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Me myself, and I – the road to the first million

I should have written about business. And about the things that had motivated and aided me on my 7-year entrepreneurship journey. A formative 7 years as an entrepreneur. But I thought I would talk about my mother. Because no one else could talk about her in a business magazine. And because being a mother is, first and foremost, an attitude. 

My drive for reactions, options, negotiation, and multitasking, for more and better, I inherited from her. Unknown, unseen, she is present in each and every contract, employment decision or partnership I start or end. Because, in theory, when we make these decisions we have graphs and a balance sheet in front of us, but, in practice, we function based on a mechanism that works with people, for people and about people, and, whether you like it or not, mothers give your DNA its impeccable functioning. Therefore, in every one of our business decisions, no matter how impressive, our mothers are also present. They live in us, just like they live in our businesses, with the same formidable intensity. 

What did I learn from my mother in the last almost 40 years? Almost everything that got me where I am today. Until well after university, my mother’s presence had been overwhelming to me, and I ofttimes was embarrassed by the confidence and pride she’d have when introducing me, which I’d thought to be overexaggerated: “She is my eldest daughter. And I have two others. All of them are beautiful. And smart.” which would then be followed by a list of schools we’d attended or achievements we’d earned that my mother thought to be extraordinary.

So many of us have lived through this exact feeling: we were embarrassed, but the unwavering faith our mothers had in our resources and talent built up our self-esteem and self-confidence. And my God, how important it is to have these things in the business world. This is the first step to earning the first million.

My mother taught me that you can always find a way. It’s almost annoying, the way she manages to do this, from small things to the most complicated situations, like raising three children, oftentimes with limited resources. My mother taught me that to be respected, you had to show the world the best version of yourself in terms of tonus, of presence. No matter the challenges of the day or your inner turmoil, you needed to look the part: put together, lipstick on, be impeccable! It will help you feel better in your skin and it’ll also reflect in the reactions of the people surrounding you.

My mother taught me how important it is to be kind to people. To everyone. To those who deserve it (in your opinion) and to the others, and that all that goes around, comes around, good or bad. She’d made acquaintances with all the old ladies at the farmer’s market. The one she’d get her salad from was from X village, she had 2 children, the eldest was working in Italy. She knew everything. She enjoyed interacting with people, negotiating when it was the case, and smiling. Of course, I was always two steps behind, almost scared by her brimming energy.

In fact, I learned to laugh and talk very late, in my twenties. Seeing my mother be so expansive, I acted the opposite. But then something happened, I started liking acting like my mother, laughing a lot, joking, talking, and putting on the prettiest lipstick in the world. I started liking people, colors. My mother has been a redhead my whole life, and not any type of redhead, one with a personality.

My mother taught me that I shouldn’t be ashamed of my family, my place of birth, my experiences, and even the less than happy ones and that the most important thing is what you’re doing today.

Beyond all the things I learned in school or in business, I inherited my biggest strength from my mother: my attitude, which helped me get to where I am today. I truly do not know when she managed to teach me so much – I was so resistant.

In the face of the biggest challenges, I ask myself even now “What would my mother do now?”. She’d smile, put on the prettiest lipstick in the world, say ‘impossible does not exist’ and would elegantly push ahead, enjoying all the things that deserved to be enjoyed.

Before I forget, my mother is much like Sophia Loren.

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