Business lessons from mom

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Moms teach us a lot of things, often without us even realizing it. And much of those lessons are applicable in our professional lives.

Moms teach us how to negotiate: “You can get some screen time after dinner, but only if you eat your vegetables.” They also teach us how to handle rejection: “No, you can’t go to your friend’s house tonight,” and how to manage a crisis: “Clean up that spill before it stains the carpet.”

With Mother’s Day approaching this weekend on Sunday, May 8, IB spoke to a couple local professionals about the lessons they learned from their mothers that have had an impact of them as professionals.

Natalie Gregerson, AVP/marketing, Capitol Bank

“Right away, I thought of this advice my mother often used to tell me growing up: ‘Remember there is only one you, don’t try to be like someone else.’

“How has this helped me as a professional? It is second nature to compare ourselves to others, especially in our careers. Sometimes we’re so busy thinking the grass is greener or being envious that it’s easy to forget about the unique qualities we as individuals bring to the workplace. I try to make those comparisons for constructive improvement, while simultaneously embracing my strengths and the things that make me unique and valuable.”

Dr. Debra Lafler, wellness and employee assistance program (EAP) manager, Wisconsin Department of Health Services

“My mother was a role model for me in many ways. First, she is a continuous learner. Throughout her life, she dedicated herself to being well-read in both the classics and current literature, as well as world news. This dedication modeled the importance of knowing how the history of our world or a certain industry influences the way we think and operate today, and how we evolve over time.

“Second, she excels at the art of connection when talking to others, especially in person. When she talks with someone, she is fully present, makes eye contact, and shows sincere interest in them, making people feel seen, heard, and valued. She also talks the same with anyone, no matter their social or professional status. Through this example, she taught me that everyone has intrinsic value, and no one is better or more important than anyone else, regardless of their differences.”

What else can moms teach us about business?

  1. The golden rule

Common courtesy should be common sense but that’s not always the case. Whether you’re speaking with investors or clients, interviewing potential new hires, or negotiating with other businesses, it’s important to remember that these are people you’re dealing with. Treating others with respect and kindness is something that can help establish your business as a company that cares and respects the people you encounter in all areas of your business relationships.

  1. Clean up your room

Whether organization comes easily to you or not, it’s an important aspect of any successful business career. A messy and disorganized office (or computer) is a surefire way to lose valuable productivity time. Most business owners spend a significant amount of time switching between tasks throughout the day. If you’re spending a large portion of that time trying to find important documents or trying to remember when your next appointment is, you’re losing valuable time that could be better spent working toward growing your business.

  1. Stop whining

Negativity has been proven time and time again to limit your abilities as a human being in all areas of your life. This is especially true in business. Positivity is not just about warm and fuzzy feelings; it contributes dramatically to productivity and can be the difference between a thriving business and a mediocre one.

Positivity also has a drastic effect on your employees and anyone on your team. If you model negativity and pessimism, your team will follow suit. Aside from simply making your company a miserable place to work, negativity can also severely limit your company’s growth potential.

  1. Work before play

Self-control is essential to any work situation. If you can get yourself into the habit of doing the most annoying tasks earlier in the day, you’ll be significantly more productive the rest of the day and will most likely finish all your tasks more quickly. That way you’ll be free to enjoy the things you truly enjoy doing whether they’re related to work or not.

  1. Get back up after you fall

Learning from your mistakes is an extremely important skill for anyone wishing to be a successful professional. Thinking that you’re immune to making mistakes is a foolish idea that will lead you to disappointment and will hinder your ability to succeed. On the flip side, acknowledging your mistakes and learning from them will set you on the path to being truly successful.

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