Life Lessons From My Mother

And how they helped me build my business.

Mom and I at Wolftrap in DC for a show last summer :)

My mom is awesome. And so is yours. And yours.

We all love our moms.

Thinking back over my almost 33 years of life, I can pinpoint specific lessons I’ve learned from my mom — and how they have related to building and growing my business.

In honor of Mother’s Day and in honor of my mom, I’d like to share those top 7 lessons with you! We can learn from moms together.

Lesson #1: Stay True to Who You Are

My mother is a true example of loving yourself and staying true to who you are in life. She is uncompromising in her beliefs and her confidence and she makes everyone feel like they matter. She is a strong proponent of being confidently yourself and not listening to what others think.

Mom passed that confidence onto me, and it has allowed me to live very happily not caring what others think of me. Some people may not be supportive of you being an entrepreneur or may not understand it. That doesn’t matter. Your confidence in your skills and abilities is the most important factor when starting a new business. You have to believe in yourself even when things get tough.

Lesson #2: Do What Is Right

My mom had a poster that hung in her classroom which said, “What is right is not always easy and what is easy is not always right.” To this day, she lives by this motto; she is the most ethical person I know.

The easy way is not always the best way to achieve your goals. In business, there will be times when you have the chance to take shortcuts or do things in a way that could help you reach goals faster — but may cost you more in the long run. Staying ethical and doing the “right” thing, even when it is difficult, is what will allow your business to gain trust and credibility with your clients.

Lesson #3: Surround Yourself With People You Trust

My mother is the type of person who will invite strangers to the Passover seder, adopt a grandfather she found needing help at the supermarket, and open her heart, wallet, or home to those who need help. Those first two examples were not made up.

My mom showed me that family is what you make it. The people you love, the people who love and support you, those are the ones you should surround yourself with.

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4 generations of awesome women.

In business, it is important to develop trust with clients, vendors, contractors, and anyone else you do business with. If you cannot trust them with your vision and your process, do not let them in — it will only hurt you and potentially your bottom line. It’s important to cultivate relationships and surround yourself with people you can trust and rely on.

Lesson #4: Support Your Peers

Mom never believed in a scarcity of success. She knows that there is enough success for everyone to have some. She has never once taken away from someone else’s success in order to have more for herself. She knows there is a deep well and enough for everyone.

In building a business, it can be hard to see others who are more successful than you. Instead of comparing and finding yourself lacking, support one another. Ask for help, tips, advice, anything. Offer your own. It is one of the reasons I give away so much free information on writing, freelancing, and entrepreneurship here on Medium and through my YouTube channel — because why should I hoard the information when it can help others?

Lesson #5: Have Grace Under Pressure

In a crisis, my mother is the one you want next to you. She is the personification of grace under pressure. She doesn’t freak out or collapse in tears, she does what needs to be done and then tends to her emotions later.

There will always be pressure and crises in business. It is simply a part of it. Being able to stand strong and do what needs to be done rationally is extremely important. Of course, you’re allowed to have emotions and be emotional, but that comes after the hard work.

Lesson #6: Take Chances

Mom is the most supportive person. When I moved from Florida to New York City at 23 years old, she cried in sadness that I was leaving while cheering me on to follow my dreams. She would never have wanted me to put away my dreams simply because she would miss me and wished I was closer.

Starting a business is a leap of faith. While it’s always good to have a backup plan, you have to trust that it’s the right choice for you and take a chance. You supplement that leap of faith with knowledge, skills, education, connections, and more. But it comes down to taking a chance on yourself.

Lesson #7: You Can Achieve Anything

It all comes back to confidence. My mom taught me that with hard work, dedication, and determination, I could do anything I set my mind to. And she’s right. I’ve spent my life working hard to kick ass at work, and I have achieved a comfortable level of success.

Starting and growing a business is not easy. It shouldn’t be! And it isn’t. But taking the time and effort to do the research, find your audience, put together systems and processes, cultivate relationship selling strategies, do the marketing, and learn to sell yourself, you can do it. If it were easy, everyone would do it! Anything worth doing is worth doing well and working hard to achieve your goals.

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Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

I’d love to hear about life lessons you’ve learned from your mom! Share your mother’s wise words so we can all learn more!

Entrepreneur, writer, editor, book coach, cat lover, weirdo, optimist. Author of “Write. Get Paid. Repeat.” & “Concept to Conclusion.” jyssicaschwartz.com

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