What I Learned From My Mother
As we get ready to celebrate our moms and all the special women in our lives this Mother’s Day, we couldn’t help but think about how they’ve made a lasting impact on us, including on our professional lives. Our mothers guide us, teach us, support, and love us. Whether they are traditional in their approach or ahead of their time, we asked ourselves, what are some of the things we’ve learned from them that have helped us in our careers? Here’s what we found out…
Learn New Tools
Katie: When I was growing up my mom taught me to use a sewing machine so we could sew stuffed animals that I invented. This practice of imagining something and then creating it is part of my daily job, and by starting at a young age I now have a lot of confidence in my ability to make things, even when it requires learning new tools in the process. As a designer this is a great skill because my work can encompass everything from illustration to web development, and the tools we use are constantly changing.
Heather: Celebrating everything was a big part of my childhood. From Valentine’s Day pizza parties, in school “un-birthday” cupcakes (hello–summer birthday), St. Patrick’s Day dinners and even the centennial celebration of the Statue of Liberty, we celebrated it. She always said that it’s fun to celebrate all holidays big or small and why not make it special by decorating, throwing a party or baking up a sweet treat!
As a marketing professional, I’m always looking for creative ways to springboard ideas for social media content, campaign themes and concepts. I sometimes think that she was ahead of the trend, with all the “holidays” that pop up on social media these days. We often utilize smaller “holidays” or themes and find creative ways to tie them into a campaign to help a brand or product standout. Oh, and over the years my co-workers have benefited from many delicious baked goods.
Trust Your Instincts
Daniel: My mom has always been fiercely independent, knows when to trust her instincts, and she’s taught me to do the same. As a designer and visual problem solver, trusting my gut helps me to focus on the bigger picture, find creative solutions and keep the momentum going, moving forward even if I have limited information. I find using my intuition to be a powerful tool.
Reach Out to Others
Lynn: Whenever I was faced with a new opportunity or challenge, my mother’s advice was to never be afraid to reach out and learn from others. This has been a valuable lesson that has helped me in both my professional and family life. She gave me the confidence to network with people who had experience or knowledge in something that I was interested in pursuing. When I think about it now, I realize how my mother would happily connect me to someone who might be able to help—she always knew someone!
Make A List
Ashley: Throughout my childhood my mother was always making lists. Anytime we had a busy day ahead of us, you would find her crossing things off the list as we completed them. This is something I find myself doing in my professional life, and even when I just have a busy day of running errands at home. Crossing things off my daily to-do list helps me self-motivate and feel a little closer to mom every day.
Be Curious and Look Beyond Your First Impression
Mark: As a young kid, my Mom and I would read books together to learn about new things. We studied history, science, art and religion together–and then discussed what we’d read. I learned early on that there are many ways to see things, and there are always alternate ways to interpret what we believe is true. Understanding that absolute truth is rare, maybe even non-existent, has given me the ability to put myself in someone else’s position and empathize with their situation. I was trained as a designer and I’ve always said that to be a good designer you need to be a good actor, play the part of the user you’re trying to reach, in order to understand what they need and what motivates them. I also learned from Mom that I really love warm chocolate chip cookies that come right out of the oven!
Julie: One of the things that was remarkable about my Mother was that she was a great listener, and all who knew her were the fortunate recipients of that gift. One of the greatest signs of respect you can be shown is to be heard, and I learned early on how meaningful that was. Listening has enabled me to learn so much throughout my life. It’s helped me to gain a deep understanding of people that are very different from me, providing perspective, building relationships and enriching my life. I think this is why communication and bridge building is so important to me. Helping companies, organizations and brands communicate clearly and connect people with what they have to offer in meaningful ways is a natural extension of the values my mother shared.
To all the moms out there, we’re listening to you even if it doesn’t always seem like it.