With Mothers Day approaching Sunday, I wanted to dedicate this post to my mother. There is so much that I could say about the woman who gave me life, broke up our fights and kept us fed, but there are deeper lessons that she taught my brother and sister and me that are worth sharing as they laid the foundation for everything else I’ve ever learned. I call them Lisa Lessons and here are the three most important:
Don’t Call In, Crawl In
My mother has been a registered nurse for 38 years and in that time, I can’t remember her ever staying home because she was sick or god forbid, it snowed overnight. The motto she taught all of us was not to call in but to crawl in. No matter how badly you feel, to show up and give it your best effort.
This lesson, as blunt and harsh as it sounds has been the basis of my work ethic since my first job, filling nail holes for a construction company at $5 an hour, until now. No matter how bad things get, the job has to get done, so show up and do it. Lisa Lesson number 1: Don’t Call In, Crawl In.
If You Can’t Laugh About It, It Will Probably Kill You
On a snowy February evening, my mother, arriving late from work, tried to back her car into the garage from the road, but ended up stuck in a snowdrift. My dad, wanting to waste no time getting her out, pulled up behind her in an attempt to push her out. When the bumpers wouldn’t line up, he threw it in reverse to hook up a chain, only he didn’t see my mom standing behind him.
This story up until now has been true. My mother, who once convinced her coworkers that she was an Olympic synchronized swimmer, spins a yarn from here that would make any storyteller envious. Her account has him blinded by dollar signs from a life insurance settlement as he smiled and gunned his truck to run her over. The Truth was more of her being knocked into a snowdrift with no real harm done. It didn’t stop her from eating left handed for the next week at an attempt at humor and guilt. Lisa Lesson number 2: If You Can’t Laugh About It, It Will Probably Kill You
Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail
I am well aware that my mother didn’t coin this phrase, but we’ve all hear her say it so many times that it should be attributed to her in Bartlett’s Big Book of Quotations. My mom always expected us to have a plan for everything and would drill us to make sure we did.
These skills were probably most useful after my first daughter was born. In shock that anything could be wrong with our seemingly perfect angel, I was useless in the crisis that came when they told us she s being care flighted out of our local hospital. Mom, though, had a plan. With a general’s precision, she gave orders that we all followed. Failure wasn’t an option, so planning was paramount. I often think of that moment as my sheer definition of leadership. She laid a vision, gave us direction and helped us carry it out. It all started with her plan. Lisa Lesson number 3: Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail.
There’s so much that I could say about the woman that has given me everything, but she would be happiest if I just said Happy Mothers Day Mom. We all love you.