I had the good fortune of being raised by a strong and intelligent mother. Her advice provided comfort and encouragement during my childhood and, surprisingly, guided me well in my career. My mother was a great mentor, so I’ll share her words of wisdom to help others with their careers.
Like yourself…but not too much. Mom did a great job of instilling me with self-confidence, but always brought me back down to earth if I got too cocky. This healthy balance has been valuable in the business world. The key is having the confidence to articulate your ideas with strength and clarity, while having the warmth and humor needed to build relationships.
Work hard and get good grades. Mom insisted on glowing report cards. As a kid, I thought her expectations were tough, but today I’m glad her standards werehigh. Grades continue to be part of everyday life. Report cards have changed since fifth grade, but the outcome is the same. Those who performget rewarded.
Learn to play with others. Work is a team sport. Mom taught me that winning is great, but the way we win is more important. Follow the rules; don’t cheat. Listen to your coach. Treat your teammates well. These words ring true when dealing with colleagues today. My leadership philosophy hasn’t changed much since I was captain of the school softball team: find the great talent, utilize their strengths, improve their weaknesses, motivate them, and get out of their way.
You can do anything you set your mind to. As a young girl in the 1960s, my early aspirations were of careers considered off-limits to women of the time astronaut, President of the United States, professional baseball player—but Mom never smirked. Instead she said, “You can do anything you set your mind to.” That gave me the confidence, perhaps fearlessness, to pursue those things that were outside my comfort zone.
We all have our own version of “Mom’s Words” to guide our future. My favorite piece of advice, however, is one I found on my own as an adult: find what makes you happy and stick with it.