My parents have had a huge impact on my life! It’s easy to Monday morning armchair quarterback my parents’ mistakes. However, after considering how my siblings and I have achieved success in education and in our professions across the industries, I am determined to analyze how our upbringing influenced our successes. There are numerous contributing factors that I have outlined in several “Parenting Tips” articles like “Talk is Cheap: 8 ways healthy couples set the example for their children.” You can peruse https://parent-child-connect.com/blog or checkout my “Parent Tips” Pinterest board for more information on these articles. Today, I want to reminisce on and share how just a few of my parents’ inspirational quotes inspired me for life!
Some of theses inspirational quotes are more profound. Others seemed meaningless at the time. Either way, they have inspired me and influenced my behavior. Let’s get started!:
Inspirational Quote #1:
“Mommy, Clement and Joshua are messing with me again!” I probably cried and yelled this over one hundred times when I was younger, and Mommy would come to the rescue! That’s right! I would call in reinforcements any time my brothers did something I didn’t like…Until one day, it didn’t work. Instead, my mom left me with the above quote.
Of course I didn’t immediately receive this advice. I just wanted “the enforcer” to come lay down the law! However, I’ve embraced this advice over the years. My mom was telling me two things. Firstly, never allow someone to control your emotions. You have the power to choose your response regardless of what they say or do. Secondly, whether good or bad, people will always have an opinion. You cannot allow others’ opinions to discourage you from pursuing your dreams.
Inspirational Quote #2:
This story is actually a bit comical. One day, my dad, my brother (Josh), and I took a routine trip to the dumpsters down the street from our house. There’s no trash pickup in the country. You have to transport your own trash to the nearest dumpster. While at the dumpster, my dad parked and we proceeded to unload the trash. There was only one problem; somehow, the stick in our standard truck was knocked out of park into neutral. The truck started rolling! My first instinct was to jump behind the truck to stop it from rolling. (Maybe I watched too many superhero movies growing up.) Of course my dad was not thrilled with that idea, and he quickly commanded me to stop.
Quite honestly, I thought he overreacted that day, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that stepping behind a 2,800 pound pickup truck as it gains momentum down a gentle slope is a terrible idea! Moreover, I learned a couple of things that day. First, immediately springing into action is only good if the action that you spring into produces the desired results. As time permits, observe the situation, and make your decisions based upon logic and fact… Not emotions.
I also learned that some things are out of your control. In the “rolling truck” scenario, I was about to turn a quickly-rectifiable situation into a disaster, because I wanted to control a situation that was not mine to control. Recognize when and where you’re needed before taking action.
Inspirational Quote #3:
I would be a rich man if I had a dollar for every time my mom said some variation of this quote! It was almost like we just didn’t get the simple concept of picking up after ourselves and cleaning up when we were younger. Ironically, none of us like a junky or disorganized house now. In fact, I remember my high school basketball coach calling me out for having pride in the school because I didn’t pass by a piece of trash without picking it up. Likewise, my 8 year old son recently received a “Positive Referral” to the office for doing the same at his school. It’s amazing to see how these lessons transcend generations.
Of course taking pride in my surroundings was the biggest lesson I learned. It helped me to understand that “making the world a better place” begins with positively impacting (or in this case, cleaning up) what is immediately around you. Accordingly, we should take pride in doing the “little” positive things, because those little things add up to make a gigantic impact.
I also learned that organization is one of the key factors to being an effective leader. When you physically organize your personal and work belongings, you are training your mind to recognize that everything has a proper place. This allows your mind to more easily establish and maintain priorities, create an accurate schedule by allocating the appropriate time to things that matter, budget, and more! Ultimately, being organized increases your personal and professional productivity, and it all begins with picking that little piece of trash.
Inspirational Quote #4:
I actually told this story in a previous post as I encouraged leaders to remain persistent and consistent. Although I couldn’t see it at the time, I had an ugly mohawk in high school. I laugh every time I think about it. I even had the audacity to spike it to make matters worse. Meanwhile, my dad and the assistant principal (Coach Johnson) absolutely hated it! I’m pretty sure it was out of my school’s uniform regulations, but I had probably found some ridiculous loophole. Either way, my dad and Coach Johnson tried to convince me to get rid of it numerous times to no avail; until one day, my dad asked me the above questions.
I admit that at the time, I think I cut my hair because I felt he finally beat me. I usually had some witty response to his lectures that sounded something like, “so are you saying I have to cut it?” He won that time with those two rhetorical questions! More importantly, he inspired me to think about my future and to examine what and who I wanted to be. That’s when I began to internalize the fact that regardless of my current circumstance, I should look, behave, and speak like the person I aspire to be. He wasn’t persuading me to change who I am, he was encouraging me to hone in on and develop the internal and external characteristics of the person I want to be in the future. That lesson made me a life-long learner and a man who is constantly seeking self-improvement.
Inspirational Quote #5
Man, I committed what my siblings and I nicknamed “a cardinal sin” in my childhood home. I walked up to my mom and said, “Mommy, I’m bored!” At first, my mom seemed surprised by my statement. Then a more sadistic look entered her eyes–almost like a real life Major Payne. Uh oh… I messed up! She proceeded to show me all the chores that I somehow looked over to audaciously tell her that she needs to find something to entertain me. Let’s just say, I spent the rest of that day catching up on chores I neglected for the week.
I learned not to tell my mom I’m bored anymore… At least not when I have a pile of work to do. 😂 According to “Oxford Languages,” being “bored” is “feeling weary because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one’s current activity.” My mom was teaching me that you should not be “unoccupied” when there is work to do. We should always work to be part of the solution. If we don’t, our inaction makes us an inevitable contributor to the problem.
She was also teaching me that we shouldn’t just nonchalantly slop through our responsibilities. Instead, we should have a vested interest in our team’s success. That means we should be self-motivated to do our part for the betterment of the team as a whole.
I will end Part 1 on that note. Many of us claim we want to make a change, but remember: change begins with one small action. So I encourage you to take a small step today to inspire those you lead. As you can see by the above quotes (and you will continue to see in Part 2), you never know how what you say or do will impact those you lead. Continue to learn and lead well!
Stay tuned for Part 2!