In honour of International Women’s Day on 8th March, let’s firstly acknowledge Matthew McConaughey’s Mother, who he mentioned in his speech at the Oscars. Indeed, she was there with him on the night, as you can see from the photo. In his speech, he thanked his parents for what they had taught him. Of his Mother, he said:

She “taught me and my two older brothers, demanded that we respect ourselves and what we in turn learned was that we were better able to respect others. Thank you for that Mamma.”

What great advice, what a powerful thing to teach your children. What a great demonstration of leadership within a family. What a wonderful demand!

So, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, have a think about your own “Mamma” and the lessons she taught you, either through what she said or through what she did. If you were to pay her a tribute, what is it that you would say about her? Here’s me paying public tribute to mine:

“Thanks Mam for teaching me not just through words, but consistently through your actions, over all of these years, what it means and what it feels like to be listened to in a loving and non judgemental way. Thank you for being a true Ambassador for warmth, kindness, generosity and unconditional love. Thanks for teaching me the importance of working hard and caring about what you do but also about others around you as you go about your work. Thank you for encouraging me always to do the best that I could and also the importance of being kind to myself, by dropping the unnecessary harsh voice and criticising tones along the way (I’m still Work In Progress on this 🙂 ). And if there was one thing that you ‘demanded’ of me, it was to “always give your best and then leave it at that”. Once done, accept it for what it is and accept yourself for who you are. Thank you, thank you, thank you Mam.”

So, no matter what your story is, or whether your Mum is alive and with you today or not, take a few moments to acknowledge the lessons and the demands that she made of you to help you be a better human being.

In addition and of inspiring importance, here are some of the other teaching points from Matthew McConaughey’s speech. I definitely think that they are worth unpacking and reflecting on a little deeper:

“There are three things, by my count that I need each day. One of them is someone to look up to, another is something to look forward to and another is someone to chase”.

So, here are some questions and thoughts to help you reflect on this Oscar-ly wisdom for yourself:

1. Who are you looking up to?
McConaughey says that it is God that he wants to thank because that is who he looks up to. It doesn’t matter if you call this God, or the underlying intelligence of the Universe, Higher Power, Angels or Spirit. You may not look up to anyone or anything at all. However, I think it is important not only to believe but to know how to connect to this intelligence and work with it, to allow it to help to guide and enable your life. As McConaughey says God has “graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand”. For me, these words describe what I believe and have come to experience, true leadership of self to be about. What I mean is that when we can be at one with our inner self, we can sense a deeper, more creative presence guiding our life. This presence comes from the Source of our being. It is in these moments that it seems as if what happens is not of our own hand or any other human hand for there is an ease and effortlessness to them, where doors open, abundance flows and where next steps appear for us to take. Operating from this place is much more about being than it is about doing but I think that this is a deeply enriching space and that our ultimate practice is to learn to live from here and occupy it in as many moments of our days as we can, if we want to be free from the external forces, chaos and turbulence of today’s pace.

2. What/who are you looking forward to?

McConaughey talks about his family as the what and who he looks forward to and that it is them who give him “significance and courage” every day. It is them, he says that he wants to make most proud. So, who or what anchors your best and most courageous actions? What or who in your life are you making a difference for? What or who motivates your behaviours and drives you on?

3. Who are you chasing?
Finally, he says that the one he is chasing is himself. He explains that when he was 15 years of age, someone asked him who his Hero was and after he thought about it, he replied that it was him, 10 years from then. To this day, he keeps chasing himself 10 years out. He says he knows he will never attain this, i.e. be his Hero ten years from now in this moment but that chasing it, keeps him aspiring and living.

I would suggest that we think about doing the same. Don’t make the person you are chasing someone else, who isn’t you, but rather choose to chase and to believe in your best Self – the best you can be. In my opinion they don’t have to be ten years ahead of you, but I certainly think that you have to believe that they are there as the hope for what is possible for who you can be and the contribution you can make.

Here’s the link to his speech, if you want to be further inspired. It’s not great quality but it is the speech in full.

Be the Best You Can Be