You heard them all growing up. No matter what part of the world you grew up in, some things are the same. Those eye-rolling, words of advice that Mom would say ad nauseam: aka ‘Momism’. The truth is, your Mom said them because she wanted you to be safe and happy and the best you that you could be. In the spirit of Mother’s Day this Sunday, the Wingman crew wanted to position their favourite Momism as advice you can use in your business. Here are seven nuggets of Mom wisdom – Momism – that just might help you build and thrive in your business.
Momism #1. Always wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident.
What Mom really meant: You’re going to have days when things go completely sideways. Think ahead about what could happen and be prepared. Don’t procrastinate.
Lesson Learned: Hope for the best but plan for the worst.
What it means to your business: In one email or one phone call, your entire pro-actively planned day can be thrown into chaos as you are forced into reactive mode. What’s your backup plan? Do you exercise risk management or contingency planning? Think through every worse-case scenario and how that might impact your business. Then create a plan about how you would address that scenario, work around it and get through it.
Momism #2. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
[In some homes, Mom might have altered her speech (and possibly acted upon) the alternative Momism of, ‘If you say that again I’m going to wash your mouth out with soap.’]
What Mom really meant: Words have power. Be deliberate in the words you choose and tone of delivery. Always think before you speak. You can’t take it back once it’s said.
Lesson Learned: Intention or not, there are consequences for your actions and your words.
What it means to your business: Business relationships take a long time to nurture and build. As strong as they may become, they can easily crumble in a single moment with a few poorly chosen words or actions. When dealing with an angry customer, a supplier who let you down, or an employee who messed up, keep your cool and measure your words before you speak. Make sure you have all the facts first and never allow your anger (or any other inappropriate emotion) to enter the conversation. That’s especially true when communicating via social media. Your posts can go viral in a matter of hours. It costs nothing to treat people with respect and courtesy, yet it can have the biggest impact on creating a strong business brand that attracts a following of loyal customers. At the end of the day, everyone make mistakes, usually unwittingly. Sometimes mistakes happen when you truly (should have) known better. Ultimately they all lead to consequences and you must be willing to bear them. Sometimes an apology after the fact will mitigate long-standing repercussions for you and your business. However, wouldn’t it be better to think through your words and actions beforehand as opposed to having to react after the fact?
Momism #3. If your friend jumped off a bridge would you do it too?
What Mom really meant: You are unique. Don’ be a lemming and follow thoughtlessly what others around you are doing. You have a voice and an opinion. Use them.
Lesson Learned: Peer pressure and/or mob mentality should never be the driving force of your decisions. When you follow the crowd, you effectively relinquish your ability to think.
What it means to your business: Squirrel! There is always going to be some new and exciting shiny toy. Should your business start posting on TikTok? Hard to say. Every business is different. What about Lean Canvas to manage your processes? As a business leader, you can drive yourself crazy trying to keep up with every new trend. As kids we probably didn’t care how much it hurt to jump off that proverbial bridge. However, the stakes are much higher now and hopefully you too have learned to look before you leap (another Momism for another day). Before you follow the crowd into the next trend or selling the next cool product, stop and consider whether it’s a wise thing to do…for your business.
Momism #4. I don’t care if it’s raining. You’re not sugar…you won’t melt
What Mom really meant: Focus on the positive in every situation. You can’t always have sunny days. Don’t let less than perfect situations stop you. You’re more diligent and a whole lot tougher than you know.
Lesson Learned: Pick yourself up and keep moving forward.
What it means to your business: Didn’t meet your quarterly goals? Came second (again) on that proposal you were hoping for? If there’s one sure thing in business, it’s that sooner or later you’re going to fail at something. Don’t let failures be more than what they are: temporary setbacks on your way to success. Pick yourself back up, brush yourself off and think about what you could have done better. You win or you learn.
Momism #5. Turn Off The TV (today’s equivalent would be ‘screen’) And Go Outside And Play
What Mom really meant: Be creative. Go outside and get dirty. Experience the world. Get some exercise and Vitamin-D. (I’m sure she also needed a break from us so she could have a moment of mental health as well)
Lesson Learned: There are many things that will demand our attention. But it’s important to take a break and have some fun.
What it means to your business: The 500-year old proverb, “all work and no makes Jack a dull boy” loosely means that without time off from work, you risk becoming bored or apathetic. Another way to look at it is that if you spend all your time in the business, you never find time to work on your business. You need to spend some time and observe from multiple perspectives. Otherwise, it will suck the productivity and creativity out of you and your business. In today’s online and ever-connected world, you are always “on.” Maybe you even go to sleep and wake up with your phone inches away. Being so “engaged” may be good for business but it’s bad for your brain. You need time off. You need time to play and to recharge. It’s just as hard (maybe harder) for you to turn off your computer and take a break as it was to turn off the TV when we were young. But it’s even more important. Take time away from your business and engage in an activity purely for the fun of it.
Momism #6. Be Careful Or Your Face Will Freeze Like That
What Mom really meant: The way people see you is the way people see you. Act the idiot and be labeled the idiot. Act smartly and be perceived as such.
Lesson Learned: Check your behavior and be sure that you’re acting positively and appropriately.
What it means to your business: In your personal life and in your business, if you do something enough times it will start to define you. Eventually it may even become you. This is not exclusive to your actions but to your thoughts as well. You will typically fulfill your own expectations. If you walk into a room with a pre-established opinion or way of doing something, then all contrary words you hear will be dismissed. You will be too short-sighted to hear other opinions in the room. Similarly, your personal and business branding belongs to those around you. If you “make faces” at people long enough, whether in your speech, body language or simply in your mind, that attitude will follow you everywhere.
Momism #7. And finally…Don’t Run With Scissors
What Mom really meant: Do not willfully act in a reckless, foolish, and/or dangerous manner.
Lesson Learned: Seemingly in conflict with Momism #5 advising you to be creative, it is important to do that, but not with reckless abandon.
What it means to your business: There’s a couple ways you can use this Momism in your business – intellectual property/integrity and online privacy/security. Keep your ideas and differentiators safe. If you produce and sell something that is different and want to keep it that way, clearly it is intuitive to not share what makes you different. There’s a reason Coca-Cola has never shared their ingredients or Google has never publicly shared their search algorithm. These are the core foundations of what separates them from their competitors. This can be legal documents such as non-disclosure agreements and employment standards manuals. Or, it can be more global in ensuring you copyright, trademark and/or patent your “secret sauce.”
When in comes to online, your information needs to be protected. If you haven’t already, we recommend you:
- Install anti-virus software
- Run operating system updates regularly
- Create a back-up protocol – and use it!
- Restrict access to those that need it
- Source your system vendors diligently
Safeguarding your information technology is as important to the success of your business as complying to your unique industry regulations. Failing to take proper safety and security measures not only increases your risk of down time, but jeopardizes your reputation if you were to experience a breach.
Mom knew what she was talking about, didn’t she? The next time you’re thinking about how to make your business better, look back on some of Mom’s advice. I’m sure you’ll find a pearl of wisdom or two that you can apply. And, when you do, remember to say, “Thanks Mom.”
(The Wingman crew hopes some of these hit home and caused flashbacks to your youth. We only covered a few. Do you have any of your own that we missed? How have they framed your business life for the better?)
Did you know that Wingman is co-owned by a Mom? If you need that Mom touch to help you in your business, book a Wingman today. You don’t have to fly solo.