The upside of having a parent who’s not there
Mother’s Day last weekend made me ponder the concept of a meaningful contribution at work: how my mother contributed to who I am, how I contribute to my own children and also how I contribute to my business and my community.
In speaking at the Barnardos Mother of the Year event, I shared some of my own journey about being a mother juggling family and always feeling ‘guilty’. That while it looked like I had everything handled. In fact… not once, twice but three times I dropped my son off to school on pupil free days. That I would make sure that I did canteen duty so I did the right thing. But when I asked my now adult son about me doing canteen duty – he could not remember it. My daughter would bemoan that other mothers did all sorts of wonderful things. Why could I not do the same she implored (surely she could find her own school uniform?).
I remember racing onto George Street at 3.00pm desperately trying to hail a cab (at changeover time). Because pre-school pick up was rigid! And I didn’t want my girl being the last.
The voice inside my head often told me I was a ‘bad mother’. Yet they have managed to make adulthood and appear to be thriving, independent and curious.
Do you ever think about how you contribute to your world? With all that racing around trying to be a perfect parent. Who was I as a role model to them? I would argue that contribution comes down to a ‘calling’ in this life to positively impact others. To do so, we must understand what our ‘purpose’ is. It is worth considering all those around you that see what you do and who you are.
For the parents juggling his or her own business, actively contributing to the economy, often this means we’re away from our family longer than we’d like – let us not feel guilty. Know that you are a living, walking demonstration for your children of passion, determination, resilience, drive and self-belief – a fantastic example of values any parent would hope to instil in their child. That is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, being acutely aware of who you are and what you’re here to do can only positively influence them.
Speaking of influence… what I’ve found to be important in business – and in life – is to own, understand and be conscious of my words and actions because let’s be real – they influence others. Your words and actions influence others. Put simply it’s the Universal Law of Cause and Effect.
What this Law means for us is that we are responsible for our own lives. Everything we put out ‘there’ (in life) is returned to us. And as we’re likely not living on an island – population one – we need to teach ourselves to control our contribution to the energetic domino effect that is our interconnected world. Energetically interconnected? Yep. You know how you can walk into a room and feel that someone is ‘off’, even before they speak… choose not to be that person. Instead, be in control of your energy and observe how circumstances change.
Your children, your family, your employees, even your barista will benefit from this slight shift in consciousness to ensure you have a meaningful contribution at work. The end story: your contribution counts.
Let me leave you with this: learn to enact rather than react to life.
We are all just muddling through… but consistently making the effort to be present will make the world of difference. And stop listening to that voice in your head – give yourself a pat on the back for all you did get done, don’t focus on what you didn’t get around to.