Calling Esther Wojcicki's three daughters overachievers is an understatement.
Susan is the CEO of YouTube. Janet is a professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco. And Anne, the baby, is a co-founder and CEO of genetics company 23andMe.
Usually, there's at least one dud in there. But all three of these women are super successful. So how on earth did their mother do it?
Wojcicki tells Motto it's all about raising them to be confident, and to have a total disregard for social norms.
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She also taught them the importance of learning things for themselves.
“My theory has always been: ‘The more you do for your kids, the less they do for themselves,” she says.
There's one thing she left out from her parenting approach altogether: appearance.
She didn't try to tell her daughters to love their bodies, or give them advice about clothes or makeup. Wojcicki simply left it out of the conversation altogether, and encouraged them not to think about the way they looked.
— Esther Wojcicki (@EstherWojcicki)
“You get dressed in a certain way that you look okay, you don’t focus on it, you don’t overeat or anything and you get on with what you’re doing in life,” she says.
“Average looks are just fine. If you’re ugly, I think it does impact you. But anybody who’s average—just get with the picture.”
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Funnily enough, Wojcicki's friends actually offered her condolences when she had three girls.
“There was this sort of commiseration,” she says. “Like ‘Oh my god, a third girl, what are you going to do?'”
But instead of seeing it as a stroke of bad luck, she took up the challenge. And boy did it pay off. Encouraging her daughters not to focus on perfection is the reason they've become so successful, she says. Especially in male-dominated industries like tech and medicine.
"They all try to do their best, but they forgive themselves," she says. "A perfectionist does not forgive themselves for doing something that isn’t perfect. And they do. They don’t hold themselves to blame.”