“We live as we speak” isn’t my expression. I have borrowed it from two women whom I respect immensely: Dr. Jessica Apel and Dr. Kirsten Smith. In this, the year 2018, Dr. Apel and Dr. Smith will be taking a bold and brave step when they open their dream practice: Women Living Well.

“We live as we speak,” they say.

“Lead by example” is another way to say this. Leading by example is a burden and a blessing of being a mother. It is a critical component we all strive for and probably fail at daily. (The failing, by the way, is a critical part of living as we speak, as it provides us with opportunities for growth.)

We, as mothers, are leaders. Whether you think you are a leader or not, you are. You are leading your children through life. It is your job to model for them the values that you hold dear. They are watching you. They are listening to you (I swear they are, even your toddlers or your teenagers). What you say matters, but, more importantly, what you do matters.

Okay, take a deep breath right now. Take another one. One more.

I know it is scary. It is overwhelming. It is daunting. Most days you feel like you can’t do it. So do I. I spend 10 to 20 moments a day feeling the crushing responsibility of not only mothering a budding teenager, but also of leading and guiding hundreds of budding mothers.

So, I am going to share with you how I live as I speak.

I simply follow this pattern:

I have a deep desire.

I take action to move closer to that desire.

I follow through on that action (the hardest part for me).

I fail a little bit or a lot.

I spend a little or a lot of time lamenting my failure and pitying myself.

I remember that I love myself unconditionally.

I realize failure is not an option and that I must change the plan but not the goal. So then…

I stoke the fire of my desire.

I tweak the action I will take to achieve this desire.

I follow through.

I fail a little bit or a lot.

But in failing, I succeed, as I show my daughter the example of enduring through challenges because the end goal is worth it.

And sometimes I don’t fail at all. Sometimes, after putting in a lot of intense, ongoing effort, I see the fruits of my labor. I see my daughter embody the values I am striving to teach her, and I acknowledge that my efforts have been worth it after all.

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

That’s the cycle I live. That is the cycle I speak.