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BLOG: #BizLessonsFromMom in the Karpus household

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Jen and Dana Karpus

If you think of a way that your mother has impacted your professional life or taught you a lesson you carry with you in business, tell Tire Business by posting a comment on this blog, on Facebook or on our Twitter page using #BizLessonsFromMom. We’ll share them with our readers.

The hope is that moms everywhere see and feel how much they shape the person we become. We learn a lot from our parents, and who we become is influenced largely by the way we were raised and other people in our lives.

AKRON (May 7, 2015) — Growing up in the Karpus household, I learned to be outspoken; that it is not OK to be sick for school (work) and go out at night for fun; and that it is up to you to be the person you want to be.

My parents worked together as a unit, showing us kids that you can be whatever you want to be. I watched my mom do the lawn work and my dad cook us dinner every night, without batting an eye that these weren’t “traditional” roles in a marriage or a household. My parents taught me a lot, however.

After having the opportunity to shadow my mother, Dana Karpus, at work a few weeks ago for a Rubber & Plastics News blog I wrote, I realized how much I learned from my mother professionally as well.

Here are the five biggest business lessons I have learned from my mom:

1)       Be a person who earns respect

There was a time when my mother was once a patient in the hospital where she was nurse manager. I thought the nurses would be terrified to take care of her as she was their direct boss. This would be like me having to write a story about Dave Zielasko. I would be terrified that all the commas weren’t in the right place!

However, not a single nurse turned away. Instead, they wanted to take care of her because she was so well-respected. Walking through the halls as Dana Karpus’ daughter was an honor because I could see how much people not only cared about her as a person, but respected her as their boss and co-worker.

She has since switched jobs, but I saw the same respect throughout the halls when I shadowed her a few weeks ago. You cannot demand respect, you have to earn it.

2)       Be humble

My mom has been a nurse manager in some form for as long as I remember. However, whenever anyone asks her what her profession is, she always says “nurse.” When I was younger, I thought it was strange that she didn’t want to say she was a nurse manager because she worked hard to earn her place there.

Now I understand it a little better. While she may be a manager, she never thinks her role is more important than anyone else's in the workplace. Nurses work hard every day, and she is proud to be a part of that. She is proud to be able to facilitate and manage the system in which they work but does not feel her role is more important.

3)       You can have it all

As I have written about before I am a great multi-tasker. While I used to give my mother grief at her forgetfulness, I feel differently now. Looking back on my childhood, I was never a kid whose parents weren’t at things, even though they both worked full-time. Although she may have mixed up my lunch with my brother’s lunch once (which seemed devastating because it was on a school field trip and I don’t like mustard), I was always picked up after various sports practices and always had people cheering in the stands on game day. My mother always felt the need to clap over her head to make sure I could see her, which was embarrassing; however, I always knew she was there.

Life is a balancing act and my parents taught me the way to teeter on that tightrope so that you can have a little bit of everything.

4)       You can’t change the past, you can only deal with the now and later

One of the most important lessons I have ever learned, although I am not always great at it, is letting go of the past and dealing with the now and later.

Yes, you will make mistakes. Yes, you will have to deal with the aftermath, but you can’t change it. As far as I know, no one has built a successful time machine. You can only deal with what is happening now.

I learned this from my mom and although I fail at it often, I strive to do this every day, both personally and professionally, like she does.

5)       Do things that you want to do

This seems like the simplest lesson that a person could learn, but it’s often the one that takes a long time to process. While this is a little bit more of a life lesson than a business lesson, I still think it is one to think about every day.

My mom can be a bit of a daredevil when she wants to be. In the past five years or so, she has gone white water rafting and zip lining. During college, I went skydiving while on vacation. When I told her this was on my itinerary, at first, she told me not to tell her when I was actually going to go. She was too nervous and wanted to know when I was safely back on land. But every day she called and asked if I had jumped yet.

Once I came home and showed her the video footage, she was much more excited than scared. She taught me that you only live once and although you have a career, family and all other obligations, you still need to get out there and live.

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and all the moms out there!



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