7 things my mother taught me about business and life
As an entrepreneur, I remember lessons my mother taught me early in life and implement them each day. I was born and raised in a family with working parents. While my father worked, it was my mother who made decisions for me and my sister. Mum heavily influenced my life. I write this post to honour her teachings that help me each day, during the good times and bad.
1) Conquer your weaknesses – I was always clumsy at dancing. Studying in the same school where she taught, she made it a point to make me participate in dance programs. Yes, I was afraid of being judged and making blunders. But she made the whole group practice a million times and perfect each move. Hell, I still remember the dance that was such a hit that we were called to four different places to perform. That’s when I learnt that every skill can be mastered with practice.
Work hard to conquer your weaknesses, she taught me. It’s all in the mind. Once you decide that you have to excel at a particular thing, you’ll upturn every stone to master it. Even today, she makes sure that I try to get a basic understanding of the very skills (my weaknesses) for which I hire people .
2) You won’t win every game – As a kid, I was forced to play basketball for six years. Being a fat kid, it was quite an ordeal to go through, for two hours each day. After every game, my mother was more interested in knowing whether I gave my 100% rather than knowing whether we won or lost. During those years, I learnt the importance of teamwork. Every task has to be delegated to the person who does it the best. It’s alright to fail, as long as you learn something from it.
Give your 100%, but remember that success or failure is not always in your hands. For instance, I’ve been at home for the last six months, helping my father to fight cancer. Consequently, I haven’t been able to expand or hire new people. At times, I’ve even thought of quitting, but the fighter in me makes me hold on. Whenever things get normal and I go back to work, I know that the learnings of the past year will help me to start again from scratch.
3) There are no free lunches – Nothing was handed down to my parents. They had to make their own fortune with their sweat. Father used to work for 12-14 hours a day. Mum used to wake up at 5 am, cook lunch, make our tiffins and then leave for work. Even now, apart from the days when my father has his treatments, both my parents work. For them, work is their religion. Since childhood, we’ve learnt the importance of hard work and that there’s no shortcut to success. Want something? Be prepared to work your ass off to earn it.
4) Set goals and reward yourself – As kids, my mum made us set milestones for ourselves. We’d celebrate and get rewarded on accomplishing the goal. These rewards were a source of motivation. They gave us something to work for, and encouraged us to set goals that had a difficult path. Even now, I set small goals and have rewards attached to them. This year, given my father’s health, I’ve set only a few goals for my firm. I’m eyeing a solo trip to Himachal as a personal reward for a small goal. The same goes with fitness, though I’m claiming desserts the next week. J
5) You learn the most when out of your comfort zone – Mum would always encourage me to go on school trips. If I wished to see a certain place, she would make sure that I go, even if none of my friends joined. There were times that I went on trips where I knew no one, forcing me to get out of my comfort zone and make new friends. These trips contributed to transforming me from an introvert to an extrovert.
We learn the most when we move out of our comfort zone. Get out and do things that you’re scared of doing – that’s when you discover your true potential.
6) Be nice – It sounds simple and easy, yet super challenging at times. Mum’s nice to everyone around her, right from our cook (who cooks terribly!) to people she hates.
Be nice. It’s very easy to look for the worst in people. As an entrepreneur, I often think about every person that I hire and ask myself, “What will I get in return?” When I hire the wrong people, she tells me to look for other roles for them, to which they can adapt. Sometimes the return for being nice is to make the other person’s day a little better. Do it.
7) Money doesn’t define you – Even though we were well-to-do, we were never allowed to show-off or spend extravagantly. There was a year when mum made me use hand-me-down books from a senior. Crazy as it may sound, she wanted me to learn to adapt to all situations. She believes that we’ll be remembered by our actions and not our wealth. Being worthy is as important as being successful.
My mum never ran her own business. Yet she teaches me a lot about how to run mine, though she doesn’t have to. All she did was make me learn dancing, basketball, hard work, rewarding myself, abandoning my comfort zone, being nice and worthy. Thanks mum!
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)