I’ve been thinking about the influence the women around me have had on my life. I thought about friends, Aunts and Cousins who have been a great inspiration and support. I also thought about my mother who, as clichéd as it sounds, is my best friend. Like any good friend she’s broken things down when I’ve needed it most, in her own special way.
As usual whilst speaking with my mum yesterday, she emphasised the point she was making perfectly with one of her many sayings. All my life, my mother has had a carefully edited and extremely well used selection of sayings that have been pulled out when a point or lesson needs to be made crystal clear, just in case you hadn’t been paying attention up until that point. They appeared throughout my childhood, more frequently during my teenage years, when I was a young adult leaving home, starting work and again more recently as a mother. These sayings have guided me through tricky situations, often letting my conscience take a back seat as it was never really needed.
Now, I find myself without even realising it, sharing them with my children. It’s happened, I’ve turned into my mother, but you know what? I don’t mind because if her sayings have the positive effect they’ve had in my life, I don’t need to worry about my children, I say that with everything fingers crossed!
Of all the sayings that Mum has used the most and have really stuck with me, three come to mind immediately. These sayings have really shaped who I am, have got me through rough times and given me courage when I’ve wanted to run away.
1. You Can Do Anything, You Just Need To Decide
My Mum hasn’t ever had time for flaky people. She can’t tolerate those who don’t show up and do things when they say they will. If she thinks I’m dithering over a decision she’ll remind me very casually with the words “Just decide.” It’s now our shorthand from her original saying “You can do anything, you just need to decide.” It’s so true. Making a decision is the first step to anything good. How many times have I said I’ll try to do something knowing full well it’s unlikely to happen? That’s our code, if try has been used there’s only a 10% chance that it will be done. When I use it, it’s usually me asking myself aloud whether I really want to do whatever it is I’m talking about or whether I’m really committed to it? If I am doing something then trying doesn’t come into it because I’ll have decided that it will be done. If I want something, all I have to do is decide because I’ll find a way.
I’ve noticed that there’s something very powerful about making a decision. Over the years, once I’ve decided to do something everything seems to just falls into place. I decided at the start of the year that I would look after myself better than I’ve done so in the past. Since making this decision, somehow I’ve managed to take and get that time. If I haven’t made specific plans, something will happen along the way and I’ll get my time. I also decided to start doing more of what I love which is helping others in their business and as if by accident opportunities have come my way and I’ve been given numerous projects which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. So once again, my Mother’s saying rings true. I can do anything, I just need to make the decision.
2. Show Me Your Friends and I’ll tell you who you are.
This saying is just as relevant now as it was when I was a teenager trying to get to grips with school life. My mother constantly reminded me of the importance of who I chose to spend my time with.
I learned that who I surrounded myself with directly affected how I felt about myself, how I behaved and viewed life. I had a good friend at school who was lovely but was actually quite draining to be around. Her view of life was that the glass was always half empty, or almost empty. I didn’t really notice the effect her attitude and behaviour had on me. I did what I thought a loyal and good friend would do, stuck around. That was until I started hanging around with other people who were full of life and hardly had a bad word to say about anyone or anything.
It was all about energy and perspective but I didn’t realise it then. Over the years I’ve become very careful about who I surround myself with, even more so when I was pregnant with my first child. I don’t know if it was being pregnant and having my body not feel like my own, but for the first time I decided I wasn’t going to do anything out of obligation and as a result I had a friendship cull. I don’t know if it was conscious but it happened. I stopped making an effort in friendships where I was the one doing all the work. I stopped calling and visiting. Guess what, so did they and my life became a lot simpler. Above all, I had more energy to focus on my baby which was definitely needed.
I’m now surrounded by friends who care and make an effort without even thinking about it. They may be few, but I know that sometimes strength doesn’t come in numbers but in quality. I look at my friends and can honestly say they represent what I believe in through who they are and their outlook on life. They’re doing great things in the world and in their homes and we’re all helping each other get to wherever we’re going. I don’t need to be a social butterfly, I just need to be with my kind of people.
3.Nothing Happens Before Its Time
And so to my mother’s final saying which is an ongoing life lesson as I often forget it and get frustrated with how life is at certain times. I learned this lesson quite early on as a young adult. There are so many times when my Mum has told me ‘Nothing Happens before it’s time’ when everything seems to be on its head. I experienced a lot of frustration finding my ideal job after university. I’d planned to become a Management Consultant with a top consultancy firm but it didn’t quite work out as I imagined. I did, however land a consultancy role in a less traditional industry which was very unglamorous. Imagine late nights, early mornings and warehouses. Through all of that, I gained invaluable professional and life skills that equipped for and eventually led me to work that I enjoy.
So whenever I find myself in a place where my plans don’t seem to be working out, I remind myself to have faith and keep going. Why? Because as it’s been proven to me many times so far, it’s likely that I’ll eventually get there, just not by the path I intended. It was difficult at the time but I realise that I had to go through all of the crappy stuff to get to the great stuff.
So there you have it, my 3 life lessons courtesy of my mother. Thanks to my inspirational, powerful, beautiful, strong and funny mother and her sayings I’ve made it this far. I guess you could call them my three life pillars, rules or maxims. Whatever you want to call them, forget the must have foundation, capsule wardrobe or gadgets, these sayings are my must have life essentials.