The Most Valuable Lessons Mom Taught Me

May 13th is Mother's Day in the states. As a nation, we celebrate the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. Kids of all ages will show their appreciation for their mom's; from breakfast in bed to flowers and a night off from cooking, some gesture of appreciate will be made. I cannot imagine the person I would have become without my mother's guidance and influence. She was a tough cookie, funny as hell, resourceful, beautiful and loving. We called her The Original O.G.; a title befitting the most gangster person I've ever known, my mom. I've learned (at least) a million things from her. But these eight commandments, embedded in my brain and coded into my DNA, are without fail my go to's in life.  


1. Know your worth

Own your place of honor as a woman, wife, mother, employee, in everything. And, don't settle for anything less. Ownership is the energy, confidence, and attitude you send out into the world. It's the currency that we all use to transact; relationally, financially, in everything. If you don't believe you deserve the best, chances are you won't attract it. And, if by chance it does show up in your life, you won't enjoy it (as you should) if you don't feel worthy. Or worse, you'll reject it.  


2. Communicate your value

Ladies, this is vital, especially in the business world. Don't be afraid to let others know what you can do, have done, and what you are capable of in the future. Speak up, loudly if you have to, but get all the spoils you deserve. If your value is not appreciated and rewarded, then walk.


3. Don't take $h!t from anyone, ever

Have you ever experienced a situation where someone gets too familiar, too involved in your business? I witnessed a family friend speak out of turn to my mother. As all Queens should do, she immediately put her friend back in her place. From that exchange, I learned there are times you have to go in, all the way. 


4. Develop a network

Mom was a friendly person, and it seemed as if she knew everybody. She cultivated a network of connections that could produce jobs, free concert tickets, copies of movies still in the theatre (We're talking VHS bootlegs - life before Kodi), press passes and box seats at Shea Stadium. You name it; she knew a guy that could get it. Build a strong network. 


5. If you don't ask you don't get

My mother had huge cojones! She asked for what she wanted, and more often than not she got it. Don't be afraid to ask; sometimes you have not because you ask not.


6. Believe in magic

Mom expected things to work in her favor. A prayer of thanks, lighting a candle or speaking about things before they materialized were just as likely to occur as hard work and networking. 


7. Be Yourself

As a kid, I was embarrassed by her quirkiness. The story of all teenagers, right?!? But, I secretly admired her. She was unbothered by the beliefs of others or the direction anyone else was heading. She spoke her mind regardless of popular opinion. Mom just did her thing. 


8. Break the rules and color outside the lines

I'll admit, it took me a while to get this one down, but living life according to someone else's rulebook isn't living. You were born into this world to express your unique character and gifts. Don't waste the opportunity to do things your way. Permit yourself to live as you want.


Bonus #1

9. Enjoy your loved one, right now


Make sure to tell your mother how much she means to you every chance you get. 


We appreciate our mom's so much more in retrospect. I know I do, but I have no choice. My mother died early and suddenly, so there was no opportunity to say goodbye. Life with all of its mundane tasks went on as it always had, but I was in a fog - hurting. Anyone that has lost a loved one knows just how tough it can be to recover and how we would give anything to have them with us.


After a while, the heavy feeling subsided, and I found myself enjoying the memories of our time together (only slightly tinged with grief). Recalling the words of wisdom my mother imparted, and observing her approach to life and with people laid the groundwork for the person I would become.  


Bonus #2

10. Don't be critical of others  

All the stuff mom's do that we think of as crazy isn't, not really. It's what makes them unique and very special. The same can be said of others too, so let's not be so quick to criticize or judge them. We didn't come off of an assembly line of a factory. We're not meant to be carbon copies.  We're destined to be magic. Follow your mom's lead!


Because of my mom's example, I've learned some essential keys to living my best life, and I spread the word far and wide that it's incredible to be a woman, who is comfortable in her skin.