A friend recently sent me a great article authored by Richard Branson in Entrepreneur entitled “Richard Branson Shares Business and Life Lessons From His Mother“. I found his article both charming and inspiring and I thought it might be a valuable exercise to go through myself.
Mr. Branson’s mother sounds a lot like mine: a lover of persons whose energy is matched just barely by a five year old. I, too, am eternally indebted to my parents for their generosity, enfoldment and unflinching support, as well as for their willingness to give me the space to grow up and stand on my own two feet.
Of all the lessons I learned from my mother, the following stand out to me today:
1. Love what you do
Not do what you love, but love what you do. You’ll have to do many things in life that you don’t want to, so why not make a point of enjoying them and bringing a smile to the faces of those in it with you? You’ll spare yourself a lot of grief.
2. Don’t knock it till you try it
That rule minimized the number of complaints that likely would have been voiced in a family of four boys in relation to a whole host of things. Criticizing another person, place or thing while having no experience with it simply wasn’t tolerated.
3. Start what you finish
My mother is a great finisher of things. No matter how complex a sewing project she undertakes she somehow always ends of getting it done in time for the christening, birthday or special occasion…all the while tending to a million other things. Her ability in this area never ceases to amaze me.
4. It is what it is
Don’t waste time wishing things were different. They are what they are at any given moment. That said, everything changes, so be on the lookout for the apertures to a new experience. If you didn’t waste time and energy bemoaning your circumstances you’ll meet the new pattern with the fulness of your energy and attention.
5. Look for the bright spot
There is a saying that is typically used at the end of life – “walk toward the light” – that could be usefully employed all through life. If you look for the bright spot in your circumstances, you’ll find that no matter how constrictive they may become you’ll be moving toward the opening to a brighter, lighter and more fulfilling experience.
I’d love to hear what you learned from yours!