What Mitt Romney taught me about being a successful mother

By Connie Sokol | Posted - Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:29pm



SALT LAKE CITY — I’ve been thinking a lot lately about success, what that really means. What happens when two different people work hard and do good, but one person is considered “successful” and the other not?

Mitt Romney insightfully addressed this very question in a convocation speech in April 1999, which was recently published in BYU Magazine. He said his cousin had trained faithfully for the Olympics almost all his life, placing nationally and internationally. But during the Olympic trials he got the flu and didn’t make the team.

Another friend of Romney’s bumped around from job to job, seemingly aimless, until one day a friend suggested she help out with his new Internet business. At the time of his speech, her holdings in eBay were valued at almost $1 billion.

Both worked hard and did their personal best. But the point here is not about who achieved more or made more; it's about what the word “success” meant to either, and to us.


[The] secret to predictably successful living [is] the choice of standards by which you will judge your life's success.

–Mitt Romney, 1999 BYU convocation speech


Romney said, “[The] secret to predictably successful living [is] the choice of standards by which you will judge your life’s success.”

How do you judge your life’s success? Do you feel pressured for “success” to equate to the size of a home, make of a car. or number of awards that children bring home? Is it the size of your waistline, the amount in your bank account, or the social status of your children?

Romney suggested that what mattered most to him, and to most others, was love, family, service and devotion — core values, if you will. But if so many people feel that way, why do so many not feel successful?

Romney answered this way:

“It’s only fair that I warn you that it will not be easy for you to focus your life on achieving your core values. Unfortunately, virtually the entire world around you will ridicule those values and a life based on them…

"In airtime and public adulation, vengeance will rise above forgiveness, wealth above charity, power above loyalty, ease above work, luck above preparation. A relentless campaign will be waged for you to substitute [society’s] values for your values…”


It is empowering, invigorating and emancipating to live for the success you can control yourself, to live for your most deeply seated values and convictions.

–Mitt Romney, 1999 BYU convocation speech


And then he added:

“It is empowering, invigorating, and emancipating to live for the success you can control yourself, to live for your most deeply seated values and convictions.”

Exactly. I choose to spend my core time as a mother, and squeeze in some time for writing, speaking and consuming high-quality chocolate. If I based my success on society’s view of my net worth, I’d be in serious trouble (or eat more chocolate).

Find out what success truly means to you, then put your energies behind that definition and live it fully. I invite you not to measure your “success” on whether you perfectly achieved a personal goal, a child got straight "A's", or your husband got a promotion. True success is when we daily love, serve, and live in a way that is honorable and meaningful, moving forward and becoming better, with no serious regrets.


About the Author: Connie Sokol

Connie Sokol is an author, presenter, TV contributor and author who just released "Create a Powerful Life Plan: 3 Simple Steps to Your Ideal Life!" For more, visit www.conniesokol.com.

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