My mom Mary is a great woman. She
harped instilled many life lessons that I have carried with me into my adult life. While I can remember rolling my eyes at her on more than one occasion, as it turns out, she was right.
Here are the top four leadership qualities & life lessons my mom taught me:
1. Suffer the consequences of your actions. I heard this phrase more often than any others while growing up. It was my mom’s way of teaching me cause and effect. If I acted inappropriately, I lost privileges. If I made poor decisions, I was punished for them. If I misbehaved, I had only myself to blame.
This lesson strongly applies to my adult life, too. If I do not save enough, I do not get to buy something. If I do not use my time wisely, I will run out of time. If I do not sometimes say no, I get overwhelmed, etc.
2. You can hate poverty and discrimination but not people. It was fairly close to a cardinal sin to utter the word “hate” in my household. If I dared utter that I hated either of my siblings, you better believe I had to suffer the consequences of my actions. My mom taught me that the only things you are allowed to hate are poverty, discrimination, homelessness, etc. But never people or trivial things like a homework assignment, movie or song.
This lesson laid the foundation for me to be a positive person. I definitely see the glass half full and always try to find the bright side or learning opportunity in every situation.
3. Resolutions should involve action. My family is Catholic and participates in Lent. During Lent, most Catholics give something up. It is very common for people to give up alcohol, chocolate or another favorite food. My mom always encouraged us to take action instead. Examples include cleaning our rooms without being asked, calling our grandparents once per week, etc.
Little did I know that my mom was teaching me how to set goals and objectives and make data-driven decisions.
4. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. As a child I was strongly discouraged from making fun of others, especially for a physical trait that could not be changed.
As an adult, this is probably the hardest lesson. Talking behind the backs of others is so common and in a sense, creates camaraderie amongst the gossipers. When I do find myself falling into this bad habit, I hear my mom’s voice and try to change the subject to something more productive.
The best thing about these life lessons is that I harp on them now, too. I have said all of these things at the office. When exactly did I turn into my mother?!?! As it turns out, if I turn out like her, I would consider myself a big success.