‘What My Mom Taught Me’
A mother’s wisdom is a priceless asset.
-Renee Weisman, Excelle.com
Recently, as my granddaughter was completing a complicated project, my daughter told her, “I’m so proud of you for trying hard and doing your best.” I realized she was repeating to her child a statement my mother had said to me and my grandmother had told her. This simple statement was starting its fifth generation (at least as far as I know).
With Mother’s Day approaching, I stopped to think about the many things my mother, a working mom in the 1940’s through 1960’s, taught me. Many of Mom’s comments sustained me through difficult times at work. Perhaps they will help you as well.
This first piece of advice Mom told me, at as a young an age as I can remember, was: “Do your best, and whatever happens, you will make me proud.” Mom didn’t care if I won, if I got an A or a B (or a C), or if I received an award or not. She did care that I would make the effort and give it my all. From this I learned to work hard and that I did not have to be perfect for her to appreciate me.
But surprisingly, by taking the pressure off, I tried even harder and pushed to get the A, the first prize, or whatever I was seeking. This advice helped me in my career- sometimes when I was not sure if I was making the right decision I would remind myself I can only do my best, no more. As a manager and director, I often told my employees to “do their best” and it was liberating for them as well.
Mom’s second piece of wisdom was her answer whenever I was unsure whether to proceed with something new. She’d think for a few minutes and then ask me, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” I’d answer and she’d ask me, “What would I do if the worst thing happened?”