertrude is wife and mother of two and resides in Chicago, IL where she continues to learn, grow, and develop her skills as a human emergence coach with the Wright team.


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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Why You Need More Allies, Instead of More Friends

Do you think your coworkers have influence over you? What about your significant other? Your friends? Could they get you to do something just because you’re following the crowd?

In life, we need more allies than friends.


 

You’re probably thinking, “Eh, maybe a little, but I’m a pretty tough, independent guy/gal. I’m beyond being suckered in by others’ influences. Influences are for Junior High kids.”

Think again, buddy.

Surprisingly, we all have a wide circle of influence—larger and stronger and more powerful than we may realize, think or believe.

We’re Less Than Six Degrees Apart

Remember a few years ago, when the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” was all the rage? People were fascinated by the theory that any Hollywood actor could be connected back to the actor Kevin Bacon through six connections or less. It became a popular party game. People would sit around trying to link back to Kevin Bacon.

Truth be told, this separation? It’s not limited to just actors, and in fact, it doesn’t even go as far as six degrees. Not even close! In fact, a Facebook study revealed that users in the United States were separated by only 3.46 degrees! Everyone—from the lady at the coffee shop, to the mechanic in Arkansas, to the elderly woman in Salt Lake City—you’re connected THAT closely to the people in the world around you.

The people we surround yourself with have an impact on our actions and our achievements. Look at “herd mentality” when it comes to trends, the stock market, and more. In fact, there are plenty of consumer studies out there on the way we influence each other’s’ choices in purchasing, how we dress, and even what we eat.

The thing about herd mentality and the influence of others is that we all think we’re “above” it, right? We ALL think we’re independent thinkers. We control our own minds and choices, right? Well, guess what?

As it turns out, our circle of influence is much stronger and broader reaching than we think or realize. If you go into a room with a bad attitude or feeling like you’re having a crappy day, your influence will spread. Rapidly. Like an infection, you’ll actually bring every person down you come in contact with.

The reverse is also true. In phone sales training, you may have heard the phrase “dial and smile”—because your smile can be heard in the pitch and tenor of your voice. Even without seeing you, customers can literally tell when you aren’t smiling or happy to be selling something. Your influence even extends through the phone!

So what can we take away from all this? Are we just products of our environment? Is it time for an existential crisis?

Do we have any free will at all?

Surrounding Yourself with Transformational People

Of course the point isn’t to scare you into feeling helpless or powerless. In fact, the knowledge of your influence should actually make you feel MORE powerful and even MORE in control.

You are a person of great influence!

As it turns out, you have incredible power over the people in your life.

For example, in a study called The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years (PDF), it was found that people who were obese were more likely to have friends who were also obese. In turn, the friends-of-friends of the obese people were also more likely to be obese. And here’s the kicker: almost unbelievably, the friends-of-friends-of-friends were ALSO more likely to be obese. This isn’t a lesson on obesity, of course—it’s about the power of our influence. Our habits can affect not only our family and friends, but also our friends’ friends…and even our friends’ friends’ friends. If just our habits can do that, imagine what our attitude can do!

Right now, you have influence over somewhere around 1,000 people. Your habits, your actions, and your attitude—they all have an influence on over 1,000 people in your circle.

YOU have the power within you to influence all those people with your positive choices, your goals, and your actions.

…and you also have the power to be a stick in the mud and bring everyone down. It’s up to you.

This is why the importance of surrounding yourself with transformational leaders cannot be understated. If you want to be MORE, to feel MORE, to GROW, learn and engage, you have to surround yourself with not simply friends, but allies.

Friends vs. Allies

Friends love you for how you are. Your friends might be good influences…or they might look to you to co-conspire, to be an ear and a sounding board, or to listen, nod and smile. Friends bitch and moan to us, and yes, they care—but sometimes they’re too polite. They have their agenda. Hey, they’re friendly.

Allies, on the other hand, bring to mind a different image. We think of allies as partners in war, right? World War II, we think of the Allied forces—those who came to the aid of partner countries and helped hold the line and fight against the Axis powers.

Allies have your back. They fight with you. They call you out on your shit. They’re tough. They’ll tell you when you screw up and when you’re not doing the job you should be doing. They’ll tell you when you aren’t living up to your own expectations.

We can find allies all around us. An ally might be your life coach, your partner, or your mentor. Yes, an ally might be your friend, but a friend might not always be an ally. To truly be someone’s ally, you might need to give them tough love—not warm and fuzzy acceptance and permissive leeway, but brutal honesty.

Greatness is in each of us. Our allies know that, and more than that, they expect it. Surround yourself with allies and you will win each battle and continue to forge ahead. Allies believe in us because they can see the truth of who we are.

So look at your circle. Who influences you and whom do you have influence over? Are you their ally and are they yours? Are you pushing your friends, your partner, and yourself to be the best you can be? Are you being an ally to yourself as well as to others, or do you listen to your own excuses?


For more on how you can become a transformational agent and ignite your world, please read more on our blog at Wright Living. You’ll learn more about how to connect with those around you, expand your circle of influence, and push yourself beyond your comfort zone to a place when you can truly be your best self.


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

New Year, New Outlook – Fulfillment Beyond Goals

I remember this time last year, I was really struggling to start the New Year out right with a positive, can-do attitude. Things have been challenging for us financially and it hangs over my head like a cloud. Additionally, we have an amazing list of initiatives. Each one seems the most important when it is the one in focus, but this most important one gets shoved aside when the ‘next most important one’ comes into view. Talk about how to eat an elephant! It is easy to say, “Just eat it one bite at a time,” but it is quite another thing when that immense carcass is looming. Focusing on each bite and taking responsibility to preserve the carcass so we can eat it is a real challenge.

These thoughts were how I started my day, overwhelmed, challenged, and despairing. I just had a dream about someone on life-support to top that off. While eating breakfast, I had finished reading the paper. I began reviewing our book Transformed! to prepare myself for media and the book launch. We had quite a bit lined up and I remember I was going on Coast to Coast, a nationally syndicated late night radio show for three hours on January 10 and 11, 2013.

It was then that I read the section on recognizing our deeper yearnings in our book. We say to list goals and ask ourselves why we want that goal and what we hope it will do for us. We begin by communicating to ourselves, “I want this goal so that ________.” Our book directs us to keep digging until we find the deeper yearning beneath it.

I told my wife Judith about the irony of how much I needed these words right then and how I needed to practice what we preach right now by focusing on my immediate yearnings. Judith asked me a few revealing questions and I clearly was fearing pain and problems in the future and failing to choose full aliveness in the moment. Judith helped me further clear some stinking thinking that was going on in my head and it was really great. I recognized my desire for greater financial solidity and student flow is in order to have more fulfilling contact and joy.

I was missing that contact and joy in the moment right then. My day has been significantly different since then as I work on my next transformation—whatever that is. We know this since real transformation isn’t something we plan but something that emerges and is discovered—way beyond goals.

So, here is my outreach and contact—wishing you all the joy of the season and a life full of realized yearning that inspires you to engage in ways that reveal your next most radiant self and help you to the greatest contact and service.

Warmly,

–Bob

Do you want to take your New Year resolutions and fulfill them? Download Two Free Chapters of the award-winning book Transformed!: The Science of Spectacular Living and start making life goals that fulfill you.