The Secret Sauce To My Mom’s Success
My mom was uncomfortable as she sat with my dad in the front row of the large auditorium. Her company was hosting a celebration and rally for hundreds of displayers that traveled from all over the country to gather at the company headquarters in Dallas, Texas. Prior to the event, she received a special invitation from the company leadership inviting her to sit in the front row.
The rally was lively and everyone was having a ball as the event unfolded. My mom and several other ladies were asked to come backstage. She followed the event staff nervously looking around at the other highly successful women. She pulled one of the event staff aside, “There must be a mistake, I should not be here.”
Mom stood in the back of the line as several ladies in front of her were laughing, celebrating and bragging to each other about their gaudy sales figures. Mom stood quietly and looked for a way to slip out the back without anyone noticing, embarrassed that soon someone would find out that she did not belong with this group.
The ladies ahead of my mom became silent and stared at her when a gentleman approached her.
“What’s your name?” He asked.
“Patsy Rheam.” My mom quietly responded.
The man looked at his list. “Okay, I need you to come with me, please.”
My mom avoided making eye contact with the other women as she passed by them. The man placed her near the front of the line. She could hear the whispers from some of the others, but she ignored them. She didn’t have time to contemplate her situation as she was introduced on stage to the roaring applause of the packed auditorium. She was announced as one of the top sales leaders in the organization. In fact, to my mom’s surprise, she was in the top ten in sales for the entire country! My dad beamed with pride as she walked out on stage and accepted her award.
My mom, a simple country girl from Arkansas with no college education was at the top of her game that year and one of the most successful displayers in the country. She went on to have a widely successful sales career that netted her a six figure income, tons of trips, gifts, and the opportunity to meet and greet several celebrities and public figures. She achieved all of this while raising me and my sister and supporting my dad who was also having a great run in his own career. What was the secret of her success?
That question was hard for me to answer at first, because my mom is not one to talk about herself. She always seems to focus on everyone else and take care of everyone else’s needs. The spotlight is never on her because she rarely allows the discussion to focus on her. Most of what I know about Mom’s career are from my own observations and from my dad, who is never shy about bragging on her.
Mom started her career in sales when I was first born and built a huge foundation of success through a solid network of other young women that were eager to make their mark in their own communities and families. I hardly noticed what my mom did when I was growing up because she was always there serving me, my dad, and my sister. It was never about her, but about us. She would leave at night for her “shows”, but always left us with a hot dinner on the table and breakfast waiting when we woke up. She attended all my events and sat close to the recital stage as my sister glided across it in her dance performances. She was just “Mom” to us, but to others I would eventually discover, she was a giant.
Recently, I was sitting with one of my mom’s “girls” from back in the day, a woman that built a successful business herself and someone I respect. I asked her if I could talk to her about her success principles sometime, because I enjoy learning from successful people. To my surprise she answered, “Honey, everything I know I learned from your mother.”
Honestly, I was shocked. Not because that woman was impacted by Mom, but because I had never really noticed that part of my mom before. The part where she was a business and thought leader and a sales maven that churned out huge numbers year after year.
So several weeks later, as I sat with my parents at the dinner table, I asked Mom what she thought was the main contributor to her success. Her answer was typical. “I don’t really like to talk about myself, Erick.” She turned the conversation back to another topic, but then she paused and looked back over at me. “Well, I will say this. Above all else, people don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.” She smiled and then began to clean up the dinner table.
I sat for a moment and contemplated her words. In fact, I thought about her statement for a long time after that. I recounted my interactions with my mom over the years and remembered the many events she hosted and the way she interacted with her girls in her business. I began to see a common thread to my mom’s success. She simply cared about people. She served them, she loved them, and she encouraged them.
My mom built an empire that brought her wealth, accolades, and many other benefits that come with success. She now enjoys a magnificent lifestyle simply because she cared for people and served them with no expectation in return. There is beauty in the way my mom lives her life and I wonder how much better our world could be if we all embraced her philosophy.
Yes, my mom cares about so many, and so many have been blessed by her generosity and servant heart, but what about you? Are you not where you want to be in your life? Try adopting my mom’s philosophy and start caring for and serving others and the rest will take care of itself.
Thanks for being a living example of the right way to be successful, Mom, and thanks for being an inspiration and a shining light to so many.