There are things you learn from your mom and there are things you learn from your dad. For me, things like cooking has been like working in a chemistry lab. I learnt most of it from my dad. Crazy experimentation times with the ingredients in the kitchen is the closest I came to learning cooking. Mom is a brilliant cook and perhaps it was too much pressure to ‘learn’ it from her. But when I look back, I think some of the most valuable lessons applicable in management or things I do in my day to day life came from her.
If you knew my mom, you’d know that she is the most hardworking and the kindest person around. Not the most patient though! She is the kind who won’t give up easy with a resilience that I have come to admire over the years. And now when everyone and their blog talk of leadership, I can’t help but draw parallel on the similarities.
Here are the five topmost management lessons I learnt from my mom which work for me everyday.
When You See People, Don’t Just Look at Their Drive, Look at What They Desire
Most of us see driven people. They are easier to spot. But being driven is like the ebbing sea. Also being driven alone can burn you out. Mom often saw the desires people were running for. The desires I was running for. Dad loved the driven part of me. Mom saw the crazy desires that made me run for my goals. When I applied for universities, dad made me apply to only a few ones because you ‘only apply to the best’. So I went and borrowed money from mom to apply to all courses in that one school where I REALLY wanted to go. If it weren’t for her, I would have been somewhere but not here. Not after my hearts desire!
Now when I speak to younger people in my workplace I ask them. Where do you want to be? What do you love? Do you eventually want to teach or retire at 45? Winning is a drive. Success is a desire. Your drive might make you sprint. But the desire makes you wake up every morning. It makes you innovate, create, be an entrepreneur. Talk to people. Ask them. What do they desire? Our desires drive us. It’s amazing how that differentiation was made so apparent to me!
It’s Not Just About Your IQ. It’s Also About Your Hard Work
Now my mom is an entrepreneur and started working after I was born. She wasn’t a star student. If she had to speak to you fluently in English, she’d be shy. But god! She works so hard. Some of the smarter ones take it easy and lose the plot. But if you don’t rest on the laurels of your education and work hard each day, everyday, you often kick ass more. I see her and think I never work hard enough. In work, the day you stop learning, you start becoming redundant.I still get amazed at how much more mom wants to learn. Now that’s a kind of line manager I’d love to work for. Because that’s inspiring. I see a lot of smart managers around. But the smarter ones are the more hardworking ones. The one who learns more, who do more home work.
If You Are In It, Don’t Crib About It
30 years of work. 14-16 hours of work a day. Skipped lunches. Good days and bad days. I never saw her complain. I often tell my colleagues that you can’t be cynic and still do your job well. My friends think I love my job. Well! On most of the days I do. But on rest of the days I choose not to crib. You can’t own a piece of work and crib about it too. Can you? Because the moment you crib, you disown that part of you. When you look back at your career, do you want to remember the things you created or all the days you hated your job?
Keep it Clean
I think I get my cleanliness (sort of) OCD from Mom. Every now and then I’d see her take out everything from her wardrobe and clean it all up. She’d tell me, it cleared her head. Funny, how we all become like our mothers. I do the same with my emails, with my desk, with my minimal paperwork. Minimal things. Keep it clean. Being organized has special perks as you grow up. Take out that 30 min a week and ‘keep it clean’. It does wonders to your productivity.
Save Some Emergency Cash
Not just a management lesson. But one of the best life lessons we learnt from our mothers. I got tuned to keeping contingency cash. In my program’s, there is always this tab kept for ‘what can go wrong will go wrong’. In my wallet there is always crumpled cash in a hidden pocket. Management teaches you to be prepared for anything. I think mom taught me that way early in life
Thank you mom. It didn’t need a Mother’s Day to write this. But it was weekend. And I finally got sometime to write:)