What Motherly Advice Has Helped Your Career?

There is never a shortage when it comes to motherly advice ... after all, “mother knows best”

When I was young, my mother played the piano and it was important to her that my older sister and I took lessons. So, I started piano lessons at the young age of five and continued until I was into my early teens. Between me and my sister, I was the lazy one who dragged her feet to the piano bench and tried to turn a half-hour lesson into fifteen minutes. My mom would always say, “Practice makes perfect.” And, I would roll my eyes, say, “Yeah right, mom …” and wonder why I was expected to play the piano while my younger brothers ran out and enjoyed the great outdoors.

Now, years later, I regret I didn’t listen to this mom advice and take my lessons seriously. Not only because I can’t play the piano very well (although I can play a decent “Chopsticks”) but also because there was a lesson in her words that applies to life as I know it today. My career has always been a big part of my life and when I apply her advice, I hear my mother telling me that when I start something new, I have to be patient, work diligently at it and, with focus, I’ll eventually excel.

Interested to know what other life lessons mothers have imparted on their children, I asked coworkers of mine, “What words of wisdom did your mother give that turned out to be significant to your career?” Here are a few … do these sound familiar to you?

  • “Having good communication skills will be valuable in your career.” My mom knew that earning a journalism degree and refining my communication skills through an internship in college would set me up for a great start as I began my career many years ago. She'd seen firsthand in the workplace how verbal and writing skills helped people stand out for the right or wrong reasons. Communication skills have proven to be essential to my career success. – Michelle Johanson, freelance public relations writer and editor
  • “Pick your battles.” When you're a kid, every obstacle or issue seems like the biggest deal ever. For example, if my sister did something dumb, like eat the last cookie, my first instinct, like any child, was to cry and make a scene. But my mom had a way of explaining that sometimes you just have to brush things off and move on. Things don't always go your way at work, either. Coworkers may annoy the heck out of you or disagree with you on things, but sometimes it's just not worth stirring things up. Being the "bigger man" (or woman) can keep you out of trouble and sane. – Cynthia Kong, senior public relations manager
  • “Play nice with the other kids.” Not that I wasn’t a nice child, but my mom always emphasized the importance of getting along with others. I think her advice has served me well in my career. I try to build strong relationships with coworkers and help others when I can. It pays off in spades when I need assistance on a project or have to call in a favor. – Abby Welch, public relations director
  • “Failure is the best way to learn.” I like to take risks and sometimes they didn’t always work out. My mom would remind me that not everyone is successful all of the time and that when you fail, learn from the experience and do better next time. – Angie Zigrossi, brand manager

What motherly advice has helped you in your career? We’d love to hear! And, from all of us at OfficeTeam: Happy Mother’s Day!