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  • Writer's pictureAlexis Gladstone

Advice From Your Mother for Business

On this mother’s day, I’ve been thinking a lot about my mother. She’s been gone for 23 years, and in some ways it seems like yesterday while other times it was a lifetime ago.

While we were growing up, our mothers (and fathers) were full of great advice. Of course, as children for the most part we probably rolled our eyes when we heard these words of wisdom. As we got older we can look at what was shared and realize just how sage the advice was. Here are some of my favorites.

You can catch more flies with honey. Yes, we heard that one a lot, and you probably still hear it today. Being kind is the key to building and keeping relationships, and getting help when we are having problems. Plus it’s good karma. When you think about it, it doesn’t cost us anything to be nice and kind. It just takes the right mindset. If that means you need to stop, take a deep breath, and count to three before you speak, that’s time well spent.

Some rules are made to be broken. In our house sitting down for family dinner, where we had an entrée, side, and salad was the norm. When we were younger we always had to finish what we put on our plate. Fast forward to when I was in high school. There were some Friday nights when my father worked late and it was only my mother and me for dinner. We would go on a late afternoon shopping spree and then pick up favorite “meal” to eat for dinner, a coconut cream pie. Whatever was left over we ate for breakfast. It was our secret, and we laughed all night long.

In the right situations, you can break the rules and even have some fun in the process. Most everyone breaks the rules sometimes. Don’t be hard on yourself or others when this happens. It could lead to something great.

Be your authentic self. While this was not advice that my mother actually voiced, it was something I observed. My mother loved fashion. I know I inherited my fashion gene from her. I remember watching her get dressed when she and my father were going out. More impactful than watching was knowing that she dressed for herself, wearing whatever she was in the mood for. She never cared if she was overdressed for the occasion. She always wore what made her happy.

Bringing our true, authentic self to work is a lesson we can all use. Whatever helps us feel our most powerful and authentic self, do it. Whether it’s how you dress, the colors you like to wear, the pen or notebook you use, or where you sit in a meeting. Just be you.

Women can do anything. This was both said and modeled. My mother didn’t work in the classic sense while we were younger, but she did volunteer a lot. In most every organization she was a part of, she held board and officer positions. She spearheaded many fundraisers. She was even the first woman president of our synagogue.

Over the years she also owned several businesses. First an art store that sold reproduction prints and Egyptian revival jewelry. Later she opened a women’s boutique where she finally got to indulge in her true passion. She encouraged my sisters and me to be independent in both thinking and living. We have all had great careers while also picking up her passion for generosity and volunteering.

Mothers are full of wisdom if we just take the time to stop and listen.

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