A Mother's Day Lesson on Career Development and Career Success

career development gratitude personal branding personal development personal values May 09, 2011
Career Development Lessons Mother's Day

As I’m writing today’s article on career development I’m reflecting on the lessons I’ve learned from my mother. Just yesterday was Mother’s Day.  Personally, it’s a significant one for me, the first since my mother lost her 11-year battle breast cancer.  Her longevity was quite remarkable considering she was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer in the winter of 2000. My family finally laid her to rest on Saturday.

So, in honor of my mother and all mothers on this Mother’s Day I’ve asked myself what is the best career advice I’ve learned from my mother, by her words or her deeds (this about this yourself as well).  At first this seemed like a bit of a challenge because my mother chose to be full time mother and housewife, and increasing rare choice and perhaps a difficult one during an era of increasing feminism, Women’s Rights, Equal Opportunity, and the like. Certainly while I was growing up there were both social and economic pressures for women to leave the home and join the work force. And here in lies perhaps the greatest, untold lesson from my mother.

You see, we all face economic and social pressures to follow a particular career path. Sometimes those pressures even come from our parents, well-meaning they may be. If you major in that you’ll be poor all of your life. To be successful you have to be a doctor, lawyer, etc.  If you haven’t heard that from your parents, perhaps you’ve heard that from friends, relatives or classmates. As a leader, you are likely managing people who have been taught that as well. And of course there are the economic pressures associated with school loans, car payments, mortgages, raising children, and so forth.  Can you really find happiness, personal fulfillment and pay for everything?

Here in lies the lesson – Define what success is to you, what you need to achieve it and steadfastly pursue that course regardless of the naysayers.

In your career, and life in general, you will hear a lot of people say you can’t do what you want to do. It’s too hard. It’s impossible. That’s not the way it’s done. The chances of succeeding are too small. All that tells you is they don’t know how to go about achieving that goal. It’s not of interest to them and they don’t see a path to success. You, however, have the interest and the passion to make it work. You can learn the skills you need to succeed. What you need is the strength to proceed and endure in the face of hardship and negativism. You need support to help you find the path you need to the destination you know you want to go to.

Perhaps this is starting to sound familiar to you if you’re a regular reader. The lesson from my mother is one of personal branding. Understand your core personal values, developing your vision, purpose and mission and then steadfastly putting your career strategic plan to work. 

What lessons about life and career development have you learned from your mother?


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