Sara Louise Fox
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What Your Mother Taught You About Business

Mothers’ Day is coming up this weekend (in the UK) and even if you don’t like to buy in the commercial maelstrom it probably gets you thinking about your mother or a maternal figure in your life (I’ll be using the word “mum” as a catch all for this article.)*

Maybe your mum was a successful business woman, a stay at home mum, a 2-jobs-just-to-make-ends-meet mum. Maybe you had a wonderful, nourishing relationship with your mum,  or maybe you went (or want) to live on another continent to get away from her, maybe you had two mums, or maybe your mum wasn’t around at all for whatever reason.

Whatever your relationship with your mum, it’s a relationship that influences us from birth (and before) and affects our beliefs and behaviour as an adult, in turn influencing how you run your business. Becoming aware of these beliefs can be the first step to either clearing or reframing the negative ones or embracing the positives. So here are four types of business-related beliefs that you might have learned from your mum (or any other prominent person in your childhood).


* If even thinking about your mum triggers you, jump down to the end of this article where I share some links to the websites of four wonderful women who specialise in helping release unhelpful emotions and thought patterns learned in childhood (or any time of life.)

4 Business-Related Beliefs You Learned From Your Mum

What your mother taught you about business

#1 - Beliefs About Yourself

What behaviours did your mum display when you were growing up that may have influenced your beliefs about yourself? Was she always on a diet, never quite believing she was good enough unless she reached a certain size or weight? Did she look after herself and treat herself well or did she neglect herself because she was too busy putting the family and/or work first? Did she beat herself up over little things or did she let problems go like water off a ducks back?

These things might not seem very business related but if you observed any of these behaviours you might find yourself:

  • Putting off using video in your marketing or getting a photoshoot done for your website because you think you have to lose weight first.
  • Putting off doing something that will benefit your health and wellbeing because there is too much work to do or you spend all your non-working time looking after your family with no space for you.
  • Giving up on doing webinars because you did one and no-one showed up so you’ve decided you’re no good at them (instead of seeing them as a learning opportunity).
  • Not putting your prices up because you don’t think you’re worth it.

Your mum’s behaviour towards you and things she told you will also have influenced your beliefs about yourself and your worth, whether she was loving and caring, or distant and cruel. Even something as simple as “Be a good girl or Father Christmas won’t come to visit” can make us think we need to behave a certain way or we’re “bad” – and that behaviour usually doesn’t involve putting ourselves out there in a way that gets us noticed or looking after ourselves first, which might be seen as selfish.  

#2 Beliefs About Other People

The beliefs you picked up about other people can equally affect your behaviour in your business. For example, your mum might have always treated everyone else’s needs as more important than her own. Or she might always have worried about “keeping up with the Joneses,” comparing herself and her life to others all the time. Or she may have seen rich people as "bad" or "greedy." This might show up in your life as:

  • You always looking after others first (then your business, then yourself last) and it’s got you on the fast-track to burnout.
  • Constantly comparing yourself to other business owners who are several steps ahead of you in business and so find yourself coming up short.
  • You assume other people will criticise you so you don’t put yourself out there, or you present a sanitised version of yourself that you think is more acceptable.
  • Not earning the money you could earn because you don't want to be an "evil" rich person.

You can see how things might be different if the example you got from your mum was a woman who believed she was just as important as everyone else, knowing that her own needs must be met in order for her to help others, that she doesn’t need to compare herself to others, and that being rich doesn't mean you're a bad person.

#3 - Beliefs About Work & Business 

Did your mum have to work really hard for her money? Was she a stay at home mum with little money of her own and so her hard work was all about the home and family? Was she a high flying career-woman or entrepreneur? Did she have to work two jobs just to pay the bills?

Your mum’s working life can have a direct impact on your beliefs about work and business. for example:

  • Do you believe you have to work really hard for your money and work will always be a hard slog, or do you believe you can do what you love and love what you do, making money with ease?
  • Do you believe work can be fun and easy or does that idea make you feel a bit guilty, like you wouldn't really deserve it?
  • Do you believe that you need to be super-busy and stressed out all the time or you mustn’t be working hard enough?
  • Do you believe you have to take on all the household work as well as running your business so you don’t get the help you need at home, and in turn don’t get the time you need to work on your business (or have some fun)?

Or maybe something else.  

#4 - Beliefs About Money

Many of us grew up with mums who were born in wartime or post-war years. Perhaps she had food-rations as a child. Perhaps she was well off either in her own right or because your dad was the bread-winner and so she didn’t need to worry about money much. Maybe you saw her make lots of money and then lose it all. The phrases you heard as a child can become ingrained as beliefs. For example:

  • “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
  • “Look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves.”
  • “We can’t afford that” or “We don’t have enough money.”
  • “That’s too expensive” or “Why would anyone spend that much on [insert object here].”

If you heard lots of phrases that came from a lack mentality, then that can play itself out in your life, making it more difficult to attract money in your own right. But if you heard plenty of positive money-talk you are more likely to have more positive beliefs. 

It's Not Your Mum's Fault

Before I go on, I want you to know that this is not about blaming your mum or anyone else in your childhood. Like all of us, she will have been doing the best she could with what she had and knew at the time, which she in turn will have learned during childhood. So if you did learn some beliefs and behaviours from your mum that are no longer serving you, don't hold it against her (in fact forgiveness can be the next step after awareness to letting them go.) Same goes for the other influential figures from your childhood. 

As well as noticing the unhelpful beliefs, it’s also worth paying attention to any positive beliefs and behaviours that you picked up as a child from your mum or anyone else - even if some of those were a form of rebellion 🙂

Awareness Is Just The Beginning

For some people, being aware of these beliefs is enough to reduce their impact on your life and behaviour, which is why I wanted to write this article. However, there are others (like me) who need a bit of help to release negative beliefs and break old thought patterns and habits.

If you’re one of the latter, or this article has brought up some “stuff” from your childhood, here are a few fabulous women (listed alphabetically) who can help, each of whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with myself. 

5 wonderful women who can help you shift childhood beliefs and behaviours that are no longer serving you:

  • Cathy Ballard helps sensitive, empathic and intuitive change-makers – and people who just love growing – to step up and claim the bigger life that is waiting for them.
  • Holly Worton helps women entrepreneurs release their fear of visibility, step into their greatness, and take easy inspired action to build their business.
  • Linda Anderson is a tapping coach and mindset mentor who specialises in helping women in business to clear the blocks that hold them back in their business.
  • Louise Alexander is an emotional wellness therapist supporting people to come home to safety, peace and joy (wouldn’t that be a nice starting point for your business.)
  • Paula Adams is an energy healer who uses hands on healing to help remove emotional pain held in your body. 

Over to you...

Can you see how your mum (or another maternal figure) might have influenced some of your business-related beliefs and behaviours? What's one belief that it would serve you to let go of? I love to read your ideas and insights, so please share in the comments box below.

About the Author Sara Louise Fox

I am passionate about women in business achieving success in a way that works for them and making the changes they need to make in order to make that happen. However, though change can be exciting it can also be scary, triggering behaviours that might not make sense to you (procrastination or self-sabotage anyone?). I help entrepreneurial women to navigate change with more clarity, confidence and courage so that these behaviours can be dissolved and they can move forward with ease and flow. If that sounds good, I'd love to hear from you!

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