I had the pleasure of having my mother in my life for 27 years. The influence she had on the direction of my life and success, personally and professionally, in that short period is immeasurable. Mom, like many women of her era, focused on and raised a large family. While doing so, unlike many of her friends, she also went to work in the family business. She thrived as a professional outside the home. My father died unexpectedly at age 54, and my mom became a business owner.
During my early professional career, I had the privilege of experiencing her leadership as my “boss” and mentor for three enriching years. Mom has been gone for 25 years now, but her power lives on.
Here are a few pearls of wisdom she shared on being a successful, confident professional woman and leader in business and relationships:
Don’t pray for an easy life; pray to be a strong person.
I heard that statement many times as we worked together. Business is challenging and always will be. Mom knew that. She never hesitated to make the tough decisions when needed. She was a great example of diligence and hard work. She continued to learn, build the company, and serve our clients, all while balancing life as a mother.
Real leadership means encouraging and allowing others to do what they are capable of, even when they doubt themselves.
I remember in my first few months when Mom sent me out of town to do a presentation at the last minute because she could not. I felt woefully unprepared. I still remember sitting in the hotel room, taking notes as she coached me by phone for what I needed to present that evening. It was not my finest hour, but it proved to me what was possible if we push through fear (something every professional woman feels at certain moments in her career).
Show recognition, encouragement, and appreciation to those you impact in your work and community.
After Mom was gone, I went back to calling on clients. As I did, I began hearing inspiring stories of interactions where she had encouraged people or let them know what they did well in their work. Some clients pulled out handwritten notes sent to them by Mom to recognize moments of triumph, or to appreciate them in times of challenge in their business and life. In our “high-tech, low-touch” business environment today, this gesture is less common, yet more needed than ever.
These words of wisdom from Mom can help us as we confidently make a difference in our relationships and business success.