By Bill Flury

Busy Day at the Office
It had been a crazy morning. We had two tasks that absolutely needed to be finished today and there were still some key things that had to get done by noon. I had calls from three people that I had to put off and ask if I could talk with them later. On top of that, in 15 minutes I had to meet with a group from our main client to explain the details of the next phase. I was really frazzled.

As I started to go out of my office headed for the meeting, one of my Mom’s phrases popped into my head. “Don’t talk with your mouth full!” I stopped short and thought for a moment about how that was relevant. My mouth wasn’t full but my head certainly was and I was chewing on a lot of things at the moment. If I started to talk now, whatever I was trying to say would come out all mixed up and garbled and the clients could be offended when they realized that I was still thinking about other things and not giving full attention to them and their concerns.

So, following Mom’s advice, I stopped chewing my current problems for a minute, swallowed hard, and quickly made a list of the five key things I had to address at the client meeting. Then, re-focused on what I was going to tell the clients, I headed off to the meeting where I gave a clear, forceful presentation that really impressed the clients. ————- Thanks Mom!

More from Mom
That was a great experience and a good reminder for me to remember the kinds of things Moms used to tell us when we were kids. If you are a project manager like me, you will be amazed to see how well they relate to the things we do (or don’t do) today as a grown-ups. Here are a few:

Getting Things Done: If you don’t do it now, when will you do it?
Organizing: If you’d put things where they belong, you wouldn’t have that problem.
Risk Avoidance: Don’t put that in your mouth. You don’t know where it’s been.
Risk Mitigation: Always wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident.
Ethics: I don’t care what EVERYONE is doing. I care what YOU are doing.
Honesty: I can always tell when you’re lying.
Working with Others: I don’t care who started it. YOU stop it.
Communications: Don’t walk away while I’m talking to you.
Process Efficiency: Turn off that light. Do you think we own the electric company?
Setting Priorities: You can go out and play after you’ve done your homework.

There are More
There really are many, many more of these. All of your Mom’s experience in life being passed onto you in her inimitable form – and your response to most of them was, “Awwwwwww! Mom. Do I have to?” Then, you proceeded to forget them until the next time Mom got after you.

If you are fortunate, some of those, like my “Don’t talk with your mouth full.” will stay with you and help you succeed in your daily activities. If you want to do a quick check on which of Mom’s maxims you still remember, keep track of what you are saying to your kids. —- and this time…  “If you know what’s good for you, you better pay attention!”

What key lessons from Mom have served you well?

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5 replies
  1. Joy Brown
    Joy Brown says:

    Respecting Authority: “If you keep that up, I’ll call your father.” That one always did it for my baby brother and me! Great article, Bill. You really touched on a lot of things that my dad taught us as well.

  2. Marian
    Marian says:

    Thanks to you Uncle Bill for jogging these memories of my Mom and G-Mom and advice that travels well down the generations.

  3. Bill Valvo
    Bill Valvo says:

    Bill, you’ve always had a nack for bringing us back to the basics. Thanks for sharing those mom wisdoms. Glad to see you’re still actively engaged in life.

  4. Cheri Milford
    Cheri Milford says:

    My Mom used to say “You made your bed now lie in it.” In other words – accept the consequences of your actions. Very fitting! Great article Bill!

  5. Ginger Auchter
    Ginger Auchter says:

    The best advice often comes from those we don’t always seek it from. Thanks for some great reminders!

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