We glean more from our mothers than we’d like to admit. Because it is Mother’s Day, I thought it would be appropriate to pose the question of how our mothers influenced our independent path in our creative pursuits. It takes a particular type of person and upbringing to forge into the unknown with pursuing a small business and creative endeavor.
I asked a handful of my inspirational friends about their relationship to their mothers and how it made them who they are today in their entrepreneurial journey.
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The Ability To Completely Change Direction
My mother has enormous hustle. She’s a master of reinventing her career and life – something I absolutely inherited a taste for from an early age. The ability to completely change direction while transferring lessons learned from the past has come in handy throughout the course of my career. There’s also something really comforting about knowing that I’m capable of starting all over again in a new pursuit, it’s a security net that makes it less scary to go all in on a new endeavor. Maybe in our golden years, my mom and I will team up as international grifters or jewel thieves. I think we’d be pretty good at that.
K. Tighe @k_tighe
Onward Through The Fog
My mom had a quote in her office (she was/is a therapist) “Onward Through the Fog”. Definitely that “just keep moving attitude” has led me to post “Never Give Up” around my house and I made some buttons as well. Just keep moving.
Sara Tea Artist, Musician, DJ, Owner of Sarah Tea Shop
I Set An Example By Being Independent
My mom had me late in life and basically was not career oriented at all. I never got the sense that I needed to “do” anything in particular with my life, in a professional sense. So when I became a mom and realized I wanted flexibility to be with my kids I chose to follow my passion. I set an example to my daughters by being independent and my own boss when I started my business as a childbirth educator. Now I work for a major pediatric practice and make my own schedule completely. So I have the best of both worlds – A viable income and a good example of how to make a career not overwhelm your entire life by eating up 40 hours of your week 50 weeks a year.
Don’t Throw Fireworks Before The Party
My mom was an inspiration all around and she had tons of sayings that I may or may not have always agreed with like, “Don’t throw fireworks before the party”, or “Don’t show your hand or over-share ideas you want to execute”, “Protect yourself and your dreams”. I always battled a bit with this sort of cynical mindset when I was younger and believing in the good in people. But I think it always stayed with me and definitely helped me to achieve a decent balance in the middle. I’ve definitely learned through experience that she is right, sometimes there ARE “haters”or negative Debbie Downers out there, ready to discourage or even steal your ideas. I’ve caught up to it and just use a lil’ caution, but never cynicism. She also always lead by example. After arriving in this country at 30, raising 3 kids through elementary school without the English language, she was still hungry and full of her own entrepreneurial dreams. Ten years later, she pursued her cosmetology license, confidently, fearlessly and apologetically. The words “I can’t” were not in her vocabulary and she didn’t take “no” for an answer very often.
Keep Educating & Striving
What I learned from my mom is to be persistent and keep educating and striving to better my education and my work. Even with piano and music, I learned that if I gave up early on, I wouldn’t have the same enjoyment of it later in life. She was more an example of it then preaching or encouraging it, though.
Money Is A Tool For The Journey
My mom would always say, “It’s just money.” Which can be a double-edged sword if you choose to just toss money around willy-nilly, but I think it did drive home the idea that money is just that – A tool for the journey, but not the destination. There will always be more of it. (If you take the right steps and put in the effort, of course.) I had moments where I thought about taking out big bank loans to jump start my business, but I’m so glad I didn’t and chose to bootstrap almost everything instead. Money can provide gas in the engine, but your brain, your story, your why…no amount of money can buy that.
Mallory Whitfield Owner, Miss Malaprop
Don’t Count Yourself Out
My mom always said, “Don’t count yourself out. If you want to do something, then go for it. If you get turned down or rejected, then so be it. But don’t eliminate yourself by not even trying because you could just as easily be accepted and hugely successful.”
As for me, I am a third generation female entrepreneur in my family. My mother instilled in me the value of following through with my creative instincts, tempered by the practicality of being self-sustaining. Her message to me was always to follow through on my commitments, under promise and over deliver, and to understand the value of giving back to your community.
One of the best stories I have of a lesson that I learned from my mom was the importance of following through. As a kid, I couldn’t for the life of me understand why my mom was “making” me join the cheerleading squad when I had *clearly* done the try-outs as a dare and was accepted first-string. I was a cheeky kid. My mom is a woman of her word. I didn’t get why I had to stick it out through an entire season of french braids. The point was to honor your commitments; Don’t express interest and commit to things you don’t have the capacity for. 13-year-old me was ready to sabotage the cheerleading finals…and may have, showing up with New York Yankee boxers under her uniform, instead of the regulated bloomers. Sometimes it takes a little bit to sink in.
But, hey. You learn from what your mother teaches you. You can learn from what she says, or what she doesn’t say. You take the lessons and adapt accordingly.
I took the lessons my mom bestowed me and made them my own later in professional practices. If you’re not into it 100%, don’t put your energy into that arena. If your time and interest is not invested in a cause, don’t pretend to be authentic in your intentions. Don’t bliss front. Don’t pretend. You’re either into it, or you’re not.
And for the record, you won’t catch me in a cheerleading uniform again. But never say never.