THE BLOG
03/25/2014 10:25 am ET Updated May 25, 2014

10 Leadership and Business Lessons My Mother Taught me After She Left the Business World

My mother started off as a career-oriented woman. She worked in administration and logistics for 10 years before deciding to spend more time focusing on me and my three siblings, until she could go back to work after we all start going to school. Little did she know that those coming five years would witness one of the world's most dramatic business revolutions, when everything gets systematized and computerized.

When it was time to go back, her job search was tough, the market was tough and giving women their right to work was not something anyone was bothered about. Her 10 years of experience with Royal Jordanian and Dar Al-Handasah, and the new Internet and PC training certificates she attached to her CV, were not enough to favor her experience over the fact she is married with four children.

Well, the world is full of ignorant, backward thinking idiots! My mother knew. So she just moved on, passed and beyond them, kicking the corporate world in the teeth because in some way she kept learning, growing and getting wiser, with her intellectuality and drive never withering. Her journey became full of unconventional, hit (and miss) and score, and rich life lessons that were indispensable to me, and although were not generated from her 9-5 job, were always easily transferred to mine.

1. Let no one dare define the boundaries of your ambition: My mother is ambitious, smart and curious. A few of my supervisors told me that I was too ambitious for my own good, and that my burning passion could end up burning me. When I used to tell my mother this, she used to shrug her shoulders, and I always knew that this piece of information never made sense to her. She raised an ambitious girl.

2. If your life is not exactly how you want it to be, change it, and in order to change it, you have to first dream it. My mother is a maestro in Creative Scenario Planning! My mother is a dreamer; she loves to imagine happy moments, happy situations, and happy family occasions. She dreams and imagines with all the colors and the emotions. The beautiful thing is that not only she imagines but she also creates, and I know that what she creates is only a slice of her vivid imagination. Growing up, my mother used to share her dreams with me, so I learned that I had to dream and have big plans for myself, just like my mother.

3. Confidence is the way to go, withdrawal is NEVER EVER the way to go! She praised confident and forthcoming people in front of me, so I learned that boldness and confidence are traits that I must have, she also confessed to me her shortcomings and disappointments so I learnt from her lessons and moved on past them with a wealth of experiences that felt like they were mine.

4. This, too, always shall pass. She found joy and happiness in every possible occasion, so even when I felt that maybe she was a little bit overly joyous, she taught me that I must have fun!

5. Be curious and keep learning; better put -- go crazy about chasing knowledge. My mother made sure I understood the richness of a curious life. My mom lives a life of constant search, constant learning, constant trying, and constant growth. She is restless. She wants to do everything and learn from anything. I think she never left a stone unturned, until today, she keeps searching for that thing she loves to do, that thing she was born to do. Along the way, I witnessed the birth and death of many obsessions and hobbies, so as a result, I tested desserts and foods that never made sense but tasted yummy when she was experimenting for her Mama's Kitchen business. I saw our house turn into a ceramic art gallery when she believed she was an eager hidden artist. I lived through the phase when every single piece of cloth that she could draw on was used as a canvas for her drawing skills, my t-shirts and jeans included. She became an athlete that I had to work hard to keep up with, then a writer/reader/poet. I saw her become a philanthropist for the hungry and senior citizens, a volunteer who wants to revive and preserve the Palestinian identity, and of course an event planner.

6. People skills! My mother is a diplomat, she is that one person everyone loves despite their disputes. If two people are in total conflict, she would be the only common thing between them.

7. How to become a secrets magnet! I don't think she taught me that, I guess this is just hereditary super power! She is the secret keeper. She knows a whole lot about my friends, her friends, my siblings' friends. Sometimes people pour their heart to her not knowing why!

8. "Yes" and "No" are only up to you to decide. Fight, object and stand out. She is a fighter, and taught me how to fight. She was with me and loaded me with firing passion when I came back home saying I admitted myself to a test for the Jubliee school for gifted students, she had absolutely no idea what I was talking about, but she drove me there the next day and waited for me till I was done with the 4-5 hour tests. She fought with my teachers, who didn't believe I had what it takes, proved them all wrong and rubbed it in their faces pretty well when I got accepted. She showed me how to close my ears to the bullshit surrounding me, she showed me early on how to believe in something and fight for it, and never assume that anyone knows me better than myself, so I should never let anyone creep into my head and make me doubt my abilities. As I grew up I had to go back to reminding myself of this often. I think she might be the only person who does know me better than myself, so she is my reality check and my self-awareness consultant.

9. Choose your battles. She taught me to be mature and to never assume; it is an equivalent to weakness. She chose her battles; she never fought with those unworthy of her time or mental efforts.

10. People around you are lives full of stories, put yourself in their shoes and find your voice of intuition. She taught me to feel, to express my feelings and to appreciate people and whatever they do for me. She taught me to see and to understand when people go out of their way for me in a way or another. She taught me to look deep into people's lives and to understand their journeys. She taught me to be humble, compassionate, and appreciative.

Moral of this story, open your mind and eyes to appreciate the lessons around you that you might be missing. I don't claim to have mastered all of those lessons mentioned above, but I try.

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