Life Lessons from Mom

Happy Mother’s Day! I hope all the moms reading this have a wonderful day!

Continuing with my May theme of lessons I’ve learned from important people, I thought it would be fitting to talk about one of the most influential people in my life, my mom.

My mom has always been a great example for anyone who wants to follow their dreams. She’s strong-willed, determined, and doesn’t let anything get in her way of reaching her goals. For anyone that doesn’t know my mom, she and my dad are owner operators for seven McDonald’s restaurants in central Illinois and Indiana. They’ve been operators since 1999, after many years working for the McDonald’s corporation. My parents spent many years working hard and saving every penny they could to get to where they are now. But my favorite part of my mom’s story, is how it started. My mom started as a crew person, worked her way up to be a manager and somewhere along the line came up with an idea, she was going to own her own McDonald’s restaurants one day. She even wrote a letter to McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc telling him as much. She knew early on, exactly what she wanted to do, and worked her tail off to do it.

I’ve been incredibly blessed to have a front row seat to a 30 year portion of her story and it goes without saying that my mom has inspired me as well as others along the way. Here are 3 of the infinite number of lessons I learned from growing up with my mom.

  1. Figure out what you want, and work really really hard to get it. It seems like an obvious statement, and it is. But I believe when you work really, really hard you’re rewarded for that hard work. Your goal might morph along the way, and it might not be everything you expected it to be when you started, but when you finish your hard work and have reached that goal, the feeling is like nothing else.
  2. Do your best. My mom has a saying that she learned from her mom. “Good, better, best. Never let it rest, until your good is better and your better, best.” When I first heard this saying, I misheard it’s message. I heard “Be the best at whatever you’re doing” (I would like to formally apologize to whoever has dealt with “hyper competitive Rob” in a game of euchre, or any competition for that matter.) Now when I hear the saying it’s a message about effort and self improvement. Do the best you can. Your “best” might be equal to someone else’s “good”, and that’s ok as long as you put forth the best effort you can do. Keep working at it and you’ll keep getting better and become the best version of you.
  3. Tell people, “I’m proud of you”. That’s the one sentence that makes me feel warmer and fuzzier than any other sentence. “I love you” is nice, but it’s overused. I’ve said I “love” my wife, son, mom, cherry pie, Shrek, the Green Bay Packers and many more things. That word’s value fluctuates so much that sometimes when you hear it, it doesn’t always carry the powerful message of which it was intended. But when someone tells me they are “proud” of me as a son, husband, friend or anything else, it carries a little more weight for me. My mom has frequently told me throughout my life that she’s proud of me, and it’s always made me feel valued. I try to share how proud I am of other’s as often as I can to hopefully give them the same warm feeling.

Thank you for all the lessons mom. I love you very much and am proud to have you as my mom. Happy Mother’s Day!

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