Long, long ago when I was preparing to go to college my dad gave me a little piece of advice:
“If you are ever unsure of what to do, just imagine me standing next to you.”
I will admit at 17 I really did not pay that much attention to my dad’s advice, okay maybe through some of my twenties too, but that is not the point.
This was sage and powerful stuff. Thank goodness I remembered it. It is something that I also passed down to my son. Apparently I also passed down the gene of not listening to parents’ advice as a teenager too, but that is another story.
My dad raised me with no limitations from being a girl; however he always expected me to be a lady. There have been many times that I would stop and take a breath and think of my father next to me and that helped determine my next actions.
When I became a parent I put my kids in that same category because I represent them as well. I am very well aware of this – I represent all generations and extensions of my family as well as myself.
Maybe I am old-fashion that way. It is how I was raised and how I raised my kids. I would tell them, “When you walk out of this house you also represent me and your father so do not make me regret not locking you in the garage.” Oh yes, I am that mom. But a little humor helps the advice go down a bit easier.
Sometimes in the workplace I fight the urge to give this advice to people. If you brought your parent or child to work, is this what you would want them to see? Would you behave the same way? Would you treat that customer differently if the were with their grandparent or child?
We are all connected and represent more than just ourselves.
This goes with mistakes, too. Once I made a huge error when working in the financial industry. Huge. I realized it and gathered the troops to help me correct it and when the Managing Director came back in the office I told him I royally screwed up but this is how I was fixing it.
That night I told my son about it, he was around 7.
A few days later the manager and I were talking about it and I mentioned something my son had said. He was surprised and said, “You told your son?” Yes, I wanted him to know that moms make mistakes, too; and the most important part is how you correct them.
Choosing our actions in front of our children, co-workers, reports and managers is how we demonstrate who we are; what we stand for and how we handle situations. It is easy to do when they are standing right there; but the real trick is keeping it up when they are not.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.