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What My Mom Taught Me About Career Success

In honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday, Erica Moss, the Social Media Outreach Coordinator for Georgetown University’s master of science in nursing program, wanted to share a post about her fabulous mom!

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, I can’t help but think about how so much of my work ethic today is based upon the example my mom, Shirley, set for me growing up. For starters, she was a single mom raising my sister and me. She was working — and still is — at a physically demanding job. The kind of job that requires her to wake up before the sun and go in on weekends. She’s weathered mass layoffs, frequent changes in her job duties, and bosses that aren’t exactly appreciative of her extra efforts. Yet, she has always been a great example of how working hard can lead to career success.
And while she does have her off days just like anyone else, I don’t know anyone else who’s as strong and committed to excellence in the workplace as she is.

Here are a few things I’ve learned from my mom about career success:

If you want something, you have to work hard to get it.

My mom has never had anything in her life handed to her. So she, no doubt, expected us girls to go after our goals with vigor and purpose. Want to go to college? Get good grades and play a proactive role in your education. Want spending money for clothes, concerts, and movies? Take on a part-time job that doesn’t interfere with your studies.
She taught us that absolutely nothing was going to fall in our laps, and as a result, I’ve always strived to give 110% of my effort and dedication to each role I’m in.

[Related Post: 7 Superb Ways to Balance Work and Family Without The Guilt]

Take things one day at a time.

Stress is something that we all experience. And as a single mom, she was constantly under financial pressure to provide for our basic needs, and also those not-so-essential items, like a new Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper for the start of the school year.
She planned ahead for the big stuff but also liked to remind us to take things one day at a time. It’s a great mantra for me today for my own career success, as sometimes things are simply out of my control — I can stress about it till I’m blue in the face, or I can try to make peace with the fact that tomorrow’s a new day.

Smile — even when you don’t feel like it.

My mom’s co-workers love her (99% of the time), and I know it’s because she’s got a great sense of humor, and because, more often than not, you’ll find a smile on her face. It would be easy for her to give into the demands of her job and act like a complete troll, but she chooses to brush most things off and approach life with a can-do attitude.
I try to do the same in my own relationships at work, even though I will never be the morning person she so desperately wants me to be (sorry, Mom!) People respond to the energy you’re giving off, and choosing to come from a positive place makes all the difference.

Be appreciative of others.

My mom always goes out of her way to thank others for their generosity and tries to reciprocate the good deed. She’s the kind of person whose entire day can be made by a handwritten thank-you card, and she’s instilled in me a strong desire for those around me to know how appreciative I am of their efforts.
Whether it’s a collaborative effort on a group project or something as simple as someone sending me a Word file, I always try to be mindful of the help and advice I receive in the workplace and respond accordingly.
This Mother’s Day, I’m thankful for her strong example and strive every day to work as hard as she does.

Erica and Anna would love to hear from readers: What are some essential career success lessons you learned from your mom?

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