As we take time on Sunday to celebrate our Mothers, we wanted to highlight some of the business lessons we were taught that continue to resonate daily in our approach to managing our work, life, and businesses.
Nothing is As Scary as It Seems: When my parents separated years ago, my mom slowly started working on things around the house. For a person who never dabbled in these household chores before, there were definitely a few trial-and-errors and more than one injury. Fast forward to about 10 years later, and I walk into my mom’s house to see her in sweats and slippers with a sledgehammer tearing down a wall in her living room. She has redone every room in her fixer-upper house — replaced the flooring, designed a master bathroom, revamped her entire backyard landscaping, and put in her dream kitchen all on her own. Was it intimidating? Sure. Did she spend a few Saturday mornings taking home renovation classes at Home Depot? Absolutely. A tool belt was her favorite Christmas gift last year, and she’s now the go-to expert for all of her friends. She’s doubled the value of her home, but more importantly she’s proven to herself that she can do anything she wants to do, even if it seems a little scary. She’s been an incredible example of confidence, fortitude, and self-reliance for my sisters and I, and she has no plans to slow down any time soon!
Starting a new business venture or project can seem intimidating, but finding the right resources, and more importantly, taking that leap of faith can pay off in the end.
Appreciate the Uniqueness of Your Team: I have two sisters, and we are just about as different as three people can be – one type-a athlete, one theater-focused artist, and one sensitive dancer. This meant that growing up we never participated in any of the same activities and were (and still are) never on the same page about anything. My mom, ever the peacemaker with a station wagon, did everything she could to give us the opportunities to participate in whatever interested us most and express ourselves as individuals. However, she also made sure that we attended each other’s competitions and performances and celebrated one another’s successes over a scoop of ice cream or a special dinner. She made sure to remind us (and still does) that having a different perspective doesn’t mean one of us is wrong and to value and appreciate each other’s unique talents.
How you treat your team and your employees can make a huge difference in the success of your business. Working with people who aren’t exactly the same as you are, or approach an opportunity differently, can be a great asset for building out your business capabilities.
Follow-Through on Your Plans: I think every kid remembers being invited somewhere, saying you’d go, and then something even more amazing comes up (think an invite to an amusement park) that maybe you’d rather do. This wasn’t an option in my house – if you had plans and had committed already, you were going. My mom helped my brother, sister, and I understand the importance of reliability, being true to your word, and not disappointing people who are counting on you. My mom was full of life lessons, but this lesson is one that has shaped the way I operate, both personally and professionally.
Telling a customer you are going to do something is great, but if it’s not something you can do, not delivering is worse than just saying ‘no’ to begin with. Similarly, if you say you are going to attend a networking event, or even join a conference call, do it – it shows that you are reliable and value the person’s time and effort. Being true to your word helps customers, colleagues, and managers know that you are someone they can count on, no matter what.
Never Give Up on Your Dreams: My mom, Barbara, recently taught me a valuable lesson about never giving up on your dreams. 33-years-ago when my brother was born, my mom effectively stopped her dream of becoming a famous stage actress. She spent her time raising the two of us and then became a Realtor. Two years ago, she decided it was time to get back on stage! She auditioned for any role that came up and started getting booked regularly. Fast forward to today, she’s a full time working actress who’s won a few local awards and was just offered a role in a play that will tour China this year.
You had a dream for your business, but somewhere along the line you got comfortable in your routine and no longer take risks. It’s never too late to update your approach or try out a new program to make your business what you dreamed it could be.
Have Fun With It: My mom has always been adamant that you should marry someone you have fun with, work somewhere that brings you joy, and never take life (or yourself) too seriously. Whether she’s rescuing another stray animal from the woods or teaching 1st graders how to blow their nose at school, she finds joy in the little things, like sitting around a campfire with family and friends. One of the most down-to-earth women I’ve ever known, she keeps me real and reminds me to keep a light heart, which is an invaluable tip for a Type A personality.
You spend half of your waking hours at work — make it something you have a passion for, something that brings you joy! When the days get long and stressful, don’t forget to pause, take a breath, and reconnect with the fun of it.
Thanks, Moms, for teaching the valuable lessons that keep us all on track.