Life has a way of steering you in the right direction if you take a moment to listen. My mom’s advice has come back to me in ways I could never have even imagined.
I now affectionately refer to my mom as my “wise sage” and appreciate any and all insight she can share with me. She knows stuff. She’s lived through the depression and comes from a family of immigrants who spoke zero English when they arrived in Canada in the early 1900’s. Not only did my mom’s family of 13 children survive, but they thrived.
Hardship didn’t harden their perspective or hearts. In fact, quite the opposite happened. I’m honored to say that my mom and her siblings are kind-hearted, hard-working people who never accepted a handout. There was always enough to share, no matter how meager the meal or resource.
Here are the five life lessons I learned from my mom, and how I applied them to my business life today.
1. There's No Instant Success.
My mom’s family arrived in wintery Manitoba, Canada with a few broken suitcases and dreams for a better life. Let’s just say that success wasn't instant. It took decades to achieve stability and progress. Likewise, I would have never made it this far in my business if it weren’t for the financial and emotional support of my husband. Like mom and her family, consistency and persistence are essential attributes for success, and over time, it is achieved. (Note the emphasis on “over time”).
2. Laser Focus is KEY.
What's your focus? For my mom’s family, it was on surviving a brutal life with a lot of hardship. Being focused on what they needed to do to survive was critical. In a similar respect, I've had to be laser-focused on the business relationships, products, and services that I enter into to, so I can protect my time and energy. Laser focus helps to define where I spend my time. Plan ahead, work the plan and continue to modify until you have a well-oiled machine.
3. Be Transparent.
It’s okay that you're not perfect and don’t know everything. Neither did my mom’s family. But they were genuine in nature. And that’s what’s important. My background is in nutrition and at the time of graduation back in 2008, I could have given a thorough overview of the hormonal and endocrine systems, cellular functions, organ functions, skeletal system, and brain chemistry. Today, I don’t remember a lot of that information other than “eat lots of fruits and vegetables”! I’m not afraid to say “I don’t know, but I will find out and get back to you.” Our knowledge can change, and our experiences come and go. What’s important is to be authentic and just be yourself. There’s only one of you! Love who you are.
4. Ask Others.
My mom’s family lived in a farming community with neighbors living several acres apart. Asking what your neighbors needed and pitching in to help or offering friendship or food was simply the thing you did, period. This mindset has helped guide me in my business by instilling the “just ask” mentality by asking my customers for feedback. By getting their insight on what is important to them, it helps me to refine the lesson plans, recipes, and services that we offer. I like to engage in conversation (written or verbal) with my customers and prospects. I want to know what they NEED. Are they moms looking for a break? Do they need extra income? Or are they looking to turn their kids into little chefs? How can my company help them?
5. Are You Passionate?
My mom’s family was passionate. In fact, it was their passion for wanting a better life for themselves and future generations that allowed them to persist and thrive. Quite honestly, running a business can be tough, and even sometimes nothing short of blood, sweat, and tears. Literally. If I wasn’t so passionate about my vision, I don’t know that I could have hung on this long. (See point #1 again).
It’s been a battle for sure, and there have been many days that I wanted to quit because of stress, legalities, or the sheer risk involved. When you hear me mention things in social media like “I just jumped without a parachute” – it means I made a decision about something that may have put my family or business at risk. By FAITH, I believe that things will somehow work out. Scary but true.
I’m very thankful to have a mom who is humble, hard-working, and compassionate. I’m also grateful for the life lessons she gave and by teaching by example. I do believe these qualities can help in both business and personal relationships, and I hope that some of these insights shared can help you with your journey. Wishing you much success.
Jan Pinnington is a Nutritional Consultant, wife, mother, and “consummate foodie.” She specializes in teaching nutrition and healthy recipe preparation to kids. In an effort to fight childhood obesity, Jan’s company, Healthy Hands Cooking, teaches other women across the U.S. to do the same. Her philosophy? Love what you do, do what you love, and share your experience with others.